Seasonal Risks…and your pet
When weather get colder it’s not just us that need additional protection to stay warm, safe and healthy! Our four legged family need a little winter TLC too!
Some things to consider include:
- Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease can worsen in cold weather: In the cold, joints stiffen up and are less prone to movement, also we and our pets can be more reluctant to get up and moving. Signs this may be an issues with your pet can include:
- General slow down
- Having a tougher time with stairs or difficulty jumping on the couch or bed
- Hesitation to walk for as long as normal
- Trouble getting up on their feet in the morning
It is important that although less desirable than a walk on a warm day, you push through any unwillingness to get out and walk your dog. Movement helps maintain good muscle tone, and muscle tone is crucial to combatting arthritis.
If your dog is exhibiting these symptoms or pre-existing symptoms become more severe, call us to schedule a thorough examination. There are effective medications and therapies that can help decrease inflammation and reduce pain.
- Animals outside in the cold: the cold ground can be uncomfortable for the paws of the pets who are not accustomed to it and can cause damage to the pads (ie frostbite). Also, any dogs or cats left outside for any length of time during winter months should have some sort of shelter available to them.
- Dogs in cars during the winter: leaving your dog in a cold car can lead to hypothermia (low body temperature).
- Bundle up!: If your dog doesn’t have a thick, plush hair coat consider a winter jacket. Make sure the jacket is snug and that your male dog doesn’t urinate on the bottom belly strap (which can then worsen frostbite or cold injury). Dogs with longer fur (like poodles) might get snowballs caught in between their paw pads during walks, which can cause discomfort and possibly injury, consider boots or some type of paw pad protectors.
- Watch where you salt: ice salt can cause irritation to the skin, paws, and gastrointestinal tract when directly ingested. Make sure to use pet-friendly ice melts (which don’t contain salt) and a damp cloth to wipe off your pet’s paws after coming into the house.
- Check under the hood: Bang on your car hood before starting it. Stray cats can hide under a vehicle’s hood where it’s warm and can develop severe injuries when the car is started.