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Winter is right around the corner! Does your dog love the winter wonderland or would he rather cuddle up on the couch under a cozy blanket? Either way, you must be prepared to protect him when he ventures out into the elements.
- Don't overfeed your dog during the winter. Although dogs are in need of an extra layer during the winter season…make sure it comes from a coat, and not a fat layer. Unless your dog lives outdoors during the winter, he or she often needs no additional calories during the winter chill. Cold temperatures often bring on lazy behaviors and actually the need for LESS calories. Be attentive to your dog's activity level and adjust his calories accordingly. Always feed your dog a high quality natural dog food to insure a healthy coat and good energy for the cold winter months.
- Keep your dog hydrated. Dogs can dehydrate just as quickly in the winter as summer. Although many dogs eat snow, it is not an adequate substitute for fresh water. If your dog has a water bowl outdoors, check it often and break ice that may form on top.
- Let's talk temperature! If it is too cold for you to stand at the door without your coat, it is probably too cold for your dog to be out without a coat. Some dog breeds have dense undercoats that help protect them against very cold temperatures…but most dogs should have a coat to help them deal with Jack Frost. If getting your dog a coat makes you think about poodles in pink fur, don't distress! Coats are not just about fashion; there are many functional, non-couture coats available! Coats will not prevent frostbite on the ears, feet or tail…so don't keep your dog out too long in freezing temperatures.
- Take precaution when playing. Although your dog is likely to be having a great time outdoors, take frequent indoor breaks for water and warming up and don't ever stay out too long. If you are walking or playing in unfamiliar areas, keep your dog close. It is easy for them to venture onto unsafe ground….for example, some ponds and lakes are small and can be hidden by snow and ice and pose hazards to unsuspecting frolicking dogs.
- Provide extra bedding and warmth for your dog. In addition to limiting your dog's time outdoors on cold days, you must also provide warm indoor shelter. Place your dog's bed in a warm spot; away from drafts, cold tile or uncarpeted floors.
- Protect your dog from burns. Dogs will often seek heat during the cold winter weather by snuggling too close to heating sources. Avoid space heaters and lamps and place baseboard radiator covers to avoid unnecessary burns. Fireplaces also pose a major threat and a pet-proof system should be used to keep your heat-seeking pal out of harms way! \Groom your dog. Your dog needs a clean, well-groomed coat to keep him properly insulated. This is especially important if your dog lives outdoors. It is important to choose natural, detergent-free grooming products that will not strip your dog's skin and coat of essential oils that help protect them against the winter elements. After bathing, dry your dog adequately, especially before allowing him outdoors.
- Protect your dog's feet. Dogs walk through snow, slush, salt and chemicals and are very likely to sustain an injury to their foot pads unless protected. Although doggie booties may sound a little corny, they can prevent painful injuries. If you don't want to invest in booties, place thick socks on each paw and connect the top of each sock with a mitten keeper over the dogs shoulder and hips. If booties absolutely don't work for your dog, clean your dog's feet every time he comes into the house. Use warm water and clean between the toes to remove all debris and salt. Apply a small amount of a natural moisturizer or salve every day to keep the pads from cracking. Avoid using any chemical ice-melting compounds or rock salt on your sidewalks or driveways that your dog may contact.
- Shovel and clear the snow! Snow can be a lot of fun but also dangerous for your dog. Snow piled near fences pose escape hazards that even well trained dogs often can't resist. Keep snow cleared away from fences to prevent your dog from climbing over. Snow and ice often accumulate on rooftops and if the sun is out or as temperatures rise, this accumulation can fall and injure your dog. If you are unable to clear the snow from the roof, keep your dog away from the roof overhang to prevent injury.
- Avoid toxin exposure. With winter comes antifreeze from automobiles. Antifreeze is sweet in taste and dogs will readily lick or drink it. Antifreeze is extremely toxic and just a small amount can be fatal for dogs. Keep your dog out of the garage and off the driveway where they may encounter antifreeze or other harmful chemicals.
- Dogs should NEVER be left in cars unattended, no matter what the season. Freezing cold temperatures are the main concern during the winter. If the car is left running during the winter (especially in the garage), carbon monoxide poisoning is a real threat.
