15 Winter Care Tips For Your Dog

Many dog owners live with the misconception that because their pets have a coat of fur, they can tolerate the cold better than humans. This isn’t necessarily the case. Like us, these fur-coated creatures are used to the warmth of indoor shelter and cold weather can be as hard on them as it is on us humans. Whatever your viewpoint on winter, one thing remains certain: it’s a time when our beloved pets need a little extra care.

Preventing Winter Health Risks

We have 15 winter care tips to keep in mind as you explore the winter landscape with your faithful four-legged friend. But first … let’s talk about two serious cold weather conditions that you should take care to prevent.

Frostbite

Frostbite begins when the dog’s body gets cold. The body automatically pulls blood from the extremities to the center of the body to stay warm. The dog’s ears, paws or tail can get so cold that ice crystals can form in the tissue and damage it. The tricky thing to remember about frostbite is that it’s not immediately obvious. Watch for signs of pale or grey skin; the skin may also turn hard and cold. As frostbitten areas warm, they can be extremely painful. Severely frostbitten skin will eventually turn black and slough off.

Hypothermia

A second serious winter weather concern is hypothermia. This occurs when a dog spends too much time in the cold, gets wet in cold temperatures or when dogs with poor health or circulation are exposed to cold. In mild cases, the dog will shiver; ears and feet may grow cold. As hypothermia progresses, she may show signs of depression, lethargy, and weakness. As the condition worsens, her muscles will stiffen, her heart and breathing rates slow down, and she will not respond to stimuli. Severe hypothermia is life threatening.

Preventing your dog from frostbite and hypothermia is essential, so learn how to recognize the signs that your dog needs to come indoors to warm up.

Is your dog cold?

If it’s too cold for you to stand at the door without your coat, it’s probably too cold for your dog too, so pay attention to his behavior while he’s outdoors.

If you notice your dog whining, shivering or appearing anxious, or he stops playing and seems to be looking for places to burrow, then it’s time to bring him in.

15 Ways to Protect Your Dog in Winter

1. Let’s talk temperature!

Some dog breeds are blessed with thick fur that keeps them warm naturally, even in very cold temperatures, but dogs with thin coats may need to wear a sweater or coat when out for winter walks. A good coat should reach from the neck to the base of the tail and also protect the belly. But remember that coats will not prevent frostbite on the ears, feet or tail … so even with a cozy coat, don’t keep your short haired dog out too long in freezing temperatures.

2. Go outside when the sun shines

If your dog feels the cold, try to walk him in the late morning or early afternoon hours when temperatures are a little warmer, and avoid early morning or late evening walks. Spend time playing outdoors while it’s sunny; sunshine brings the added benefit of providing both you and your pet with vitamin D. Play fetch with toys, not sticks, which can cause choking and other injuries. So, if your dog likes to chew and chase, pack a Frisbee, ball or other safe toy and play together in the sun.

3. Indoor pets are happiest

Our family pets need to be indoors with us. The happiest dogs are taken out frequently for walks and exercise but live inside the rest of the time. Don’t leave pets outdoors alone when the temperature drops. A good rule of thumb is to go out with them and when you’re ready to come in, they probably will be too.

4. Cozy bedding

In addition to limiting your dog’s time outdoors on cold days, don’t let your pooch sleep on a cold floor in winter. Choosing the right bedding is vital to ensure your dog stays warm. Warm blankets can create a snug environment; raised beds can keep your dog off cold tiles or concrete, and heated pet beds can help keep the stiffness out of aging joints. Place your dog’s bed in a warm spot away from drafts, cold tile or uncarpeted floors, preferably in a favorite spot where he sleeps every day so that the area doesn’t feel unfamiliar.

5. Protect your dog from heaters

Dogs will often seek heat during cold winter weather by snuggling too close to heating sources. Avoid space heaters and install baseboard radiator covers to avoid your pet getting burned. Fireplaces also pose a major threat so please make sure you have a pet proof system to keep your heat-seeking pal out of harm’s way!

6. Moisturize

Dry and cold weather can do a number on your pet’s skin. Help prevent dry, flaky skin by adding a skin and coat supplement to his food. Coconut and fish oils are easy foods that can help keep your pet’s skin and coat healthy. If you find your pet’s paws, ears or tail are dry or cracking, you can also apply coconut oil topically as needed.

7. No overfeeding please!

Although dogs may need an extra layer in winter, make sure it comes from a coat and not a layer of fat. Unless your dog lives outdoors during the winter, he usually won’t need any additional calories during the winter chill. Cold temperatures may even bring on lazy behavior and the need for fewer calories. Be attentive to your dog’s activity level and adjust his calories accordingly. A high quality, whole foods, preferably raw meat based diet will help ensure a healthy coat and good energy for the cold winter months.

