Winter walk dangers


10 January 2014

Winter walk dangers

Stay safe in the countryside with news and advice from access adviser Stephen Jenkinson.

The Animal Health Trust (AHT) is reminding dog owners to take extra care this winter, as the cold weather means dogs are more likely to encounter antifreeze when out on walks, with potentially deadly consequences. Most antifreeze used in cars to prevent engines and windscreens from freezing contains ethylene glycol. While dogs seem to like the taste, ingesting even small amounts can be fatal.

Careless de-icing of vehicles in car parks popular with dog walkers, and at the roadside, means it's more important than ever not to let your dog eat or drink anything he finds when out for a walk.

Great care should also be taken to keep antifreeze bottles and de-icer cans well away from dogs travelling in cars. Leaks in home heating systems and on garage floors also can be deadly.

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Symptoms of antifreeze poisoning include:

  • Vomiting.
  • Seizures (fits).
  • Increased urination.
  • Excessive drinking.

The AHT has produced a free display poster for dog owners, vets, groomers, and pet shops that can be downloaded from

And while ice and snow can look pretty, they can also conceal hidden dangers such as broken glass, barbed wire, and frozen lakes and ponds. So while many dogs love running around in snow, be winter aware to ensure every walk remains a happy one.