Keep Your Dog Safe This Winter Season….

February 28th, 2007 by Joy

Yes it is February almost March, But there are a few area that are still getting hit with snow and freezing conditions like here in NY. While we all adjust and get ready for the changing weather we should take the time to also be sure our dogs are ready as well. We don’t want him stuck out in the cold with icicles hanging of there little noses.

Visit your veterinarian for a checkup before cold weather hits. The cold weather can flare up certain conditions like arthrits. Have your vet also explains the signs to watch for like lagging behind on walks, limping, appearing stiff after activity or having a hard time climbing stairs. Severe cases would include soreness when touched and the unwillingness to get up from resting. Even aggressiveness or other behavioral changes are signs. Osteoarthritis is a painful joint disease especially for our older friends.K eep those eyes open so it can be properly treated and kept undercontrol. Also be sure ID tags are current as well as vaccinations.

Not all of us are able to keep our dogs indoors at all times, even during the winter months. So providing proper shelter outside is a must! They need shelter that can protect them from the wind,snow and ice. Find a house that is large enough for them to stand up in and turn around but also small enough to help retain their body heat. Provide bedding as well. You can use a blanket or even straw if its available in your area, But it must be something that can be cleaned or replaced if it gets wet. Be sure there is acess to fresh water ( unfrozen, of course). For our outside friends investing in a heated water bowl may be a good idea. Our indoor friends will also need plenty of water due to dry winter air. Also use caution around any bodies of water you may live near as they begin to freeze. Also when if it appears to be completely frozen, there is a chance it might not be in certain areas.

The number one issues the vet offices see during this time of year is frostbite on our dogs ears,tails and feet. Ouch! And antifreeze ingestion. Big OH NO! Always check your dogs ears, tail and feet when they come in from being outside, even if its short period of time for our indoor dogs. Our outside dogs should be checked as often as possible. Frostbite can set in less then 10 min on certain days. Pay attention to the weather conditions on the news. Those warnings pertain to our furry friends as well. Antifreeze (Ethylene Glycol) is a big NO NO. Clean up any spills immediatley. Dogs dont know this is bad. They like the sweet smell and taste of it. Even small amounts can be deadly. If you suspect your dog ingested antifreeze, waste no time and go to your local vet or emergency vet. Signs of ingestion to watch for are similar to sings of alcohol intoxincation like stumbling around and vomiting. The kidneys are what will be severley affected within 36-72hrs of ingestion. I urge you if you have not already to invest in an animal friendly antifreeze (Propylene Glycol) it is a bit more exspensive. but well worth it to keep them safe. Also a good investment is Pet friendly rock salt for the ice and snow.

If you follow these simple guidelines this winter you and your furry friends will be safe and happy during the winter months.

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