How You and You Pet Can Cope With Colder Weather

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With the United States starting to deal with colder temperatures. it’s a good time to remind clients how they can keep their pets safe during cold weather. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) offers these tips:

Know the pet’s limits. A pet’s tolerance for cold temperatures varies from pet to pet based on their coat thickness, body fat stores, activity level, and health. Owners should be aware of their pet’s tolerance for cold weather, and adjust accordingly. Recommend that they shorten their dog’s walks in very cold weather to protect owner and dog from weather-associated health risks.

Tread carefully. Arthritic and elderly pets may have more difficulty walking on snow and ice, and be more prone to slipping and falling. Short-legged pets may become cold faster because their bellies and bodies are more likely to come into contact with snow-covered ground.

Factor in other health problems. Consider the pet’s history. Pets with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances (such as Cushing’s disease) may have a harder time regulating their body temperature, and may be more susceptible to problems from temperature extremes.

Consider the coat. Long-haired or thick-coated dogs tend to be more cold-tolerant, but are still at risk in cold weather. Short-haired pets feel the cold faster because they have less protection,

Pause for paws. Stop and check the dog’s paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury or damage. Look for cracked paw pads or bleeding. During a walk, a sudden lameness may be due to an injury or may be due to ice accumulation between her toes.
Keep it clean. During wintry walks, a dog’s feet, legs and belly may pick up deicers, antifreeze, or other potentially toxic chemicals. Owners should wipe down (or wash) their pet’s feet, legs and belly when they get back inside to remove these chemicals and reduce the risk that their dog will be poisoned after she licks them off her feet or fur.

Or just stay inside. It’s a common belief that dogs and cats are more resistant than people to cold weather because of their fur, but that’s not true. Cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside during extreme cold weather.
So until the weather breaks, maybe the best idea is for both owner and pet to snuggle up under a thick blanket, and catch the second season of the Crown.

photo source: Pexels
source: AHHA

Safety Tips To Keep Your Pet Warm This Coming Winter Season

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As fall is coming to an end, it is time for pet owners to prepare their pets for cold winter temperatures.
Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer. Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws. To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, please heed the following advice from our experts:
– Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow balls from between his foot pads.
– Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t neglect the hair between his toes. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
– Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.

– Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.
– Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.
– Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
– Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.

– Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
– Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.
photo source: Pixabay
source: ASPCA

What You Need to Know About the Long-term Effects of Pet Obesity

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Did you know you may be literally killing your pet with kindness? That’s right, those daily treats you give your pet may give the illusion that all is well, but the reality is that the extra treats and the resulting extra weight are causing lasting damage to your pet’s internal organs, bones, and joints — some of which can never be remedied even with a change in diet and exercise.

Worried yet? According to veterinarians across the U.S., more obese pets than ever are showing up in their clinics and the trend does not appear to be slowing. It is not surprising that excess weight can take as much of a toll on an animal’s body as it does on a human’s body. While some of the effects of obesity can be reversed through attentive diet changes and increased physical activity, there is some damage that can only be mitigated by the change of habits. Some damage will remain for life, and the longer the excess weight is on the body, the more severe the damage to the body will be.

Research is the first step toward making the changes that will grant you and your pet longer lives in which you can enjoy each other’s company. Here then, are some ways to identify whether your pet is overweight or obese, along with a few beginning steps on how to reverse the damage before it’s too late.

What Kinds of Changes Should You Look Out For?

Many pet owners will not notice their dog or cat has been gradually putting on extra weight until the animal starts slowing down significantly. More often it is the animal’s regular groomer or veterinarian that will notice your pet’s physical changes. To do a check on your pet, feel around its midsection while your pet is standing. The ribs and spine should be easy to feel, and on most pets there should be a tucked in, or slight hourglass shape to the waist. If you cannot easily feel your dog or cat’s ribs or spine, and the tucked-in waist has thickened considerably enough to give the animal a more tubular shape, it is time for you to consult with your veterinarian about a weight loss regimen for your pet.

What Harm Can a Few Pounds Do?

According to recent findings by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), more than 45 percent of dogs and 58 percent of cats can be classified as overweight or obese. A gain of even a pound or two of additional fat on some dogs and cats can place significant stress on the body.

Some of the conditions that can occur as a result of excess weight are:

– Exercise intolerance, decreased stamina
– Respiratory compromise (breathing difficulty)
– Heat intolerance
– Hypertension (high blood pressure)
– Diabetes or insulin resistance
– Liver disease or dysfunction
– Osteoarthritis (lameness)
– Increased surgical/anesthetic risk
– Lowered immune system function
– Increased risk of developing malignant tumors (cancer)

What Can Be Done to Alleviate the Damage?

