Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thanksgiving Tips!

          Thanksgiving is just days away, and for many of us, this is our favorite meal of the year! But with the smell of turkey and pumpkin pie in the air, your pets will be curious and wanting to try some of that yummy turkey too! Here are a few tips to for a fulfilling Thanksgiving that both you and your pets can enjoy!

          If you decide to feed your pet turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don't dish out raw or undercooked turkey. It may contain salmonella bacteria, which is harmful for pets and humans! Same goes for cake batter which may contain raw eggs!

          Speaking of uncooked food, never give pets raw bread dough. When raw bread dough is ingested, an animal's body heat causes the dough to rise in the stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery.

          Spices and herbs can make your Thanksgiving meal delicious, but they contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.

          We often want to spoil our pets, and when Fido is begging for a bite, it can be hard to resist that sweet face! Now a few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato, or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn't pose a problem. But don't allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis.

          Offering your pet a toy or treat can make it feel like they have their own little feast. Even offering them a toy such as a Kong toy where you can stuff a few small amounts of turkey or mashed potato into it would be a delight for any pet!

          Placing your pet in a safe area away from all the commotion may be a good idea! This will prevent them from possibly darting out the door when guests arrive. It may also prevent some accidents! Trying to cook a meal with pets around can sometimes end in disaster! They may be hovering around your feet, and could possibly be a trip hazard. It is always a good idea to keep them away from a hot stove as well. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Deaf Dog Awareness Week

         It is Deaf Dog Awareness Week, so we want to bring to light some facts and myths about deaf pets.
Deafness in animals can be inherited from birth, acquired through trauma, stem from drug reactions, or come on with age. Deafness is more common in white animals, but any animal can be deaf. Some breeds, such as Dalmatians and Boxers, are more prone to deafness than others. Thirty percent of all Dalmatians born are either deaf in one ear, or deaf in both ears. Some deaf animals also have albinism, meaning that they lack normal melanin pigment in their eyes, nose, or skin, although not every albino animal is deaf.

Deaf pets are just as intelligent as hearing pets. They make great pets and do well with other animals in the home. it's a myth that a deaf pet "needs" a hearing companion to function successfully. Deaf animals bark, meow, and make all the regular sounds their hearing counterparts make. They can be taught sign language commands and are fully trainable. The only real caveat in adopting a deaf pet is that it should never be allowed to roam freely outdoors unless it is in a securely fenced enclosure, since they cannot hear cars or other dangers approaching.

Speaking of myths… Here are some other myths about deaf dogs.

Myth: Since they cannot hear, deaf dogs are easily startled when someone wakes them, touches them when they are not looking at you, or even walks up behind them. Over time, deaf dogs develop fearful, aggressive personalities. They will bite when startled, or attack for no reason.

You could say that no other myth has caused more damage than this one. It seems to make sense, and therefore it is seldom questioned. This myth assumes that "being startled" is a permanent condition, and that he will always respond by becoming fearful and aggressive.

The truth is that deaf dogs adapt to their hearing loss, and become comfortable with their surroundings. A hearing dog can be startled by a loud noise, just as a deaf dog can be startled by an unexpected touch. Owners of deaf dogs report that their dogs' responses to being touched unexpectedly range from a "YIKES" response, where the dog may jump, to a "huh?" response, where the dog simply turns and looks. Some may be briefly disoriented when awakened, but few become aggressive or bite in response.

You can help teach your dog to be desensitized to the startle of being touched unexpectedly or awakened from sleep. One suggestion would be by first walking up behind the dog when he isn't looking; touch the dog, then immediately pop a treat in the dog's mouth when he turns around. The dog quickly associates good things with being touched unexpectedly, and learns to respond happily. Not all deaf dogs require this type of training, but it is helpful for the more sensitive ones.

Another suggestion would be to start slowly by first placing your hand in front of the sleeping dog's nose, allowing him to smell that you are near. Next lightly touch the dog and begin to gently stroke the dog with two fingertips, then with your entire hand. Most deaf dogs will wake up during some part of this exercise. When they open their eyes, their owner's smiling face and perhaps even a treat rewards them. In a matter of weeks, the dog becomes accustomed to waking up when the owner places a hand in front of his nose, or lightly touching him. Waking up becomes a gentle, positive experience.

