Category Archives: winter care for pets

How to Travel in Extreme Cold with Your Dog

dog winter travel jurvetsonBy Laurie Darroch

While some dogs thrive in the cold, not all dogs handle it well. Factors such as coat thickness, the age or health of the dog, and the level and type of cold may make it difficult for your dog to deal with extremely chilly temperatures while you travel. Taking your dog on a winter vacation with you may sound like fun, but you need to make sure they can handle the cold first. Even dogs who love the cold may need some extra precautions when you take them traveling or exploring in the wintertime.

Prevention

If you plan on being outside with your dog when you are traveling, keep her coat and feet in good condition. Proper grooming helps keep the fur in the condition necessary for growth and warmth.

Good nutrition helps the healthy growth of their skin and coat as well. A high quality dog food such as CANIDAE Grain Free PURE has the ingredients necessary to help maintain a shiny coat and healthy underlying skin.
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4 Wintertime Pet-Related Myths That Can be Harmful

winter myths jasonBy Linda Cole

A myth is a belief that something is true, even though there usually isn’t any proof to back up the claim. Nonetheless, people sometimes do believe a myth, especially if it seems reasonable. Unfortunately, some pet-related wintertime myths can be harmful to our four legged friends.

Fur Coats Protect Dogs and Cats from Cold

Northern dog breeds were developed to withstand harsh winter temperatures, but that doesn’t mean your pet Siberian Husky should live outside in the cold. A dog’s ability to endure winter weather depends on the thickness and condition of his coat, height of the dog, body fat, age, activity level and overall health. Smaller dogs and cats are more susceptible to colder temperatures because they are closer to the ground. No matter how thick a pet’s coat is, it doesn’t protect them from hypothermia or frostbite.

Dogs and cats are both at risk of developing frostbite on their nose, ears, tail and paw pads when left outside in freezing weather. If it’s too cold outside for you, it’s too cold for your dog or cat to stay out. A good rule of thumb to follow: if you are shivering when outdoors, your pet is probably ready to go inside, too.
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5 Reasons to Get a Coat for Your Dog

dog coat luluBy Laurie Darroch

Some people may think dog coats are silly, but there are reasons a dog can benefit from wearing one in cold weather. Dog coats are not just a dress up item; they are a necessity for some dogs and weather conditions.

Encouragement

Some dogs are hesitant to step outside in the cold. It may take some encouragement to get them out the door to face a walk in the frigid snow. The added warmth of a coat designed for those conditions can help motivate your dog to go out into the chilly weather. If your dog is comfortable, he is more likely to cooperate and go out for the exercise he needs or to answer nature’s call.
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Dog Potty Training Tips for Bad Weather

potty tips martinaBy Laurie Darroch

Some dogs resist going outside in rainy or snowy weather to go to the bathroom. They do not like the changes in temperature or the feel of the snow or the rain. With training and encouragement they will go outside, but you can help your dog by making the experience more tolerable.

Snow

Keep an area in your yard clear of snow for the potty area, and be consistent. Make sure the space is large enough for your dog to sniff and turn around on. Clear it as close to the ground as possible. With repetition and encouragement, your dog will get used to going to that one spot in inclement weather.

If you do not have a yard and are walking your dog for bathroom breaks, bring along a small hand shovel if they are resistant to relieving themselves on the snow. There are small, reasonably priced folding shovels available as well, which are easier to carry on an outing in the cold.
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Tips for Protecting Your Dog During Cold Winter Months

winter 4NeusBy Langley Cornwell

If you are cold, your pet is cold. It’s that simple. Yes, dogs have a fur coat and it’s true that many of the northern dog breeds seem to thrive in cold weather. However, if you’re sharing your life with any breed other than something like an Alaskan Malamute, an American Eskimo Dog, a Bernese Mountain Dog, a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, a Newfoundland, a Saint Bernard or similar, as a responsible pet owner it’s important to take extra precautions during the colder weather.

All dog breeds are vulnerable to hypothermia and frostbite. Never leave your pet outside in the cold without supervision.  As a general rule, it’s best to stay indoors as much as possible during inclement weather. Here are a few additional reminders for protecting your dog during the cold winter months.

