Dog paws with Easter eggs

Easter behaviour rules for dogs

The Easter holidays are approaching for both two-legged and four-legged people. Here are our top tips on how to make sure your dog enjoys a great Easter week too.

Be quick with your hair

Fur and snow can easily become an uncomfortable and painful combination for the dog. Snowballs tend to get stuck in the paws, groin, armpits and in the tabs. These smell, can cause sores and frostbite, and cool the dog down considerably. A good grooming can do a lot to reduce snowballing. Trim the fur under and around the paws and between the toes. It will also help a lot if you shorten the long tabs, as well as long fur in the armpits, belly and groin. Here you can read more about what to do if your dog needs anaesthesia during nail clipping.

Dress seasonally

Some dogs are fine without clothing as long as they're active and the weather isn't rotten. However, if your dog has very little or thin fur, it can easily freeze and it's a good idea to put on a blanket or sweater. Even dogs with long and/or thick fur can get into trouble in the snow if snowballs form in their fur. The best solution for dogs with such fur is a full-coverage condom suit. Well, it might look a bit corny, but both you and your dog will be much happier when you get home and just take off the suit instead of having to go to the shower or sit for ages to pick up snowballs. Read our tips on how to look after your dog in the cold here.

If you don't have such a stylish condom suit and your dog comes back from a walk like a big snowball, there is still advice. The most effective way is to shower your dog with lukewarm water and dry it well afterwards. Alternatively, break up the snowballs one by one with your hands and comb gently. It is NOT okay to just "leave the dog to dry" or to forcibly comb out the snowballs if it is full of snow.

Remember your footwear

Paw socks are worth their weight in gold in snow. Not only do they prevent snowballs from forming, but they also protect your paws from sharp and hard Easter snow. They don't have to be very sophisticated, for most people a simple cotton sock fastened around the foot with Velcro will last a long time. Don't be afraid to tighten it up, as as long as the dog is moving, it takes a lot to stop the blood flow to the paws. Even if you fasten the paw socks well, you can expect some shrinkage during a winter season. Potato socks are consumables and it's always a good idea to keep a spare pair on hand in case you lose one on a trip or it gets damaged. Don't be stingy with the size, Size Matters. They should be big enough that the paw has room to expand naturally during movement and that the claws don't press against the front of the foot.


Accessories are always important! For the dog, this applies primarily to the harness/collar and leash . Even if it's outside the regular off-leash period (April 1 - August 20), loose dogs are not allowed on the ski slopes. Not only will you get everyone's evil eye on you, but you could also risk someone getting hurt. Not everyone is as fond of dogs as you are, some are even very scared, and even those who like dogs are at best disgruntled if an unknown dog comes running towards them. No matter how nice your dog is. So save yourself, your dog and all your fellow humans from these bad experiences and keep it on a leash on the ski slopes.


As well as a chewable or two for when you're in a bad mood (read: hangry), a first aid kit is essential. When out hiking, a standard human first aid kit will suffice, but you should also pack a paw sock and an adhesive bandage. At home or at the cottage, it's a good idea to have a rectal thermometer, medical honey ointment, some more bandaging materials, paw ointment and a collar.

Don't forget the skincare and pedicure

Dogs rarely need daily cleansing and moisturising, but there are some things to pay extra attention to during the winter season. The most common skin-related problems in winter are frostbite, sore paws, cuts and claw injuries.

Frostbite tends to occur where the skin is thin and blood flow is easily reduced, such as on the tip of the tail, nose, ears, scrotum and paws. The first symptoms of frostbite are pale, hard and cold skin which can develop into red, dark and swollen skin. It is important not to rub the frostbite as this aggravates the injury. Frostbite can become serious and is always painful and requires treatment. Contact your vet if you suspect your dog has suffered frostbite.

Paws are easily sore from sharp snow and perhaps increased wear and tear. Apply a good paw ointment and wear paw socks when your dog is outside.

Sometimes the capsule protecting the claw bone breaks. This is often very painful and poses a risk of infection. If the claw capsule is loose, the dog is limping or licking the claw, it needs veterinary treatment. Put on a paw sock and possibly a collar until you get to the vet to reduce the risk of infection. Short claws are less likely to be damaged than long ones.

Cuts can range from small superficial cuts from sharp snow and pebbles to serious injuries. Small superficial cuts that do not slip are treated with a cleanser, honey ointment and potato sock. If the wound is deep and slips, it usually requires stitches. Unfortunately, we also see many cases of very extensive and serious cuts during the winter, especially at Easter. This is because owners have taken their dog on a skiing trip and the dog has accidentally been run over by the owners. Or rather, by the owners' steel edge skis. The cuts seen in these cases are often very serious. It is not uncommon for the steel edge to have cut not only the skin, but also the underlying tendons and muscles. Treatment of such injuries is often demanding, costly and has a long recovery time.

If you take your dog on a skiing trip, you MUST have skis without steel edges. In addition to "normal" mountain skis, most manufacturers of mountain skis also offer skis without steel edges.

Stick to the diet

Or, of course, you can indulge in as much chocolate, sausages and oranges as you like, but don't let your dog partake in these excesses. The safest thing to do is to continue feeding your dog's regular food as there are several types of human food that are harmful to your dog. For example, chocolate, onions, grapes and raisins are all toxic to dogs. Sausages and similar tasty Easter foods are often high in salt and fat. The salt can lead to salt poisoning, and food that is too fatty can cause severe inflammation of the pancreas. Sausages are not poisonous in themselves and an occasional bite will not be harmful to otherwise healthy dogs. But give in moderation! Another big NO NO is heat-treated bones. For example, the remains of the leg of lamb you eat on Easter Sunday. Heat-treated bone splinters when the dog chews on it and will at best cause stomach inflammation and vomiting or at worst perforate the intestines and stomach which is an acute and life-threatening condition.

So to sum up; NEVER give chocolate, raisins, grapes or heat-treated bones; and WAY with sausages and clean meat. Orange, on the other hand, you can give as much as you (and your dog) want.

Call a friend (read: vet)

FaceTime and other video calls are still in vogue and can be very useful if you have any questions about your dog. If your dog has eaten something it shouldn't, has a wound you're not sure about, or is out of shape, you can book a video consultation with a vet. Several insurance companies include such a video consultation in their dog insurance policies. There is a limit to what a vet can do over video, but they can advise you on things you can do as an owner to treat your dog, whether you can wait until after the Easter holidays or whether you need to seek emergency veterinary care. If you are unsure about anything, it is better to call once too often than not!

You can book an appointment with A-vet here.


  • clip fur on paws and tabs
  • dress the dog with paw socks, blanket and costume if necessary
  • keep your dog on a leash on the ski slope
  • carry a first aid kit
  • treat wounds and use only skis without steel edges
  • do not give human food to the dog
  • call a vet in case of doubt
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Elisabeth is a veterinarian and certified ophthalmologist specialising in eye surgery, with further training in internal medicine, general surgery, oral surgery and ultrasound from the European School for Advanced Veterinary Studies in Toulouse.

Elisabeth Bjørnestad

Elisabeth is a veterinarian and certified ophthalmologist specialising in eye surgery, with further training in internal medicine, general surgery, oral surgery and ultrasound from the European School for Advanced Veterinary Studies in Toulouse.