Myth: Deaf dogs should never be placed in homes with children. They will startle and bite, they will become aggressive, and they will be hard to train.

The truth is, if a deaf dog is well socialized to children, it is as safe to have in a home with children as any other dog. What is more important is the dog's history, its personality and any breed characteristics that affect how the dog reacts to children. The right deaf dog in a home with children can teach the children a lot about dealing with someone who doesn't have the same abilities that they do.

This applies for hearing and deaf dogs. If you are considering getting a dog and you know children will be a part of the dog's life, then do the research and find the best match for your situation.

  • Size
  • Breed characteristics
  • Level of activity
  • Trainability
  • Coat type
  • Temperament
  • Personality

Myth: Because a deaf dog cannot hear an approaching car, a honking horn, or his owner's verbal command, he is more likely to be hit by a car than a hearing dog.

This myth implies that most dog owners allow their dogs to roam free, unsupervised, off leash. This may be true for dogs living on a large piece of property, but it is certainly not true for dogs living in the city. Most cities have leash laws, which would prohibit dogs roaming off leash.

This myth also implies that the hearing dog has an advantage because it can hear the approaching car, and easily move out of its way. However, dogs are not born knowing that the sound of an approaching car, or a honking horn, will lead to pain and possible death. Therefore, just because the hearing dog can see the approaching car & can hear the honking horn, doesn’t mean they will get out of the cars way. Just as a deaf dog may see the approaching car, and not be able to hear the honking horn, he may not get out of the way.

Any dog wandering off leash, in close proximity to cars, is at risk of being hit. Even the best-trained hearing dog may run into a car's path if he's focused on something he is after, such as a ball, or another animal. It is a cardinal rule of deaf dog owners to never allow the dog to roam freely, off leash.

There is still the chance of the occasional accident.  For example, if you drop the leash on a walk or your dog squeezes through an open door. However, not all dogs bolt the minute they get a chance. Both deaf and hearing dogs can be trained to sit and wait before being release to walk through a door.

Myth: A deaf dog is an accident waiting to happen, because even if your deaf dog is not showing any signs of aggressive behavior now, he will suddenly become aggressive when he reaches 3 years of age.

It is crazy to believe that your loving family pet will suddenly become aggressive on their third birthday. The only explanation for this myth is the fact that all dogs go through an "adolescent period" which can start as early as five months in small breeds, and last as long as three years in large breeds. However, a quick look at canine development also suggests that this theory is inaccurate. Canine adolescence comes with such behaviors as refusing to do commands they learned previously, accidents in the house, excessive chewing, and so on. Most dogs are through the worst of their adolescence by two years of age, but some dogs will remain in this phase for an additional year. A dog that is three years of age or older, has generally outgrown most of the annoying habits of the adolescent.

Myth: The deaf dog is incredibly challenging to raise and train because they cannot respond to verbal commands. They can be trained to respond to hand signals, but because the dog can only see the signals if it is looking at you, deaf dogs must be kept under strict control at all times.

It is wrong to assume that if a deaf dog isn't looking at his owner, he's inaccessible and out of control. Like humans, many dogs pick up movement and signals with their peripheral vision. A well trained deaf dog makes eye contact with their owners on a regular basis, keeping track of them, and repeatedly checking in, so the deaf dog matures and his training progresses, getting his attention becomes less and less of an issue.

Dogs are tuned into body language more than you think. When training any dog, visual signals are more effective than voice commands. A voice command is a nice additional aid for training, not a mandatory requirement because people talk, dogs don't. We place importance on our tone of voice and the words we use when speaking to our dogs. We seldom realize the additional messages communicated by our bodies, and the way those messages are interpreted by our dogs. For example, when you tell your dog to sit, do you also do a hand gesture?

Dogs rarely rely on the spoken word. They use their bodies to communicate intent, dominance, submission, and a wide variety of other emotions. Our dogs are always "reading" us, and they place a higher value on our body language than the words we speak.

Dogs are not born with an inherent understanding of the words we speak to them on a daily basis. Over time, a hearing dog learns to associate certain words with events and, eventually, these words become meaningful to the dog. A deaf dog is just as capable of making these associations, even if he will be learning these based on visual cues rather than verbal cues.

