The Secret Dangers of Snow… That’s Right SNOW
Snow seems pretty innocuous does it? Other than the obvious dangers of the cold temperatures that come with snow, it also comes with another danger you may not realize.
I am sitting here in Virginia writing this right now and it is 73 degrees out here right now! But back in my hometown of Casper, Wyoming and Denver, Colorado their world is shut down due to a spring snow storm.
It is pretty normal to get our heaviest snow storms in March and April; the warmer weather with the moisture in the air makes for a very heavy wet snow.
Checking their weather, they have received 35 inches of snow with another 8 inches on the way by tonight!
Whereas I LOVE a good snow like this, I am pretty stoked to be enjoying the 70’s from Virginia and simply enjoying the pictures of carnage everyone is posting on Facebook (you have to love Facebook)!
The Danger I use to Put My Dogs in…
The few years of my adult life that I lived in my hometown, I had two Rottweilers and I lived for snows like these; I would put my coat, boots and mittens on put booties and coats on the dogs and head out for a walk.
I absolutely LOVE going for a walk and watching the huge snowflakes fall all around me. I also love that snow makes everything look clean! The way the snow covers everything and cascades down even the oldest dirties neighborhoods makes every place look like it came out of the pages of a book.
And, dogs love a good walk and of course the cold doesn’t bother them because they have fur; but what does put them at risk, is jumping through the snow banks.
I Use to Giggle at Small Dog Owners…
I use to giggle at small dog owners when they would shovel a path for their little dogs to go outside. I thought big tough dogs didn’t and shouldn’t need a path shoveled out in the snow for them; but I was wrong.
I didn’t see the carnage of a snow storm on big dogs until I was working in Colorado as a vet tech. We had gotten a couple of feet of snow, the airport and most all local stores were shut down and it wasn’t until we reopened that we saw the sheer number of dogs that had blown their knees or cruciate ligaments.
Big dogs bound through the snow, either on a walk or just to go out and play and do their business and this jumping can rupture the ligament in their knees. It bounces and contorts their legs and joints in an abnormal way.
I guess it would be like if you had to jump from spot to spot, the risk of you rupturing your cruciate ligament would be significantly higher too!
After that snow storm we probably did a half a dozen cruciate surgeries and not only are they expensive, the damage is extremely painful as is the surgery and recovery. One of the surgeries was a re-injury from about 3 weeks prior.
How Do You Keep Your Dog Safe?
Don’t take your dog for a walk unless the street where you are walking or the sidewalks are plowed or shoveled.
Shovel a path for your dog to use the potty. I don’t care if he is the toughest dog on the block, save his body and his knees the jarring of having to jump through the snow.
And, although he might like to play in it, be very careful about the potential damage he can do to his body!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.