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Critter Chatter, Dogs

CRITTER CHATTER: Winter Pet Safety Tips by Dr. Brown

The Paw Print

Essential Pet Blog

beautiful long haired dog in snow

“Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”
Dean Martin

It’s getting cold. Really cold! Vermont has snow with temperatures in the minus range, factoring in the wind. Arizona temperatures are down in the low forties and residents are ambling along in the sunshine wearing hats, scarves, and gloves…and grumpy expressions. It is time to think about winter care for pets, and who better to ask for ideas than my Goldendoodle Charlotte? Below are a few tips I have translated from dog speak.

Don’t leave me outside.

Don’t leave me outside too long, especially at night. I have a fur coat, but my ears, paws, and tail can get so cold that ice crystals may form and damage tissue. If it’s too cold for you to stand at the door without a coat, let me in. Besides, the treats are inside.

Don’t leave me in the car; freezing temperatures are just as dangerous as hot ones. And you can’t leave a car running because of stinky fumes. I’m okay with staying home while you run errands. Just don’t forget to bring me a Puppuchino from Starbucks™.

Keep me warm.

I don’t enjoy cool floors like I do in the summer. Give me a nice warm, cozy dog bed, preferably away from drafts and near a heater or fireplace – but not too close. I’d ask for some hot cocoa, but I know chocolate is toxic for dogs, and milk gives me gas, an especially unpleasant side effect when windows are closed.

My skin needs a little extra care.

I always enjoy a good foot rub with moisturizing cream, especially after a walk in the snow or ice. Dog boots and winter coats are nice; just make sure they are clean, dry and fashionable. Watch out for any ice-melting sidewalk or roadway chemicals, as pad burns are no fun.

A little salmon oil on my food daily helps reduce skin and coat dryness and promote immune health. OK, a nice bath and a good brushing once in a while does make me feel pretty but don’t send me outside with a wet coat.

Don’t let me eat too much (I can’t believe I’m saying this). A high quality natural or organic pet food – not human food – will help maintain a healthy weight and good energy levels. Ambient humidity is often low, and so be sure my water bowl is always full of fresh water.

Pay attention to my environment.

I’ve heard that antifreeze is sweet, but extremely toxic. Please keep it someplace where I won’t be tempted to try it. Don’t use it to winterize toilets because they are my second most favorite source of water.

Be watchful of slippery and icy surfaces. I enjoy hip and joint supplements that soothe any minor winter aches and pains (I’m not as young as I used to be), but they must taste good.

Nothing quite soothes my soul on cold winter nights like curling up next to the couch with some popcorn on the rug and watching a dog movie with a fire crackling in the background. Wait, how long until it snows again?

a vet and his dogABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Brown holds a Doctorate Degree in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from the University of California at Davis, a Master of Science Degree in Animal Science and Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Physiology from the University of California.  Following discharge from the Air Force as a Captain, he owned and operated the largest veterinary hospital on Cape Cod for almost twenty years. Brown is the past President of the Yavapai Humane Society Board of Directors, Branding Committee Chairman for National Animal Supplement Council and member of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  He writes and lectures frequently on the benefits of natural and organic foods and supplements for animals and lives with his wife and a Golden doodle named Charlotte.

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