The trainer of a deaf dog will have to learn techniques designed for a visual leaning dog. This is not a difficult task, but if the trainer cannot make this adjustment, they will fail. This is not the fault of the deaf dog.

Myth: A few special owners have deaf dogs that are functioning well, but they are an exception. For every sketchy success story, there is another one of disaster and heartache.

Many different people find themselves with deaf dogs. Some of them get the dog and find out after the fact that their dog is deaf. Some people adopt deaf dogs, even if they haven't had one before. Others will deliberately look for a deaf dog, either because they have had one before, or because they want to give the dog a good home. If the only home that a deaf dog could be placed in was an "experienced" one, none of them would ever get homes. Experience isn't needed, everyone has to have their "first". The commitment to the dog is what is most important.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

National Spoil Your Dog Day!

15 Ways to Celebrate

National Spoil Your Dog Day!

Yay! August 10th was National Spoil Your Dog Day! Parker has his request in for National Spoil Your Cat Day, but considering the normal nature of cats, we think that would be redundant. Anyway, here’s a list of fifteen guaranteed ways to spoil your pooch ! Why not get as many of them in as you can?

1.      Bring them to doggie daycare so they can play with their friends!
2.      Take them to get pampered at your local pet spa!
3.      Buy them a new toy!
4.      Take them swimming!
5.      Swing by a pet bakery & pick your pooch up some gourmet treats!
6.      Take them for a nice long walk!
7.      Make them a special dinner! Be sure to make it pet friendly!
8.      Play some of their favorite games like fetch or tug!
9.      Roll down the windows and take a drive!
10.  Provide a playmate–adopt another dog, if you haven’t already!
11.  Buy them a new collar or outfit!
12.  Whip out the brush & let them relax while you brush their hair!
13.  Buy them a new bed fit for a King! (or Queen!)
14.  Check to see if there are any pet related or pet friendly events going on in your area, if so take your pooch!

15.  Give them as much love and attention as possible! J

Friday, June 28, 2013

Fourth of July Safety Tips

            The Fourth of July is just days away, and for many people, nothing beats lounging in the backyard with good friends and family—including the four-legged ones. While you may want to reward your pet with scraps from the grill or bring them along to watch the fireworks, take a minute to think. Some festive foods and products can be potentially hazardous to your pets. Here are some tips you can use this Fourth of July.
·         Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison your pet. If ingested, the animal could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma. Death from respiratory failure is also a possibility in severe cases.
·         Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems. Keeping your pets up to date on flea, tick, and heartworm medication will help prevent anything they might pick up while outdoors.
·         Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or in severe cases, even kidney disease. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin, and if ingested can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and breathing problems could develop.
·         Keep your pets on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pets severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals that have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. And keep in mind that foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins, salt, and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals.
·         Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it. While the luminescent substance contained in these products is not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.
·         Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of reach. Ingestions can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.
·         Never use fireworks around pets! While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.
·         Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets, so please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities. Instead, keep your little guys safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.

