for your dogs
The best way to be in cold
weather is to watch from inside :)
You might think that because
your dog is covered in a fur coat from head to foot that it will be
protected against frostbite. However, you would be wrong. Some
breeds of dogs such as, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Huskies and,
Malamutes are almost made for winter, most others are definitely not
and like humans, if they are left out in the cold for too long,
frostbite is almost inevitable. Frostbite occurs when tissue is
damaged due to exposure to temperatures of 32 degrees F and below.
The tissue damage can be superficial or major depending on the
length of time that your dog is exposed; wet dogs, dogs with health
conditions such as diabetes, and dogs that are exposed to sub-zero
wind chills are especially susceptible
Winter's cold air brings many concerns for responsible dog owners.
Keep the following precautions in mind:
- Don't leave
your dog outside in the cold for long periods of time. Wind
chill makes days colder than actual temperature readings. Be
attentive to your dog's body temperature, and limit its time
shelter is a necessity. Keep your dog warm, dry and away from
drafts. Tiles and uncarpeted areas may become extremely cold, so
make sure to place blankets and pads on floors in these areas.
- Be extra
careful when walking or playing with your dog near frozen lakes,
rivers or ponds. Your dog could slip or jump in and get
- Groom your
dog regularly. Your dog needs a well-groomed coat to keep
properly insulated. Short- or coarse-haired dogs may get extra
cold, so consider a sweater or coat. Long-haired dogs should
have excess hair around the toes and foot pads trimmed to ease
snow removal and cleaning. If you do the trimming, take care not
to cut the pads or other delicate area of the foot.
- Feed your
dog additional calories if it spends a lot of time outdoors or
is a working animal. It takes more energy in the winter to keep
body temperature regulated, so additional calories are
- Towel or
blow-dry your dog if it gets wet from rain or snow. It is
important to dry and clean its paws, too. This helps avoid tiny
cuts and cracked pads. A little petroleum jelly may soften the
pads and prevent further cracking.
- Don't leave your dog alone in a car. If
the car engine is left on, the carbon monoxide will endanger
your dog's life. If the engine is off, the temperature in the
car will get too cold.
Dogs cannot talk to us when they are sick. As a responsible dog
owner, it is important to pay special attention to your dog's
well-being during the winter season. Remember the following health
which often collects on driveways and roadways, is highly
poisonous. Although it smells and tastes good to your dog, it
can be lethal.
- Rock salt,
used to melt ice on sidewalks, may irritate footpads. Be sure to
rinse and dry your dog's feet after a walk.
plenty of fresh water. Your dog is just as likely to get
dehydrated in the winter as in the summer. Snow is not a
satisfactory substitute for water.
- Frostbite is
your dog's winter hazard. To prevent frostbite on its ears, tail
and feet, don't leave your dog outdoors for too long.
- Be very
careful of supplemental heat sources. Fireplaces and portable
heaters can severely burn your dog. Make sure all fireplaces
have screens, and keep portable heaters out of reach.
- Like people,
dogs seem to be more susceptible to illness in the winter. Take
your dog to a veterinarian if you see any suspicious symptoms.
- Don't use over-the-counter medications on
your dog without consulting a veterinarian.
The winter season brings lots of fun holiday festivities, but
pet-owners should keep in mind the following special precautions:
- The holidays
are not ideal for introducing a pet into your family. New
puppies and dogs require extra attention and a stable
environment, which the holiday season doesn't permit. Also, a
puppy is not a toy or gift that can be returned. Instead, the
AKC suggests giving a gift representative of the dog to come,
such as a toy, a leash, or a bed.
mistletoe and poinsettia plants are pet poisons! Make sure they
are kept in places your dog cannot reach.
holiday gifts for dogs to make sure they are safe. Items such as
plastic toys and small rawhide sticks may be dangerous.
holiday lights from lower branches of your tree. They may get
very hot and burn dogs.
- Watch out
for electrical cords. Pets often try to chew them and may get
badly shocked or electrocuted. Place wires out of reach.
- Avoid using
glass ornaments. They break easily and may cut a dog's feet and
- Refrain from
using edible ornaments. Your dog may knock the tree over in an
attempt to eat them. Also, commercial ornaments may contain
paint or toxins in the preservatives.
- Whether your
tree is live or artificial, both kinds of needles are sharp and
indigestible. Don't leave your dog unattended in the room with
- Tinsel is
dangerous for dogs. It may obstruct circulation and, if
swallowed, block the intestines.
- Alcohol and
chocolate are toxic for dogs, even in small amounts. Keep
unhealthy, sweet treats and seasonal goodies out of reach.
- The holiday season is a stressful time for
dogs. Try to keep a normal schedule during all the excitement.
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