You take your dog to see the veterinarian for their annual checkups to make sure they are healthy and to get answers when they aren’t feeling well. But have you ever asked your dog vet in Egg Harbor Township, NJ for tips to keep your dog healthy and safe during the cold winter months?
There may be snow, rain or storms this winter where you live. You know how the harsh winter weather can pose a threat to your own health, wellbeing and safety. It can do the same to your beloved pet dog. Just because your dog has a thick fur coat doesn’t mean he or she can tolerate the cold better than other animals or humans. The fact of the matter is that the cold weather can be very hard on dogs, and whether you know it or not, your dog actually needs a little extra care this winter. Here are some ways to protect your dog from wintertime health risks.
Know the serious risks
Dogs that are out in the cold for a long time or get wet in cold temperatures may experience hypothermia. This potentially life-threatening health concern also occurs when dogs with poor health are exposed to the cold. Mild to severe hypothermia signs include shivering, cold feet and ears, lethargy, weakness, stiff muscles, slow heart rate and breathing, and not responding to stimuli.
Dogs can get frostbite, too. This is when the dog’s body gets very cold, leaving the body no choice but to pull blood from the extremities to the center of the body for warmth. In dogs, the extremities include ears, paws and the tail, which get so cold that ice crystals form in the tissue and cause damage. Frostbite is not always immediately obvious—signs include pale or dull skin, hard and cold skin, pain and distress as frostbite warms and blackened skin that falls off.
Get your dog a coat
Dogs with thick fur meant for cold climates can keep warm outside in winter, while dogs with thin coats are better off wearing a doggie sweater or jacket when going outside. Although this covers your dog from their neck to lower back, it does not protect their feet, ears and tail from frostbite. Don’t let your dog stay outside too long in freezing temperatures.
Keep dogs inside
Go out with them when the sun is out in the morning or afternoon for potty breaks, play time and walks, but never leave your dog outside alone in cold winter weather, and definitely don’t make them live outside.
Pay extra attention to older dogs
Many senior dogs have existing medical conditions, like arthritis, that get aggravated in cold weather. Make sure dogs with joint problems exercise often, and avoid walking your dog over slippery or icy surfaces. Have a comfortable bed for them to rest on afterwards.
Contact your local dog vet in Egg Harbor Township, NJ for more information about how to protect your dog from winter health risks. Don’t forget to call Newkirk Family Veterinarians to schedule your dog’s next health and wellness appointment!