While a blanket of snow covering the ground and the ability to
see your breath hang on the air might be charming at first,
anyone who lives in an area that gets hit hard by winter can
tell you that the shine is off the apple pretty quickly. When
it comes to keeping your pets safe and sound this winter, a few
questions worth asking are...
1. Do Pets Get colds?
Just like people, our pets’ immune systems are more vulnerable
during the cold months, leaving them open to catching what we
might consider a “cold.” And while it won’t be the same strain
that people get, the symptoms of their cold are much like our
own. One common wintertime ailment your pet may come down with
is the upper respiratory
infection, which looks almost identical to the common cold:
sneezing, coughing, and runny nose. During the winter, pet
parents should be extra vigilant, as many of these conditions
are highly treatable, but can become more serious if left
2. does weather affect Skin and Coat Health?
Yes. Colder, dryer air can chap skin. To help keep your pet’s
skin and fur healthy, a good brushing is a great way to
stimulate the production of weatherproofing oils on their fur,
as well as help speed up the growth of their winter undercoat.
For pets who are suffering from dry
skin, one way to soothe them is giving them an oatmeal
bath. It is best to avoid washing their fur with shampoo, as
the degreasing components would end up stripping their fur of
the very weatherproofing oils they need to fend off the ravages
of winter. There are medicated shampoos for pet dry skin
available, but consult with
your vet before using them.
3. is winter worse for Arthritis and Joint Pain?
Again, yes. The winter climate can exacerbate your pet’s
arthritis or joint pain, and while the cause of this
additional pain is still mostly unknown, current theories cite
the dryness of the air and the drop in air pressure as causing
an expansion in the joints, or a stiffening of the muscles,
resulting in more pain. Whatever the case may be, if your dog
or cat suffers from arthritis or chronic joint pain, the winter
can be pretty bleak. Keep up with your pain-reduction regimen
(routine exercise, healthy diet, medication or supplements,
like Dasuquin for dogs), and
take precautions to avoid extremely cold temperatures.
4. can my pet get Frostbite?
Exactly as nasty as it sounds, this cold weather condition
affects more than just people. Pets out in sub-freezing
temperatures for extended periods of time often fall victim to
the icy numbness of frostbite,
most often affecting their ears, paws, and/or tail. While some
breeds are less susceptible than others (i.e.,
Bernese Mountain Dog or
Maine Coon Cat), the only real way to protect against
frostbite is to avoid extended periods outdoors.
If your pet does get frostbite, the first thing you should do
is get them inside and take them to the vet. Never rub
frostbitten skin, as this could release toxins into the
bloodstream. Also, try to keep your pet from licking the
affected area for the same reason. Depending on the severity,
medication may be necessary to keep your pet from experiencing
the large amounts of pain that can come with frostbite.
5. is Dehydration a Possibility?
Dehydration during the winter occurs far more frequently than
most pet parents assume, mainly because people associate
dehydration with hot weather and over exertion. The reality is
that a cat or dog running around in the cold is just as likely
to get dehydrated as one running around in the summer sun.
Also, people may assume that eating snow is the same as
drinking water in terms of preventing dehydration -- it isn’t.
Remember to bring
along something for them to drink.
But don't forget to do some running around and exercise with your pet, even when it's
cold. Packing on extra weight over the winter due to less
exercise is no good.
6. what can i do about my Fireplace?
Nothing is nicer than a crackling fire in the fireplace on a
blustery winter evening, but if it isn’t gated off, it could
quickly become a nightmare. Should your cat or dog get too
close to the fire, or to a heat lamp, they could easily singe
off some of their fur, or worse. Just remember to be safe when
stoking the yule log this year, and make sure that any major
heat source is well guarded.
7. how do i deal with Rock Salt on the Sidewalks?
A crucial component for making the streets and sidewalks
traversable, ice-melting rock salt can do a real number on your
pet’s paw pads. They can get lodged in the grooves of their
feet, and even burn them in the same way they melt ice. Be
careful to avoid particularly salty patches when walking with
your pets outside, and make sure to wipe off their feet when
you come back in.
8. what Are the Dangers of Antifreeze?
Yet another necessary evil of the season, this blue goop is all
over driveways this time of year. One unfortunate fact about
this highly toxic chemical is that it has a distinctly sweet
taste that many pets are keen to sample, and it can take as
little as a couple teaspoons to put your pet’s life in danger.
While pets who receive treatment quickly have a high survival
rate, oftentimes pet parents don’t know what to look for,
thereby putting their pets in jeopardy. The onset of antifreeze poisoning includes:
- Loss of coordination
If you have reason to suspect that your cat or dog has ingested
antifreeze, take them to the
Helping Your Dog Beat the Chill Winter With Warm Food
Don't you just love treating yourself to a cup of hot tea or
some soup when winter comes knocking on the door? Well, it's
not just you, even dogs can find comfort in warm food during
the cold season. Let's take a look at how you can help your pet
stay warm this winter with the right food.
Is warm food good for your
According to pet specialists, dogs digest their food similarly
to how humans do. According to pet experts, it can be inferred
from this that dogs can also benefit the same benefits as
humans do when they consume warm food. When any food is
consumed, the body brings its temperature to the internal
temperature before it is ready to be digested. Simply put, that
means the body can directly move to the digestion process of
the food is already in a warm state while it is consumed. This
means lesser energy is expended in the process.So how does warm
food affect dogs? Of course, you should know that there is more
to warm food than the instant source of comfort that you get
when it goes down the throat. Warm foods can help enhance the
circulation of blood. Usually, the blood stays concentrated
mainly around the trunk of the body in order the keep the
internal organs warm, when it is under cold conditions. When
warm food is consumed, the blood is no longer concentrated in
just the trunk of the body, and is allowed to flow to the ends
of the body. It, in turn, helps stay warmer.
How to incorporate warm food
into your dog's diet?
Just heat up the usual food that you give your dog
kibble or canned
with warm water. In case you use freeze dried dog food, mix it
with some warm food, before you feed your dog. Just make sure
that your pet does not have frozen food during winter. Be sure
to refill your dog's bowl with water often. Your dog needs to
have a sufficient intake of fluids during winter. You can also
get heated bowls from your pet store to make sure that your dog
has warm water when it gets thirsty.If your dog's appetite is
not so great during the cold season, then warm food might help.
Warm foods naturally give out aromatic vapors that instantly
kick up the appetite. Of course, if your dog is the outdoorsy
active type, then you want to make sure that it also gets the
adequate amount of calories in its diet so it can stay warm. If
your dog is not very active during the cold season then you
want to stick to low-calorie treats.
More on Winter Safety
7 Pet Holiday Safety Tips for the
Pet Safety for the Holidays --
A Cat Proof Christmas Tree: It Is
This information is for informational
purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the
professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your
veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been
verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.