Blue Dog Blog

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By tag: pet symptoms

Cold weather is just around the corner, which means you're probably getting your house and yourselves ready for the long, dark days ahead. But don't forget to include your dogs and other pets in the getting-ready-for-winter party. Just because they wear their fur coats year round does not mean they are protected from the blustery winter winds.

Here are a few simple guidelines to having a warm and happy pet this season. 

Keep your pets inside: 

-Always bring your pet indoors if the temperature is near or below 30 with or without windchill. Unless your dog is a Malamute or a Husky type of breed, he should be indoors where it's warm

-Avoid letting your dog stay outside for long periods at a time. You don't want to risk any frostbitten ears! 

-Many of the chemicals used to melt snow on sidewalks can irritate paws or cause sores and bleeding. Try using "pet friendly" products on your walkways and clean up any spills. Wipe your pet's paws when they come inside to avoid ingestion of salt, antifreeze, or other harmful chemicals that could occur by licking their feet.
-Studies show that Indoor pets get less exercise in the colder months. If this is the case for your pet, you might want to think about feeding them less. If they aren't burning as many calories as they usually do and are eating like normal, you could end up with an overweight dog after winter.

If you MUST keep your dog outside: 

-Make sure your dog is in a dry, elevated house with clean, dry bedding and a flap over the opening to keep drafts out.

-Consider adding a dog door to the garage with a soft cushion in the warmest corner. But don't forget in the mornings when you start your car! 

-No matter what season, dogs need plenty of water. Check frequently to make sure the water is not frozen in the bowl. And switch to plastic water bowls instead of metal ones. The tongue can stick to cold metal… remember A Christmas Story??!

-If your dog is outside for a large portion of the day, they will be burning a lot more calories by producing body heat. You'll want to up the food intake of any outdoor dog in the winter. 

Tips for all dog owners:

-Keep your dogs on their leashes in winter, especially during a snowstorm. They could lose their scent and get lost! 

-Never leave your pet alone in a car during cold weather. Cars can act as a refrigerator in the winter causing the animal to freeze to death. 

-Keep veterinarian and other emergency numbers handy in an easy-to-find location incase of emergency. 

-Like humans, dogs joints and arthritis symptoms can act up in the winter. Watch for the following signs of arthritis in your pet - stiff in the morning, slowly climbing stairs, or a subtle, but persistent limp. Your vet will be able to provide some relief, so contact him/her immediately. 

With these safety guidelines you can rest easy knowing your pet is safe and warm this winter. If you have any questions regarding the safety or health of your pet, please contact your local vet immediately.