It is important to know when fireworks will be happening and how they'll impact your home. Contact your local municipality to find out when your area is likely to have fireworks. Mark the dates on a calendar so that you can keep track of when to ensure your pets are cared for. If you know or suspect that the fireworks will be heard at your house, take precautions such as checking that your pets' ID tags and microchips are up to date. This way, if your pet does go running off during the firework events, it will be much easier for your pet to be identified and returned home.
Also remember to prepare your house. The house becomes your pets' safety zone, so it's important to prepare it properly. Keeping a light on will calm your pet and make him feel more secure, rather than being scared in a dark room. Plan to use familiar sounds to drown out the noise of the fireworks. Music or the sound from your TV are likely a familiar sounds that can sooth your pet, some say that the sound of rainwater is very soothing to pets. Just make sure not to play these sounds ridiculously loud as they can become bothersome themselves.
You should confine your pet. This does not mean you need to crate your pet, but they should be confined to one room or area of the house, unless you plan to pet proof your whole house!  Half an hour to an hour before the fireworks are due to be set off, place your pet into the chosen room. If you're concerned about not being able to locate your pet (for example, cats aren't always easy to find), consider finding your pet several hours earlier. Mealtime is a good time to round up every pet, provided it falls before the fireworks are set off. If your dog needs a walk, be sure to them before confining them. Even if your pet is normally crated in a different room than what you have selected, place the crate into the secure and comfortable room you've selected. Close the curtains or blinds in the room and cover the crate with a thick blanket, but make sure it is breathable so your animal doesn't suffocate. This will also help to stop the flashes of light affecting your pet.
When choosing a specific room for your pet, remember to select a suitable room where you will contain the pets for the duration of the fireworks. An inner room that is least impacted by the noise is ideal. It should be a room that you can close off to prevent your pet from running about the house and injuring itself, wrecking furniture, etc. If you have more than one pet, be sure they don't mind being confined in the same room, or select several rooms for different pets. For example, dogs and cats will usually appreciate being kept separate.     
Make the room cozy. Put down familiar, clean bedding somewhere pleasant such as under a table, on or behind a chair, etc. Add some familiar chew toys, scratch pads, balls, etc., to keep your pets amused and distracted. Ensure that the room temperature is pleasant. Some pet experts say to use lavender. This is optional, but you might like to use lavender scented items to help calm your pet. Just make sure that it's out of reach of your pet. Using heated scent oils or incense is not recommended, frantic pets can knock them over and start a fire or injure themselves Don’t forget to add a litter tray for cats. And remove any sharp items from the room in case your pet starts jumping or running around.
Provide plenty of food, and a sufficient amount of water for your pet in the confinement space. Many pets will be uneasy, or even frantic. If your pet has access to water, it will help calm him, and food supplied in your pet's regular portion will make him feel like it's a normal day.
It is also important to remember to prepare yourself. In the desire to ease our pet's pain, sometimes we can transfer some of our anxiety to our pets. If you've prepared properly in advance, there is no need to feel upset and worried as you can be reassured about the safety of your pet.
You should check on your pet after the fireworks. Reassure them and remove the protection (blankets, etc.) as long as you're sure that the loud fireworks are over. Let them have free run of the house to see how he or she behaves before considering letting them return outside. If possible, it might be best to wait until morning. Because although your local firework show may be over, some partygoers may be letting off their own fireworks late into the night.

Always do a yard sweep before letting your pets back outside. Collect any sparklers, firecrackers, etc., as well as party items and broken objects. This will prevent your pet from ingesting or being injured by unfamiliar objects.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dog Bite Prevention Week

Did you know that 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year? Or that one in five dog bites results in injuries that require medical attention? In 2006, more than 31,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of being bitten by dogs.

          Dog bites are a largely preventable public health problem, and adults and children can learn to reduce their chances of being bitten.

          Before you bring a dog into your household, you should consult with a professional, your veterinarian, an animal behaviorist, or responsible breeder might be able to help you to learn what breeds of dogs are the best fit for your family and household. When adopting, remember that dogs with histories of aggression are not suitable for households with children. Be sensitive to cues that a child is fearful or apprehensive about a dog. If a child seems frightened by dogs, wait before bringing a dog into your household. Always spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it.

          If you decide to bring a dog into your home, spaying or neutering your dog can often help reduce aggressive tendencies. Never leave infants or young children alone with a dog. Don’t play aggressive games with your dog, like wrestling. You might think it is okay to play ruff with your dog, but your dog will not be able to distinguish when it is okay or not okay to play ruff. And when playing with another person or a child, this could result in an injury. Properly socialize and train any dog entering your household. Teach the dog submissive behaviors like rolling over to expose the abdomen and giving up food without growling. Always seek professional advice from veterinarians, animal behaviorists, or responsible breeders if the dog develops aggressive or undesirable behaviors.

          To help prevent dog bites in children, teach them tips on what to do and what not to do when around unfamiliar dogs. Tell them not to approach an unfamiliar dog. Not to run from a dog or scream. They should "be still like a tree" when approached by an unfamiliar dog. Do not let your child play with a dog unless supervised by an adult. Tell them to avoid direct eye contact with a dog, and not to disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies. Remind them not to pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff them first, and if bitten, immediately report the bite to an adult.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Prevent Animal Cruelty

