Dog Care: Winter Pet Care
(American Animal Hospital AssociationMore Pet Resources - weather.com)
It's that time of year--the leaves are almost done falling, the time has fallen back an hour, and some parts of the country are looking forward to ice, snow, and freezing cold temperatures. Now's the time to snuggle up in front of a fireplace with a warm kitty on your lap or a puppy at your feet. But before you settle down to your long winter's nap, take some time to learn how to keep those animals as warm and comfortable as you are.
Cold weather can be hard on pets, just like it can be hard on people. Sometimes owners forget that their pets are just as accustomed to the warm shelter of the indoors as they are. Some owners will leave their animals outside for extended periods of time, thinking that all animals are adapted to live outdoors. This can put their pets in danger of serious illness. There are things you can do to keep your animal warm and safe.
You can also keep an eye out for two serious conditions caused by cold weather. The first and less common of the two is frostbite. Frostbite happens when an animal's (or a person's) body gets cold and pulls all the blood from the extremities to the center of the body to stay warm. The animal's ears, paws, or tail can get cold enough that ice crystals can form in the tissue and damage it. The tricky thing about frostbite is that it's not immediately obvious. The tissue doesn't show signs of the damage to it for several days.
If you suspect your pet may have frostbite, bring her into a warm environment right away. You can soak her extremities in warm water for about 20 minutes to melt the ice crystals and restore circulation. It's important that you don't rub the frostbitten tissue, however--the ice crystals can do a lot of damage to the tissue. Once your pet is warm, wrap her up in some blankets and take her to the veterinarian. Your veterinarian can assess the damage and treat your pet for pain or infection if necessary.
Hypothermia, or a body temperature that is below normal, is a condition that occurs when an animal is not able to keep her body temperature from falling below normal. It happens when animals spend too much time in cold temperatures, or when animals with poor health or circulation are exposed to cold. In mild cases, animals will shiver and show signs of depression, lethargy, and weakness. As the condition progresses, an animal's muscles will stiffen, her heart and breathing rates will slow down, and she will stop responding to stimuli.
If you notice these symptoms, you need to get your pet warm and take her to your veterinarian. You can wrap her in blankets, possibly with a hot water bottle or an electric blanket--as always, wrapped in fabric to prevent against burning the skin. In severe cases, your veterinarian can monitor her heart rate and blood pressure and give warm fluids through an IV.
Winter can be a beautiful time of year. It can be a dangerous time as well, but it certainly doesn't have to be. If you take some precautions, you and your pet can have a fabulous time taking in the icicles, the snow banks, and the warm, glowing fire at the end of the day.
More Dog Care Tips
Content provided by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). Visit the AAHA pet owner Web site at www.healthypet.com for more pet care advice and to find an AAHA-accredited veterinary hospital near you.
Hi, my name is Terry. I manage this website for my furbaby, Daisy. When I first became interested in the Shichons, I found it was difficult to get information on them. A few sites, I am using for information are excellent sources. Then, I moved on to compile and share more information on choosing a good breeder, grooming, health, behavior, training and much more. I hope you enjoy this site and find it helpful. I am NOT promoting any information, just sharing. You and your vet know what is best for your baby.