8. Keep your dog hydrated

Dogs can dehydrate just as quickly in winter as summer. Although many dogs eat snow, it’s not an adequate substitute for fresh water. If your dog spends time outdoors in your yard, make sure he has access to a water bowl, check it often and break ice that forms on top.

9. Groom your dog

Your dog needs a clean, well-groomed coat to keep him properly insulated. This is especially important if your dog spends a lot of time outdoors. After bathing, dry your dog thoroughly, especially before allowing him outside

10. Paw care is a must

Just as we tend to develop foot cracks in winter, dogs can also suffer from cracked pads. If your dog has furry feet, trim the hair that grows between his pads to prevent ice buildup between the pads. Winter salt on city sidewalks can also burn your dog’s pads and is toxic, so after walks around the neighborhood, rinse or wipe your dog’s paws to remove any salt – you don’t want him licking it off. If your dog shows signs of discomfort when walking outside on frozen or salted surfaces, consider using dog booties to protect his paws

11. Snow removal

Snow can be a lot of fun but also dangerous for your dog. Snow piled near fences offers your dog escape routes that even well trained dogs often can’t resist. When you clear snow in your yard, pile it 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 slide and injure your dog. If you can’t clear the snow from the roof, keep your dog away from the roof overhang to prevent injury.

12. Watch where your dog plays

Although your dog is likely to be having a great time outdoors, take frequent indoor breaks for water and warming and don’t ever stay out too long. If you’re walking or playing in unfamiliar areas, keep your dog close. It’s easy for him to venture onto unsafe surfaces such as frozen ponds or lakes. These may be covered in snow and not easily visible.

13. Avoid exposure to toxins

With winter comes antifreeze. Antifreeze tastes sweet and dogs (as well as some children!) will readily lick or drink it. Antifreeze is extremely toxic and just a small amount can be fatal. Keep your dog out of the garage and off the driveway where she may encounter antifreeze or other harmful chemicals.

14. NEVER leave your dog unattended in the car, no matter what the season

Just as cars can get dangerously hot in summer, freezing cold temperatures are equally dangerous for your dog in winter. Leaving the car running involves additional risks, including carbon monoxide poisoning if the car is parked in a garage. Leave your dog at home when you go out to run errands.

15. Special care for seniors

Cold weather will often aggravate existing medical conditions in dogs, particularly arthritis. It’s 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 rest area to recuperate after activity. If you don’t already give your senior dog a natural joint supplement to lubricate the joints and ease the discomfort of arthritis, you may want to consider adding one in winter. Just like people, dogs are more susceptible to other illnesses during winter weather.

Harsh winter weather brings a wide variety of concerns to responsible dog owners. Bitter cold, numbing wetness or biting winds can cause discomfort for that special dog in your life. Paying special attention to your loyal friend’s wellbeing during the winter season will insure that you both enjoy the season to the fullest.

And don’t forget that winter cuddles with your canine buddy are a great way for everybody to keep warm!

http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/15-winter-care-tips-for-your-dog/

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A step by step guide to cutting a puppy’s nails

Puppies aren’t known for staying still for very long and if you’re trying to give their nails are trim they can seem impossibly small to cut without causing them harm. It’s a task that should form part of every puppy’s grooming routine to prevent their claws from tearing, splitting, or affecting your puppy’s gait as they run around.

Luckily, learning how to trim your puppy’s nails is more than manageable with our easy step-by-step guide.

 

puppy-nails.png#asset:8087Once you’ve followed the guide through a few times, both you and your pup will be used to the whole experience and experts in how to cut puppy claws in no time at all. It might be stressful for the both of you at first but building it into their grooming routine now means they’ll quickly get used to it before they reach maturity. We promise wrestling with a wriggly puppy is much easier than with a fully-grown dog!

When and how often do puppy nails need cutting?

You can start to trim your puppy’s nails from around six weeks and it’s advisable that you do. Even if there isn’t much there to cut, it’ll get them accustomed to the routine and means that by the time you need to give them a proper trim, they’ll be used to sitting still for you. It might be tempting to wait until their six months old but it can mean that it’s harder to get them into a routine.

When you bring home your furry bundle of joy, expect to be trimming their claws once every three to four weeks to keep them short and prevent mishaps. How fast your puppy’s nails grow will depend on the breed and how much time they spend outside. Pups that go for regular walks on concrete, for example, will have their nails naturally worn down and they won’t need trimming as frequently.

