Winter Care Tips for You and Your Pooch
With the passing of the fall, comes the winter chill and snow. Although our pets have a coat of fur, it is a misconception that they can tolerate the cold better than we do. The cold weather conditions can sometimes lead to serious health risks for both you and your furry friends.
Frostbite is an injury caused by exposing parts of the body to extreme cold. When the body gets cold, it automatically draws blood from the extremities towards the centre of the body in order to stay warm. In doing so, your pet’s paws, ears and tail can get so cold that ice crystals can form in the tissue and damage can occur. If your pet is wet or damp, then they become even more vulnerable to frostbite.
SIGNS TO WATCH FOR
- Discolouration of the skin – often pale white, grey or blue-ish
- Coldness and or brittleness of the skin
- Limping (if frostbite is on feet/toes)
- Pain when touching the affected area
- SEVERELY frostbitten skin will eventually turn black and slough off.
Hypothermia is another serious medical condition that can occur when your body temperature drops to dangerously low levels usually caused by prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. Symptoms vary with the level of severity. In mild conditions, your pet may start to shiver, and their ears and feet may grow cold.
SIGNS TO WATCH FOR
- Lack of mental alertness
- Muscle stiffness and stupor-like state
- Shallow and slow breathing
If you are noticing any of these symptoms, or if your pet stops playing and seems to be looking for places to burrow, then it is time to bring them in.
Ways To Protect Your Pooch This Winter
Try to walk your pet in the late morning or early afternoon hours when temperatures are a little warmer. AVOID early morning or late evening walks as temperatures can dip to extreme lows.
Some breeds have thick fur that keeps them warm naturally, even in frigid temperatures, but dogs with thin coats would benefit significantly with a warm sweater or jacket when out for winter strolls.
Rinse Those Paws
After taking your dog for a walk, remember to wipe or rinse off your pet’s paws. Winter salt on sidewalks can burn their paw pads and is also toxic. Washing off their feet prevents them from licking their paws and ingesting the salt. If your pet shows signs of discomfort when walking out on frozen or salted surfaces, consider using booties to protect their paws.
Playing in the snow can be great fun but be aware of unfamiliar areas. Keep your dog close at all times as they may venture off onto unsafe surfaces such as frozen lakes or ponds.
The right bedding is essential to ensure your pets stay warm this winter. Cushioned pet beds are perfect for keeping your dog off cold tiles or concrete, and warm blankets create a cozy place for your pet to rest after a long day. Place your pet’s bed in a favourite spot of theirs to sleep in your home away from high traffic areas and cold drafts.
Last but not least, cuddles with your canine friend is a great way to stay warm!
http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/15-winter- care-tips- for-your- dog/
Written by Natasha, CCR
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