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March 22, 2024

People often seem stunned that our home state of Colorado gets such huge snowstorms when other places in the country already see spring blooming. It's really quite common, though. Local weather people love to say, "You know, March is our snowiest month!" And, it's true. The worst was 2003 when we got huge storms back to back and were stuck at home for a week before we dug out by hand. This latest storm wasn't that bad, but still ... bad enough (for more than one reason). Here's our advice on how to keep dogs safe in snow. Plus, extra photos and videos of the storm. Jump to the very bottom for the bad news. 

Here's the igloo Mr. Champion of My Heart built after the 2003 storms. We had snow up to our home's roof. It was CRAZY!

How to Keep Dogs Safe in Snow 

Tip #1: Shovel potty areas and paths

The photo below shows our 6-foot chain-link potty pen. That huge drift often forms because of how the winds swirl against the house. It helps to shovel the dogs a path and some potty areas so that they don't have to battle the deep snow every time they need to go. 

keep dogs safe in snow - photo of deep drive in potty area with a path shoveled out

Tip #2: Let Dogs Run in Plowed Areas of Snow Only

Our sweeties love to sprint to our front gate in all weather, but they really love to do it in the snow. Mr. Champion of My Heart spent hours and hours and hours over several days to keep our driveway somewhat clear ... which became extremely important due to an emergency a couple days after the storm. Keep scrolling for that *whole story. 

Tip #3: Break Trail to Keep Dogs Safe in the Snow

You can see in this video of me trying to walk through the deep snow in the back yard just how hard it is to move. That is NOT good for dogs' joints and such, so in really deep snow plan on breaking trails so that your dogs can move around more easily in the snow. I made a snow angel too! 

Tip #4: Use Empty Plastic Containers as Toys

Your dog's toys WILL GET LOST in deep snow. Instead use empty plastic containers that will stay on top of the snow (more likely):

  • 2-liter bottles
  • 1-gallon jugs
keep dogs safe in snow photo of plastic jug as toy

Tip #5: Keep Play Sessions in the Snow Short

You really do not want dogs to overdo it in deep snow, so keep your play sessions short. Also, I've NEVER found dog booties that stay on in deep snow, so unless you want to lose them and face the hassle of finding them, don't even go there.

keep dogs safe in snow photo of dogs in deep snow

Bonus Snow Photos and Videos

We ended up with about 3-4 feet of snow, with drifts more like 5-6 feet. It snowed pretty hard for a couple days straight. 

The video below shows our first trip out into the back yard. You even get to see some of my crow friends (Uno and Unette) who were waiting for breakfast. I even fall for a bit into the deep snow and have trouble standing up again. (ha ha)

And, now the bad news ...

Unfortunately, a couple days after most of these photos and videos were taken, I took a sudden and bad fall on some ice while carrying our foster puppy (Kali) outside to potty and seriously, seriously messed up my right ankle and leg, requiring:

  • Urgent care
  • ER hospital visit
  • Hospitalization
  • Trauma / orthopedic surgery

I did not drop Kali (who was staying with us for about a month while her broken leg healed), so she is fine, and is up for adoption now (3/22/24). 

However, my injury means big changes to my daily life for a while, so if I'm less consistent with new content, that's why. 

Here's what I shared on our Facebook page, if you missed it. Maybe I should have written about keeping YOURSELF safe in snow and ice. *sigh

!! Breaking News !! I won't be around much for a while.

Sorry to report that I spent a few days in the hospital. I was carrying foster puppy KALI outside to potty Sunday afternoon, and I slipped on some ice and fell. Broke my ankle, dislocated my ankle, and broke both bones in my shin. Sunday night they sedated me to yank everything back into alignment. All hail good meds. Apparently, I narrated my hallucinations. I had surgery Monday morning, and they pinned, screwed, and plated everything back together. Sounds like 8-10 weeks of NON-weight-bearing life for me. Gah! They gave me a nerve block before surgery, but that's starting to wear off now now that I'm home, etc.

Before and after surgery x-rays. They realigned things Sunday evening in the ER. Gave the team a little scare when I stopped breathing for a bit, but I guess they hollered and shook me, and I started breathing again. Instead of your regular old orthopedic surgeon, they have a team of trauma / ortho surgeons who specialize in piecing people back together. I'm so grateful to receive access to their skill and expertise.

Suffice it to say that my foot initially was pointing the wrong way, off to the right, because of the dislocation. I heard and felt things snap, too, so I knew when I hit the ground that it was B-A-D.

I did not, however, drop or hurt foster puppy Kali, so she is fine and back at the shelter. She was scheduled to return for adoption later this week anyway, so she simply went back early so that we can focus on my long / slow recovery and our 3 dogs.

See you later!

xray of fractured ankle and leg
xray of fractured ankle and leg repairs with plates and screws
photo of a leg in a big bandage at the hospital
About the Author Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related.

I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

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