The complete guide to clipping puppy nails

Clipping puppy nails doesn’t have to be a troublesome or even a time-consuming task. In fact, with our complete guide, it’ll be a part of your routine that’s complete in record time with minimal fuss.

1. Understand puppy nails

Before you even start looking at how to cut a puppy’s nails, make sure you understand how they’re made up. Unlike trimming nails on a human, a dog’s claws have tissue growing in part of the claw, known as the quick. If you accidently cut the quick, it’ll bleed a lot and hurt your puppy. If your pup has light coloured nails you’ll likely be able to see the quick if you look carefully, but it’s more difficult with darker nails.
While painful, cutting your puppy’s quick doesn’t cause any lasting damage but be sure to cuddle, fuss, and reassure them if it does happen. Styptic powder should also be used to prevent excessive bleeding.

2. Gather your equipment

You don’t want to prepare your puppy ready for their nails to be trimmed only to find you don’t have everything you need to hand. You should have a good pair of nail clippers, a file and some styptic powder to hand just in case.

3. Cutting puppy nails

Hold your puppy’s paw gently but firmly and trim the tip of each claw one at a time. Go slowly and keep talking to your puppy to keep them calm.

If you can see the quick through your puppy’s nails, cut just below the pink line. If you can’t see the quick then the general rule of thumb is to trim just below where the nail starts to curve. If you’re worried, start by trimming a little at a time initially.

4. Finish with a file

If you choose, you can finish the nail clipping process with a quick nail file, ensuring that it’s smooth and doesn’t have any sharp edges that could catch. Some pet owners choose to use a file over trimming if their dog is afraid of clippers or isn’t comfortable with the process. However, it’s far more time consuming and inefficient to rely on filing alone.

5. Heap on the praise

Once you’ve finished trimming their nails, make sure you give your puppy lots of praise and a treat.

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The professional option

Of course, if you’re really worried about clipping your puppy’s claws, you can turn to a professional and get them trimmed at the vets or by a groomer. You can even get them to show you how to do it so next time you’ll be well prepared for cutting your dog’s nails at home.

Tips for cutting puppy nails

If you’re still worried about clipping your puppy’s nails, these handy tips can help make the process smoother:

  • Get puppies used to the process early – as soon as you can, get your puppy used to sitting still and letting you touch their paws. The less they fidget the easier the task will be
  • Trim the fur on their feet – keeping the fur around your puppy’s paws trimmed gives you a better view of where you’re cutting and reduces irritants sticking to their delicate feet
  • Take a break – you don’t need to clip all your puppy’s claws in one go. If either you or your pup is getting irritable take a break and come back to trimming later
  • Offer a reward – make a fuss if your puppy and offer them a treat after you’ve finished trimming their nails. They’ll be more relaxed next time and are more likely to behave in anticipation of the reward

Products for trimming your puppy’s claws

If you’re looking for some tools to make your cutting your puppy’s nails easier, choose:

Guillotine clippers – make it easier to slice through the nails without crushing them. With a retractable blade that’s activated by squeezing the handle, they’re tough enough to cut through even a large dog’s claws. They’ll typically come in multiple sizes, allowing you to match them to the size of your puppy

Rotary sander – great for smoothing the edge of a trimmed nail once it has been clipped, although some dogs dislike the sound of them. You’ll need to replace the parts frequently but they’re a good option if you’re not keen on clipping

Styptic power – keep this on hand just in case you cut the quick. You can pick up this handy powder at most pet shops and vets.

https://groomarts.com/student-advice/cutting-puppy-nails

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How rawhide chews are made

THE MOST DANGEROUS PET CHEW EVER: RAWHIDE!

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http://www.mytalk1071.com/rawhide-chew-toys-made/

How can one of the most popular chew sticks on the planet be so dangerous for your pets, you ask? I mean, most dogs chew on rawhide for hours on end, and not only does it keep them busy, but they seem to last forever.

Well if you understood what it took to make this toxic “raw” leather stick, you would quickly understand what the problem is.

Aside from the horror stories circulating all over social media these days, of pets needing emergency surgery after consuming rawhide, the majority of pet parents today, especially the newbies, believe that this chew is some sort of dried up meat stick. Let me debunk that myth right away!

A rawhide stick is not the by-product of the beef industry nor is it made of dehydrated meat. Rather, rawhide is the by-product of the “Leather Industry”, so theoretically it is a leather chew. Sounds awesome, right?

“Producing rawhide begins with the splitting of an animal hide, usually from cattle. The top grain is generally tanned and made into leather products, while the inner portion, in its “raw” state, goes to the dogs.” TheBark.com

So, how does this leather, which is conveniently rolled up into pretty shapes, actually get made into those rawhide chews?