- Special medical needs. Cold weather will often aggravate existing medical conditions in dogs, particularly arthritis. It is very important to maintain an exercise regimen with your arthritic dog, but be mindful of slippery surfaces and make sure your dog has a warm soft resting area to recuperate after activity. Try the addition of a natural glucosamine supplement to lubricate the joints and ease the discomfort of arthritis. Just like people, dogs are more susceptible to other illnesses during the winter weather. Contact your veterinarian if you detect any unusual symptoms in your dog. Remember, never use over the counter medication without the advice of your veterinarian.
Paying special attention to your dog's well-being during the winter season will insure that you both enjoy the Winter Wonderland to its fullest. Holiday Hints...
Watch your doors... we tend to have more Delivery services, company or family coming into our homes over the holidays... watch your pet doesn't slip out... and find trouble! Be Aware that Baking supplies and goodies... can encourage "counter surfing and trash exploration".... Chocolate can have many adverse effects on pets... Don't offer table scraps or bones to your pets... stick to appropriate pet foods.. and avoid dietary disasters!
The pancreas is a V-shaped organ located behind the stomach and the first section of the small intestine, the duodenum. It has two main functions: it aids in metabolism of sugar in the body through the production of insulin, and is necessary for the digestion of nutrients by producing pancreatic enzymes. These enzymes help the body promote the digestion and absorption of nutrients from food. Acute pancreatitis is a sudden onset of pancreatic inflammation.
Multiple factors can contribute to the development of pancreatitis. Certain medications, infections; metabolic disorders including hyperlipidemia (high amounts of lipid in the blood) and hypercalcemia (high amounts of calcium in the blood); obesity; and trauma and shock can be associated with the development of pancreatitis. Middle-aged dogs appear to be at increased risk of developing pancreatitis; as a breed, Schnauzers and Yorkshire terriers appear to be more prone to pancreatitis. Nutrition also plays a role. Dogs with diets high in fat, dogs who have recently gotten in to the trash or have been fed table scraps, or dogs who 'steal' or are fed greasy 'people food' seem to have a higher incidence of the disease. In addition, dogs who have previously had pancreatitis or abdominal surgery appear to be more at risk.
Common symptoms of the acute form of pancreatitis in dogs include a very painful abdomen, abdominal distention, lack of appetite, depression, dehydration, a 'hunched up' posture, vomiting, diarrhea and yellow, greasy stool. Fever often accompanies these symptoms. Animals with more severe disease can develop heart arrhythmias, sepsis (body-wide infection), difficulty breathing, and a life-threatening condition called disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), which results in multiple hemorrhages. If the inflammation is severe, organs surrounding the pancreas could be 'autodigested' by pancreatic enzymes released from the damaged pancreas and become permanently damaged.
Here are some tips
for keeping your pets out of danger during the holiday season.
Be careful how you deck your halls!
The holiday season is generally a time of family togetherness in which even our pets participate. One's thoughts generally are far from thoughts of injury; however, we must be aware of some important seasonal hazards in order to insure a happy holiday season.
No Alcoholic beverages No Chocolate (baker's, semi-sweet, milk chocolate)
No Coffee (grounds, beans, chocolate covered espresso beans)
No Moldy or spoiled foods No Onions, onion powder
No Fatty foods No Salt No Yeast dough
Use care with Hot barbeque utensils, grease and tools.
HAZARDS AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE
Christmas tree water may contain fertilizers, which, if ingested, can cause stomach upset. Stagnant tree water can be breeding grounds for bacteria, which can also lead to vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea, if ingested.
Electric cords- Avoid animal exposure to electric cords. If they were chewed, they could electrocute your pet. Cover up or hide electric cords, never let your pet chew on them. These are also tempting to cats who like to play with string as well as to puppies who are teething and interested in chewing. If a pet bites through an electrical cord, it could result in a severe burn to the tongue which causes the pet's lung to fill with fluid, causing respiratory distress. This is also an emergency requiring immediate veterinary attention.