Prepare the House

Because you and your companion animal will likely spend more time indoors, prepare your house. Make sure to section off any areas you don’t want your pet to go, especially areas that lead outside. Dogs may get lost easier in the winter because the ice and snow can mask recognizable scents and landmarks, thereby making it harder for your pet to find his way home. Be sure there are no open doors or windows that can let the cold in or your dog out.

If you use space heaters, keep them away from locations where happy, wagging tails can knock them over and potentially start a fire. Moreover, if you build a fire in the fireplace, make sure your pet cannot get too close to the flame. In general, do your best to pet-proof your home.

It’s also important to offer a warm place to which your dog can retreat. A cozy dog bed that’s in a warm area, preferably up off of the floor and away from drafty windows and doors is the best scenario.

winter derek purdyTake Shorter Walks

Be aware that cold weather can exacerbate certain physical limitations, especially in older and arthritic dogs. It’s a good idea to take shorter walks during the winter and try to stay away from frozen, icy patches. Some dogs may need a coat or sweater when outdoors in the winter, not to make a fashion statement but for warmth. Dogs with short hair will obviously get colder faster, but many of us don’t give the same consideration to dogs with short legs. Think about it; shorter legs mean his body is closer to the cold ground so he will get chilled more quickly.

Also remember that dogs with conditions like Cushing’s disease, heart or kidney disease, diabetes, or hormonal imbalances have a hard time regulating their body temperatures so they benefit from shorter, more frequent walks during the winter.

Give a Thorough Wipe-Down

After your walk, take the time to wipe off your dog’s paws, legs and belly when you first come inside. Many cities and counties use salt, deicers, antifreeze or some other types of toxic chemicals to help melt the snow and ice. These chemicals can irritate your pet’s feet. Furthermore, you don’t want your dog to lick his paws and ingest these substances. Likewise, it’s important to inspect your pet’s paw pads to make sure he didn’t cut himself on ice shards or broken glass.

Monitor Food and Water

Your dog should maintain a healthy weight throughout the winter. If he is less active than in the warmer months, you may have to adjust the amount of food he consumes. Make sure he has the proper amount of a nutritious, high quality dog food like CANIDAE, as well as plenty of fresh water during the winter months.

Be Responsiblewinter patti haskins

Sadly, not everyone is a responsible pet owner. If you happen to see a pet left outside during frigid weather, take action. Document the address, date, time, circumstances, type of animal and anything else you think is pertinent. If possible, take photographs or a video of the situation. Then call the authorities – a local animal control agency, the police or sheriff’s office, etc. – and report the situation.

On another day, go back to the location and see if that poor animal is still out in the cold. If so, respectfully call the agency back and make a second report. Please be the voice of those who cannot speak.

Have a happy and healthy winter!

Top photo by 4Neus/Flickr
Middle photo by Derek Purdy/Flickr
Bottom photo by Patti Haskins/Flickr

Read more articles by Langley Cornwell

Can Dogs and Cats Get Frostbite?

By Linda Cole

Winters can be really snowy and cold in my neck of the woods, making it hard for humans and animals to get around. My dogs do fine when we’re outside, provided their time in the snow and cold is limited. But in extreme cold, it takes only a few minutes before they’re limping back with very cold feet. I’ve had occasions where I’ve had to pick one up and carry her back inside. It’s important to keep a close eye on pets during the winter months because they can get frostbite on their feet, ears, tail and nose.

Some dog and cat breeds have a warm coat that provides them with good protection from harsh weather. The Norwegian Forest Cat and Maine Coon Cat developed naturally on their own, adapting to weather conditions to survive. Northern dogs were bred to work in extreme weather conditions. They needed to be tough because human lives depended on their ability to handle snow and cold. However, even pets with double coats can feel the effects of the cold and are at risk of frostbite, especially inside pets that aren’t acclimated to the colder temperatures.

A pet is at risk of frostbite when the temperature drops to 32º F and below. When exposed to the cold for too long, the body begins a process of survival. Blood vessels closest to the skin begin to constrict and push blood to the core to protect vital organs like the heart and liver. The longer the body is exposed to the cold, blood flow at the extremities can become so low it can’t protect these areas from freezing, which results in tissue damage. These are the areas of the body farthest from the heart with little to no hair covering them. The tip of the tail, ears, paw pads and toes are the most common areas affected, but dogs and cats can get frostbite on their nose, too.

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