Follow along my friends and I will enlighten you on how this hide travels through a leathery process where it transforms from hide to a not-so beautiful, colorful, chew stick. Here is a paraphrased tutorial that was explained by the whole dog journal several years back:

STEP 1: Normally, cattle hides are shipped from slaughterhouses to tanneries for processing. These hides are then treated with a chemical bath to help “preserve” the product during transport to help prevent spoilage.

(No one wants to purchase a black, spoiled rawhide stick!)

Once at the tannery: the hides are soaked and treated with either an ash-lye solution or a highly toxic recipe of sodium sulphide liming. This process will help strip the hair and fat that maybe attached to the hides themselves.

(No, no one wants to see a hairy hide…)

Next on this glorious journey, these hides are then treated with chemicals that help “puff” the hide, making it easier to split into layers.

The outer layer of the hide is used for goods like car seats, clothing, shoes, purses, etc. But, it’s the inner layer that is needed to make the rawhide. (Oh and other things like gelatin, cosmetics, and glue as well!)

STEP 2: Now that we have the inner layer of the hide, it’s time to go to the post-tannery stage! Hides are washed and whitened using a solution of hydrogen peroxide and/or bleach; this will also help remove the smell of the rotten or putrid leather. Bonus!
(Research also shows that other chemicals maybe used here to help the whitening process if the bleach isn’t strong enough.)

STEP 3: Now it’s time to make these whitened sheets of this “leathery by-product” look delicious! So, here is where the artistic painting process comes in.

“Basted, smoked, and decoratively tinted products might be any color (or odor) underneath the coating of (often artificial) dyes and flavors. They can even be painted with a coating of titanium oxide to make them appear white and pretty on the pet store shelves.” – whole-dog-journal.com

“…the Material Safety Data Sheet reveals a toxic confection containing the carcinogen FD&C Red 40, along with preservatives like sodium benzoate. But tracking the effects of chemical exposure is nearly impossible when it’s a matter of slow, low-dose poisoning.”– thebark.com

Ok, now that these hides have been painted, it’s time for the final process.

STEP 4: Getting it to last forever!

Because the FDA does not consider these chews to be food, really it’s a free for all when it comes to the manufacturers of these leather strips, and the products they may want to add to these chews, to get them to last forever. Any sort of glue can be added here to get these bad boys to never come apart.

When tested: Lead, arsenic, mercury, chromium salts, formaldehyde, and other toxic chemicals have been detected in raw hides. So it’s safe to say that any sort of glues can be used as well!

Finally, it’s time to package and attach all the glorious marketing labels to the product.

Check out the fine print warning that’s attached with some of these rawhides:
“Choking or blockages. If your dog swallows large pieces of rawhide, the rawhide can get stuck in the esophagus or other parts of the digestive tract. Sometimes, abdominal surgery is needed to remove them from the stomach or intestines. If it isn’t resolved, a blockage can lead to death.“

(Oh, how lovely…)

And there it is! It’s now ready to be shipped to store shelves where it can be purchased for our loving animal companions.

How do proactive veterinarians feel about these chews?

Here is world-renowned veterinarian Doctor Karen Becker’s take on the matter:

“The name ‘rawhide’ is technically incorrect. A more accurate name would be processed-hide, because the skin isn’t raw at all. But the term “rawhide” has stuck.

Rawhide chews start out hard, but as your dog works the chew it becomes softer, and eventually he can unknot the knots on each end and the chew takes on the consistency of a slimy piece of taffy or bubble gum. And by that time your dog cannot stop working it — it becomes almost addictive.

At this point, there’s no longer any dental benefit to the chew because it has turned soft and gooey, and, in fact, it has become a choking and intestinal obstruction hazard.“

P.S. Ready for the jaw dropper?

An investigation by Humane Society International stated in their report, “In a particularly grisly twist, the skins of brutally slaughtered dogs in Thailand are mixed with other bits of skin to produce rawhide chew toys for pet dogs. Manufacturers told investigators that these chew toys are regularly exported to and sold in U.S. stores.” –

http://www.mytalk1071.com/rawhide-chew-toys-made/

Written by Planet Paws

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Dog first aid kit when you go for walks – what should you carry

What would you do if you’re taking your dog for a walk in the countryside, and he suddenly hurts himself and begins limping, would you know how to treat him? You would never go camping or hiking yourself, without a first aid kit, as you never know when something unforeseen could happen and you need emergency first aid. The same accident may happen to your furry friend, so always be prepared for an emergency situation by carrying a basic first aid kit for dogs with you on any walk. These supplies may help to comfort your dog until expert help arrives, and in some circumstances, may even save your dog’s life.