Ribbons or tinsel
These are of special interest to playful cats and kittens who see these materials as toys (or prey) to be chased, pounced upon, chewed or swallowed. While chasing and pouncing pose no health threats, chewing and swallowing do, as these strings or "linear foreign bodies" can catch in the GI tract, leading to bunching of intestine as the body tries in vain to move the string or ribbon through. This is a life-threatening condition requiring surgery for correction. Supervise animals who play with string closely.
Batteries contain corrosives. If ingested they can cause ulceration to the mouth, tongue, and the rest of the gastrointestinal tract.
Glass ornaments can cut the tissues of the gastrointestinal tract if ingested.
Keep all prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs out of the reach of your pets, preferably in closed cabinets. Pain killers, cold medicines, anti-cancer, drugs, antidepressants, vitamins, and diet pills are common examples of human medication that could be potentially lethal even in small dosages. One regular-strength ibuprofen tablet (200mg) can cause bleeding stomach ulcers in a 10-pound dog. Remind holiday guests to store their medications safely as well.
During the holidays, many veterinary clinics have limited office hours. In some cases, pet owners try to medicate their animals without their veterinarian's advice. Never give your animal any medications unless under the directions of veterinarian. Many medications that are used safely in humans can be deadly when used inappropriately. Less than one regular strength acetaminophen tablet (325mg) can be dangerous to a dog/cat weighing as little as 7lbs.. and depending on the product could cause harm to a 70 lb pet.
Antifreeze has a pleasant taste. Unfortunately, very small amounts can be lethal. As little as one teaspoon of antifreeze can be deadly to a cat; less than four teaspoons can be dangerous to a 10-pound dog. Thoroughly clean up any spills, store antifreeze in tightly closed containers and store in secured cabinets. Automotive products such as gasoline, oil and antifreeze should be stored in areas that are inaccessible to your pets. Propylene glycol is a safer form of antifreeze. Low Tox brand antifreeze contains propylene glycol and is recommended to use in pet households. If you think your pet has consumed antifreeze, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (1-888-4-ANI-HELP) right away!
Liquid potpourris are popular household fragrances commonly used during the holiday season. Pets are often exposed to liquid potpourri by direct ingestion from simmer pots or spills, or by rubbing against leaky bottles or simmer pots containing the potpourri, or from spilling the containers upon themselves. Oral exposures result following grooming. Exposure of pets to some types of liquid potpourris can result in severe oral, dermal and ocular damage.
Ice melting products can be irritating to skin and mouth. Depending on the actual ingredient of the ice melt and the quantity, signs of ingestion would include excessive drooling, depression, vomiting or even electrolyte imbalances. Paw licking may be enough to make your pet very sick!
Rat and mouse killers are used more commonly during colder weather. When using rat and mouse bait, place the products in areas that are inaccessible to your companion animals. These products can cause severe blood clotting issues and injesting a small amount may be lethal to your pet.
Holiday Food Items That Could Cause Problems For Your Pet
Keep pets out of the kitchen during the hustle and bustle of the season. The last thing you want is for someone you love to get underfoot and get burned from spillage. Please, Resist the urge to feed your pets People food treats !
We all like to include our pets in Holiday meals along with the rest of the family, but try to keep in mind that sudden rich diet changes are likely to upset a pet's stomach. Vomiting and diarrhea are not uncommon. If leftovers are of an especially fatty nature, the pancreas may become inflamed and overloaded. This condition is serious and generally requires hospitalization and IV fluids.
Many people do not realize that chocolate can be a poison. Unsweetened baking chocolate carries a much higher dose of the toxin "theobromine" than does milk chocolate, but even normal milk chocolate can be dangerous; a small dog sharing candy can wind up in big trouble. Clinical signs of chocolate poisoning include hyper-excitability, nervousness, vomiting, and diarrhea and death.
ALWAYS Be Prepared !!!! Your animal may become poisoned in spite of your best efforts to prevent it. You should keep telephone numbers for your veterinarian, local urgent care / emergency veterinary service, and the
Center (1-888-4 ANI-HELP) in a convenient location.
If you suspect that your pet has ingested something poisonous, seek medical attention immediately.
Blue Ridge Veterinary Associates 540-338-7387
Center (fee based service)
URGENT CARE AT BRVA
OPEN 24/7 365 days a year
540 338 7387