April is Prevent Animal Cruelty Month. You have probably seen the different TV shows out there like Animal Planets “Animal Cops” where dedicated Agents work hard to help save the lives of animals. But you don’t have to be an Animal Cop to do your part to help crack down on animal cruelty in your community. Read on for signs and symptoms of animal cruelty and for simple actions you can take to help an animal in need.
Here are some other signs and symptoms of animal cruelty:
  • Tick or flea infestations. If left untreated by a veterinarian, these conditions can lead to an animal's death.
  • Wounds on the body.
  • Patches of missing hair.
  • Extremely thin.
  • Limping.
  • An owner striking or physically abusing an animal.
  • Dogs who are repeatedly left alone without food and water, often chained up in a yard.
  • Dogs who have been hit by cars-or are showing any of the signs listed above-and have not been taken to a veterinarian.
  • Dogs who are kept outside without shelter in extreme weather conditions.
  • Animals who cower in fear or act aggressively when approached by their owners.
Get familiar with your communities authorities, and know whom to call to report animal cruelty. Some cities and states have their own animal authorities that are dedicated specifically to crimes involving animals. But every state and every town are different. In some areas, you may have to rely on the police department to investigate animal cruelty; in others, you may have to contact local animal control or another municipal agency. If you aren't sure where to report cruelty, it is best to call the police department and ask them for assistance.
Pay attention to details, and to know the animals in your neighborhood. By being alert, you're more likely to notice when a pet in the neighborhood who was once hefty has lost weight rapidly, which is a possible indicator of abuse.
Concerned? Make the call. Without phone calls from concerned citizens reporting cruelty, or even suspected cruelty, in their neighborhoods, most cases of animal abuse would be unknown to authorities. It all comes from the public and it all starts with you. Remember it is important to keep your eyes and ears open. Also remember to provide as much as information as possible when reporting animal cruelty. The details that you provide can go a long way toward assisting an investigating officer. It helps to write down the type of cruelty you witnessed, who was involved, the date of the incident and where it took place.
Talk to your kids about how to treat animals with kindness and respect. Children will often mirror your actions. If they are taught at a young age how to treat pets with love and affection, they will do the same. Be sure they know the importance of being a responsible pet owner and the importance on respecting animals.
Supporting your local shelter or animal rescue organization, is a great way to make a difference. Shelters and rescues are always accepting donations. Donations don’t always have to be cash either; you can donate pet supplies as well. Another way of supporting shelters and rescues is fostering pets that have been abused in their former homes, until they find their forever home. Either way you would be giving these dogs and cats the chance they deserve to have a good life.
If you have pets, be sure to always show them the love and good care they deserve. It's more than just food, water, and adequate shelter; it is also your pets overall well-being. If you think your animal is sick, bring them to the veterinarian. Be a responsible pet owner and have your animals spayed or neutered. Last, but not least, remember give your pets lots of hugs!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February is Spay & Neuter Awareness Month

This month is Spay & Neuter Awareness Month & today is World Spay Day. I would like to tell you a little bit about pet over population, and the many positive health and behavioral benefits to spaying & neutering your pets.
In every community, in every state, there are homeless animals. In the U.S. alone, there are an estimated 6–8 million homeless animals entering animal shelters every year, and only about half of these animals are adopted.
The number of homeless animals varies by state. In some states there are as many as 300,000 homeless animals euthanized every year. Sadly, these are the puppies and kittens of cherished family pets and even purebreds.
Many people are surprised to learn that nationwide more than 3 million cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters. Spaying and neutering is the only effective method to help stop overpopulation in dogs and cats.

There are many theories when it comes to the medical and behavioral effects of spaying and neutering dogs and cats. It can be a controversial subject and there are numerous viewpoints out there among trainers, breeders, and even within the veterinary profession.
            The primary benefit of spaying female dogs and cats is to prevent mammary cancer. A dog spayed before her first heat will have a near zero chance of developing mammary cancer later in life. After the first heat, this incidence grows to about 7 percent, and after the second heat the risk is about 25 percent. Statistics are similar in cats. Another potential condition in intact females is a bacterial infection of the uterus called pyometra. Treatment is surgery and can be very costly. Less common conditions such as uterine and ovarian cancer are 100 percent prevented by spaying. All of this is also true for rabbits. Rabbits reproduce faster than dogs or cats and often end up in shelters where they must be euthanized. Spaying or neutering rabbits can reduce hormone-driven behavior such as lunging, mounting, spraying and boxing.

