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Keeping Your Pooch Warm in Winters
For most animal lovers who try to think of a moment of absolute contentment, the image of sitting in the winter sun with their pet on their lap will probably come to mind. . For any animal lover, the word “warm cuddle” will provoke the response “my pet” as the season for warm cuddles with our furry friends is around the corner. It seems that by some divine design our dogs and cats have been drawn especially for this season. But nothing puts a bigger damper on this season of cheer than a bout of colds, coughs and sneezes. Some of us have an unfortunate tendency to believe that our pets don’t succumb to the whims of winter as easily as we do. The truth is that they need so much care to be able to give back that warm cuddle.
The following is a list of dos and don’ts to help give your pets the cold weather care they deserve.
A) Puppies are not able to handle extreme weather conditions, so make sure they are always well covered. Pay special attention at night as puppies can sleep on the bare floor and catch a bad cold. A warm bed with a cozy blanket should be enough. It is better to serve hot food. Avoid giving cold water, curd, ice cream, etc. A hot water sponge is a better alternative to the bath.
B) All vaccination and deworming should be updated as viruses thrive at this time of year.
C) A change of season is the time when the physiological apparatus of the body is subjected to force and leads to a decreased resistance against common diseases. So make sure the animals are well fed. Switching to a commercial dry dog food will make things simpler. Food must be high in calories to generate enough energy to cope with the cold, especially for dogs living at higher altitudes. An increase in fat and protein is also recommended.
D) Protect your pet with wool clothing as per individual requirement. In places where it snows, animals should be kept indoors to avoid unnecessary exposure and to prevent snow accidents. Shoes designed for dog paws should be worn when going out for walks to prevent frostbite.
E) Towel or dry your dog if it gets wet from rain or snow. Pay special attention to the paws. Vaseline can be used to remedy dry paws, muzzle and small cracks/cuts.
F) Outdoor dogs need extra protection in the form of an elevated and well-covered shelter to protect them from the cold breeze. Extreme cold conditions warrant the use of heaters equipped with humidifiers.
G) Change walking times to later in the morning and earlier in the evening. Besides providing sunlight, it also keeps them away from the cool part of the day.
H) Do not cut your pets hair at this time of year because it provides them with natural insulation. Most dogs shed their summer coat before getting a new winter coat. Dry skin is common in indoor animals, probably due to the use of heaters that lead to low humidity. To remedy this frequent brushing and providing supplements for hair care is recommended.
I) Ideally reduce the frequency of bathing to once in 2 months.
J) Dogs are just as likely to be dehydrated in the winter as in the summer, so always provide fresh water.
K) People who have never experienced their pet having a cough could confuse it with vomiting/vomiting. The cough, if left untreated, can develop into pneumonia. There may also be heavy dripping from the nose or thick nasal/eye discharge. Causes could include a simple bacterial infection or an influenza virus in unvaccinated dogs.
L) The smog could cause an attack in an asthmatic dog, so be well prepared in advance with emergency medicines. Allergies are common with the change of season and can only be remedied with anti-allergy drugs.
M) Vomiting and loose motions could be a simple reaction to the change of season or a bacterial infection. It can also indicate the presence of deadly viruses such as canine parvovirus or canine distemper. In any case, do not delay the treatment.
N) Old dogs should be washed with the kind of care and attention we would give our grandparents or any other elderly person for that matter. Old age can face many problems like arthritis, reduced immunity to respiratory infections, heart diseases, etc. The cold of winter can aggravate any existing problem. If your dog has trouble getting up, sitting down, is limping, or standing up after exercise, these could be early warning signs of osteoarthritis. This is a degenerative joint disease and should be provided with adequate pain relief medication. Supplements like cod liver oil have proven to be helpful.
So here’s wishing all the animals a healthy, warm and happy winter.
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