5 tips to keeping your Tahoe-Truckee dogs safe in the snow | TahoeDailyTribune.com

5 tips to keeping your Tahoe-Truckee dogs safe in the snow

Juniper the dog looks forward to fun in the snow at Lake Tahoe.
Courtesy / Brian Hastings |

TRUCKEE, Calif. — We finally have had a snowy winter in the Sierra! Here are some tips to consider when taking your pup out into the snow.

1. Winter Conditioning: If your dog hasn’t been getting much exercise lately, he or she will need to be conditioned before doing long backcountry hikes. Before taking your pup out into the deep snow, make sure you start with shorter distances and eventually work your way up to longer days.

2. Post-holing and ACL tears: If snow conditions look like a crust over soft snow and you see your dog “post-holing,” you may want to leave your him/her at home. These conditions can cause or aggravate an ACL tear which usually requires surgery. If you see any signs of limping, please contact your veterinarian.

3. Backcountry skiing: If you are taking your dog into the backcountry where beacons are advised, consider getting a beacon for your pup. Dog specific beacons are available that function only in transmit mode.

4. Ski lacerations: This type of veterinary emergency is common in the Tahoe/Truckee area. Most commonly, your dog will run too close to your ski and can cut his or her legs. This type of emergency can look threatening due to the amount of bleeding that may occur. Tourniquets such as rubber bands are not recommended. The foot should be wrapped from the toe up using wraps such as Vetwrap or an ace bandage. These are items that should be in your first aid kit if you plan on skiing with your pet. Please have your pet evaluated by your veterinarian as soon as possible.

5. Snowball paws: Long haired paws can collect snow clumps which can irritate the skin. These snow clumps can be reduced by trimming the hair in between your dog’s paws. Do not use scissors, as the skin can be cut. Instead use grooming clippers to ensure no harm is done to the skin.

Dr. Gina Kang, DVM, MS lives in Truckee and works at Doctor’s Office for Pets on 10939A Industrial Way #101, Truckee, CA 96161. She sees all pets including cats, dogs, reptiles, birds and small mammals. More information can be found at doctorsofficeforpets.com or at 530-587-5144.

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