Winter Health for Your Dog
Posted on January 06 2022
Wintery days can make for a great deal of fun with your dog. Cold weather, however, poses different challenges for pet wellness. When temperatures drop, pet health issues change a bit with the season. Here are a few things to watch out for to keep your dog safe and healthy all season long:
Frostbite. Below freezing temperatures may make your dog vulnerable to frostbite. In very cold temperatures, the body automatically adjusts blood flow away from the extremities and towards vital organs. As a result, your dog will be most vulnerable to frostbite on their paws, nose, ears, and tail. Dog who are smaller or short-haired are more prone to frostbite, as opposed to dogs like Malamutes and Siberian Huskies, but puppies and senior dogs of a variety of breeds need extra care. Frostbite may cause a discoloration of the skin (blue/gray or pale coloration), pain or tenderness when touched, swelling or blisters. Should you suspect frostbite, seek medical care from your veterinarian immediately. Prevent frostbite with paw booties, a warm jacket, and shorter walks with your pet on cold days.
Dry Skin. Cold winter days and warm dry houses add up to increased incidents of dry, itchy skin for many pups. Be sure to keep your pet hydrated and reduce the number of baths during the winter days. All natural pet moisturizers can help keep skin from getting too dry as well. You might also supplement with essential fatty acids (such as those in fish oils) to help maintain healthy skin.
Paw Health. With icy and snowy days come salting trucks and ice melt on sidewalks and other surfaces. Most ice melts contain Sodium chloride, potassium chloride, calcium chloride or magnesium chloride which can be dangerous for pets. While dogs won’t generally eat these products (although some might), they may lick their paws after walking through them which can lead to nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. The ice melts can also dry out paws or cause skin irritation. If your pet will tolerate booties when walking outside in winter, these are a good solution. Otherwise, be sure to wash and wipe paws when coming in from a winter walk. Should your pet’s paws get dry during the cold season, natural remedies such as vitamin E oil, shea butter, or coconut oil can do wonders.
Keep an eye out for these seasonal challenges but do get out and enjoy the snow and the season with your dog!