Ask Eartha: Reasons to Take Extra Care of Your Dog This Winter


Mountain puppies love the snow, but there are a few things you should do to keep everyone safe during the winter.
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Dear Eartha, I see lots of loose dogs and their droppings around towns and trails. Why is it important for dog owners to practice responsible etiquette and keep their dogs close and under control in the winter?

Keeping dogs on a leash or under immediate control is especially important in the winter for many reasons, including dog safety, as well as the safety and consideration of humans and animals.

Snowy roads make accidents easier

In the towns of Breckenridge, Frisco, Dillon and Silverthorne, dogs off their owner’s property are supposed to be kept on a leash. When the roads are icy and slippery, it is very dangerous for off-leash dogs to wander through neighborhoods and streets. Even when driving slowly, it is almost impossible to stop on a snowy road to avoid hitting a dog. Swerving or making sudden movements in a vehicle could have disastrous consequences for everyone on the road.

The skis are sharp

The rule in unincorporated Summit County (where many popular multi-use trails are located) is that dogs must be under control and within 10 feet of their owner or guardian, according to the Summit County government.

Since people enjoy public lands on skis, split boards, fat bikes, snowshoes, sleds, etc., it is essential that owners of off-leash dogs adhere to this policy, regardless of the type of recreation. current winters. As many local dogs – and dog owners – have learned the hard way, skis are sharp and can easily cut paws or cause more serious damage to dogs that get too close.

Additionally, when skiers, snowboarders, and other fast-paced recreationists descend in variable conditions, encountering a loose, excitable, and barking dog can be unnerving at best and, at worst, lead to an accident or injury.

If the dogs have not spent a lot of time acclimating to winter recreation enthusiasts, it is best to familiarize them by keeping them on a leash until they are comfortable and not not bothered by the winter pleasures that surround them.

Natural hazards

Another potential danger to raging dogs wandering beyond the immediate control of their human companions is the possibility of falling through ice. Canines sometimes snake over thin layers of ice above ponds and streams, and fall, sometimes losing their lives.

In an incident a few years ago, a dog fell through the ice on the Snake River entrance portion of Dillon Reservoir and its owner then fell while trying to save it. Besides mild hypothermia, dog and owner were fine, but not everyone is so lucky.

Winter is also when some local wild predators are more likely to catch dogs. Tom Davies of Colorado Parks and Wildlife recently had to remove an entire group of coyotes from the Keystone Ranch area due to dog attacks.

“In the winter there’s less food and they get more desperate,” Davies said of the coyotes. “They’re more confined because they can’t run in deep snow that squirrels are bouncing off.”

Davies said there were a few coyote dens near trails in Summit County, and the single coyotes had a clever strategy of provoking a dog to chase it until it was ambushed by the pack. He said coyotes give birth in winter and spring, which makes them even more aggressive towards dogs.

Nobody wants poo on their boards

Finally, based on the current evidence of poop piles lining local trails, some dog owners seem to believe that falling snow will cover or take care of the evidence, or just push them to the side of the trail. Frozen poop causes a bigger stink — and mess — when everything thaws out in the spring.

Plus, deep snow on the edges of trails is usually where skiers and snowboarders like to make their tracks, and there’s nothing worse than going out for a serene glide and finding some stuck-on shit. on your equipment.

Snow is a delicious commodity, enjoyed by dogs and humans alike. To make winter as wonderful as possible for everyone, be responsible with your dog.

Shauna Farnel

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