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Probable common dog injuries

Below are several types of common injuries that your pet may sustain while out walking. It’s impossible to predict what type of injury will result, some may even need to be seen by a Vet as soon as possible.

  • Sprained knee and wrist joints
  • Swallowing foreign objects
  • Being hit by a motor vehicle
  • A bite from another dog
  • Contact with toxic and poisonous substances
  • Broken or torn claw nails
  • Dehydration or heat stroke
  • Injuries to the eyes

 

There are many medical items that you would normally have in a full first aid kits that you would use in your house or vehicle, but when out walking, obviously there are weight limits to what you are able to carry.

Portable First Aid Kit Contents

  • Water – this is very useful for cleaning and treating minor wounds. It’s also useful for cooling an overheated dog, soaking a paw or rehydrating a pet.
  • Gloves – An essential item for the kit, when dealing with either canine or human incidences
  • Tweezers – perfect for removing splinters from paws and pads or to remove ticks
  • Scissors – useful for cutting fur, splints, bandages and tape
  • Antiseptic wipes – handy for cleaning your hands after giving treatment, not for using on the dog wounds
  • Bandages and tape – it’s always a good plan to have a couple of bandages for any wound eventuality, until you can get your dog some medical treatment
  • Piriton – immediate treatment for any bee and wasp stings
  • Manuka Honey – a natural remedy which can be applied to any type of infection or wound, burns or cuts to give instant relief.
  • Pet Remedy – This is  a great spray for helping to calm your dog down
  • foil blanket – to help keep your doggy warm
  • Plasters – these are for the clumsy human

Of course we wouldn’t consider going anywhere without our mobile phone and credit card, you never know when you might need them, and so make sure your kit has these 2 essential items on the list! When walking with dogs, it’s always advisable to carry a list of contact telephone numbers, for the emergency services, the local vet, and if walking dogs for customers as I do, I always carry the client’s contact numbers in the event of any crisis.

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Your essential first aid kit can always to be used in the first instant to give emergency help to your dog, but always consider that there may be an urgent need to take your pet to the Vet to be checked out as soon as possible. Each year, hundreds of dogs in the UK are involved in medical emergencies; they swallow poisonous substances, suffer from heatstroke, or are involved in road accidents. Knowing what to do in such an emergency may save your dog’s life.

 

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Dogs and water – The do’s and don’ts

Summer is a great time to get wet and your dog will no doubt love the opportunity too, but there are certain dos and dont’s when it comes to keeping your dog safe around water.

Here’s a heads up on the dos and dont’s you should be thinking about this summer when it comes to your dog and water.

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Do

Keep a fresh water supply – First and foremost, you need to give your dog careful consideration when it comes to keeping him hydrated during the warmer weather. Make sure your dog has access to fresh water at all times.

Be aware of the type of water your dog is swimming in – Lakes, rivers, pools and the sea can contain stagnant, polluted or treated water that if ingested by your dog can make them ill, so be mindful of the type of water your dog is playing in. A summer hazard which can make your dog very seriously ill is Blue Green Algae tends to flourish slightly later on in the Season – but it will affect many ponds.

Clean your dog after a swim – Regardless the type of water your dog is playing in, its good practice to rinse your dog down with clean water after a swim and give them a dry off, paying close attention to the ears to reduce the chances of ear infections.

Keep an eye on your dog’s stamina – Your four-legged friend will inevitably be eager to play regardless of how tired he feels. But in and around water you should watch their stamina levels, particularly with older dogs, and give them plenty of time to rest between playing.

Don’t

Force your dog into the water – While some dogs thrive in water and love nothing more than thrashing around in it, not all do and despite your best encouragement they may never like water. You should never force your dog to go in the water and also never assume that they can swim.

Leave your dog unattended near water – Under no circumstances should you let your dog out of your sight when you’re near water. This is particularly pertinent, if they’re swimming in the water, as they can easily tire or get into difficulties.

Ignore warning signs – In most areas with water, such as beaches and swimming lakes there will be warning notices in place to alert you of strong currents and tides, crumbling river banks, extreme weather warnings or other danger areas. Always look out for these signs before you let your dog loose in the water.

Ultimately keeping your dog safe around water is about being sensible, responsible and aware. If you know there’s a strong current, deep water or sliding river banks, keep your dog on a lead to stop them from going in. They can still have plenty of fun out of the water and enjoy it another time when it’s safe.

Finchley Dog Walker

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