Krista Magnifico, DVM, is the founder and chief creative officer of Pawbly.com and wrote this article for Everyday Health. This is great information for all of us as we head into the winter months and the cold weather sets in. We need to make sure that we protect our four legged loved ones and keep them safe. We need to make sure that if they spend time outside they are protected and covered as much as possible and have shelter to stay in. Some dogs love outside and want to stay out in the weather all the time. We need to take precautions to protect them as much as possible!
Here are some tips to protect our dogs from the cold weather:
1. Exposure to Hypothermia
If it’s too cold for you to stay outside, it’s too cold for your pet. Keep your pets in a weather-tight enclosure with adequate bedding to allow them to cuddle up and sleep without concern about freezing.
2. Salty Feet
The chemicals that help keep our car tires gripping the pavement can be caustic and painful if allowed to settle between the toes of our pets. There are many pet-friendly options available.
3. Rat Poison
All creatures seek warmth and hospitality through the winter. As unwanted house guests — mice and rats — seek shelter in or near our homes, the incidence of unintentional pet poisoning rises. Accidental ingestion of rodenticides can be fatal for a dog or cat. The safest way to protect your pet is to not use rodent killers in your home.
4. Obesity or Weight Gain
The struggle to convince ourselves to get off the couch, eat healthily, and exercise is even more challenging as we layer up and seek the warmth of calorie-dense comfort foods in winter. Those extra pounds put extra stress on your joints and your pets’ joints, which can strain, stretch, or even rupture with that first spring sprint trying to haul extra winter weight around.
5. Overheating and Dry Indoor Air
Just as it does with us, the heat in our homes dries out our pet’s skin and nasal passages. A humidifier can help add moisture and alleviate sniffs and sneezes.
Skipping doses of heartworm medication in winter month leaves a dangerous window of opportunity for heartworm carriers to infect your pets. Keeping your pet on monthly year-round prevention is the best way to protect your pet from this preventable and potentially life-threatening disease. A helpful tip is to give heartworm treatment as part of your normal routine — like tying it to when you pay your monthly bills. After you give the medicine, make a check mark on your calendar so you don’t forget you’ve given it.
7. Skin Infections
Fur-covered skin offers a safe haven for dirt, debris, moisture, and parasites. Without frequent washing or brushing, your pet’s skin can become overwhelmed, inflamed, or even infected. Start your spring cleaning now with a day at the pet grooming spa.