            The major health benefits involved in neutering a dog involve the prostate gland. As dogs age, the prostate will gradually enlarge. This is known as benign prostate hyperplasia or BPH. The prostate under the influence of testosterone is also prone to infection. This is an extremely painful and sometime life-threatening condition, which is not likely to resolve without neutering and often invasive surgery. Other medical conditions that are prevented include testicular cancer, along with certain types of hernias and perianal tumors.

            There are no concrete facts when it comes to the behavioral changes seen in spayed and neutered dogs and cats. Neutering male dogs and cats can reduce urine marking in your house, aggression towards other dogs, and territorial aggression. It is important to realize that these behaviors can become a habit and continue after neutering.
Many experts say that once a pet is older than 1 year of age and still intact, undesirable behaviors are more likely to become permanent even if they are neutered at that time. The most dangerous behavior seen in intact males is roaming, i.e., running away to look for a mate, because it leads to animals running away as well as car accidents.

            The reproductive tracts of the female dog and cat are dormant for most of the year. From a behavioral standpoint, the animals will act as if they were spayed most of the time. When in heat, females are more likely to be aggressive and can show behavior such as howling and writhing on the ground. And an intact male can detect females in heat from miles away so it is not safe to leave them outside unsupervised.

            By spaying and neutering your pets, we can help stop pet overpopulation, and help prevent millions of pet deaths each year. The medical benefits of spaying and neutering pets lead to longer and healthier lives. The majority of spayed and neutered animals will be more relaxed and less prone to undesirable behavior. By spaying and neutering your pet, you can be an important part of the solution to pet overpopulation. Contact your veterinarian today and be sure to let your family and friends know that they should do the same.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Parkers Pointers-- Winter Care for Your Canine

Parkers Pointers: Winter Care for Your Canine

I may be a cat, but I care for my canine friends too! Here are some things you should know about when it comes to dogs and the winter season! 
Winter's cold weather brings many concerns for dog owners. Remember not to leave your dog outside in the cold for long periods of time. Pets can get frostbite too, especially on their ears, tail and feet. The wind chill makes days colder than actual temperature readings. Adequate shelter is important, try to keep your dog warm, dry, and away from drafts. Make sure they have somewhere soft and warm to cuddle up on, but be careful of supplemental heat sources. Fireplaces and portable heaters can burn your dog. Make sure fireplaces have screens, and keep portable heaters out of reach.
Be very careful when walking or playing with your dog near frozen lakes, rivers or ponds, if your pet fell in, it could result in serious injuries. Grooming your dog regularly is also important. Your dog needs a well-groomed coat to keep insulated. Short- or coarse-haired dogs may need some extra insulation, so consider a sweater or coat. Long-haired dogs should have hair around the toes and foot pads trimmed to make it easier for snow removal and cleaning. This helps avoid tiny cuts and cracked pads. A small amount of petroleum jelly may soften the pads and prevent further cracking. If you have never trimmed your dog’s coat before, its best to seek professional help so you do not accidentally cut their delicate pads.
It takes more energy in the winter to keep body temperature regulated, so if your dog spends a lot of time outdoors or is a working animal, additional calories in their diet are necessary. Just like in the summer, with the hot weather, it is important to remember not to leave your dog alone in a car without proper precautions. Even if the car engine is left on, the carbon monoxide will endanger your dog's life, and if the engine is off, the temperature in the car will get too cold.
Unfortunately, dogs cannot tell us when they are sick. As a dog owner, it is important to pay attention to your dog's well being. Each season come with its own set of concerns. In the winter remember that antifreeze, which often collects on driveways and roadways, is highly poisonous. To your dog, it smells good and tastes good, but it can be lethal. Rock salt, used to melt ice on sidewalks, may irritate the pads on your dog’s feet. Be sure to rinse and dry your dog's feet after a walk. Pet safe rock salt is available in most stores.
Always provide plenty of fresh water. Your dog is just as likely to get dehydrated in the winter as in the summer, and snow is not a satisfactory substitute for water. Like people, dogs seem to be more vulnerable to illness in the winter. Take your dog to a veterinarian if you see any symptoms, and don't use over-the-counter medications on your dog without consulting a veterinarian first.

Be safe out there!

Peace, Love, & Catnip,