In many cultures, the sharing of food is regarded as a loving gesture, but the most loving thing you can do for your overweight pet is to put it on a diet. This is the only way to ensure that your pet will have the best opportunity for a life that is full of activity and good health. Besides, there are lots of healthy treats available, and lots of loving gestures you can share with your pet without worrying about them leading to weight gain. Talk to your veterinarian about a good reduced-calorie food and exercise plan that will specifically benefit your pet’s age, weight and breed, and you will be on your way to getting your pet on the road to recovery before it is too late.

photo source: Pixabay

source: Pixabay

 

 

What’s Are the Most Common Household Toxins for Pets?

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As a pet owner, you want to keep your furry friend safe and healthy, but your pet’s curious nature can sometimes get him into trouble. Animals investigate the world with their mouths and can accidentally ingest poisonous substances.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to advise pet owners about potential pet toxicities. To help you take precautions and ensure your pet stays safe, the ASPCA has compiled a list of the most-frequent offenders, many of which can likely be found in and around your home.

Pets and over-the-counter medications

ADHD medications, antidepressants, and heart medications were most commonly ingested by pets, although your pet can suffer significant side effects from any human medication he eats. Keep all medications, both prescription and over the counter, safely stored inside a medicine cabinet or cupboard or up high where your pet cannot reach them, and ask all your visitors to do the same.

What foods are toxic to pets?

Many foods that are safe for people can be deadly to pets. Keep the following toxic foods away from your beloved companion:

– Chocolate
– Xylitol (often found in sugar-free gum)
– Macadamia nuts
– Grapes and raisins
– Onions
– Garlic
– Alcohol
– Caffeinated drinks
– Raw yeast dough
– Raw or undercooked meat

Never leave food where your pet can reach it, and keep pets out of the kitchen when children are eating to prevent them from gobbling up dropped food.

What about prescription veterinary products?

Prescription animal medications are often flavored to increase palatability, so pets may mistake them for treats and eat more than prescribed. Inquisitive pets may even eat pills that aren’t flavored, so keep all medications out of your pet’s reach. Remember, animals can chew through plastic bottles, so child-proof may not mean pet-proof.

What other household items are dangerous to my pet?

Products such as paint, glue, and cleaning chemicals are often left out on the assumption that pets won’t eat these bad-tasting substances. But sometimes pets lap up liquids because they feel good or have an interesting texture. Household products can contain dangerous chemicals, and some household glues expand in the stomach and can cause a life-threatening blockage.

Rodenticides

Products designed to kill rodents are particularly dangerous to pets, who may be tempted to eat the tasty bricks, granules, or pellets left out for mice and rats. Rodenticides kill rodents by causing internal bleeding, high calcium levels, brain swelling, or toxic gas production. Never put rat bait out where your pet can find it, and keep your pet confined to your yard to prevent him from eating your neighbors’ rodenticides.

Insecticides and pets

Ant baits, bug sprays, and foggers can be poisonous to your pet. Read labels to ensure you use these products properly and prevent pets from exposure during and after use. Store all insecticides on high shelves out of a pet’s reach.

Plants toxic to pets

Plants found in flower beds, vegetable gardens, and indoor planters and arrangements can be toxic to pets. Cats, who particularly like to munch on greenery, are sensitive to many plant types, but dogs can also be at risk. A complete list of toxic and nontoxic plants can be found on ASPCA’s website, but the most common toxic plants include:

– Autumn crocus
– Azalea
– Cyclamen
– Daffodils
– Dieffenbachia
– Hyacinth
– Kalanchoe
– Lily of the valley
– Lilies
– Oleander
– Sago palm
– Tulips

If your pet eats leaves, flowers, or stems, take him, along with a plant sample, to your AAHA-accredited veterinarian immediately. Although toxicity signs may not be apparent, removing poisonous material as soon as possible to prevent toxin absorption into the body is vital.

Garden products and pets

Many products used on lawns, gardens, and flower beds can cause toxicity in pets. Fertilizers made from bone meal or blood meal are tempting to pets and can cause pancreatitis, or may clump in the intestines or stomach and cause a blockage. Other fertilizers and herbicides applied to lawns also may contain toxic chemicals.

photo source: Pixabay
source: AAHA

Hot Weather Safety Tips for Pets

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As temperatures rise, everyone (and their pets) flock outside to spend time in the nice weather. But warmer weather can be rough on your pets if you’re not prepared. Hot weather-related conditions like heat stroke and dehydration are more common as temperatures rise, so it’s important to pay attention to the signs and use your judgment if it’s safe for your pet to be outdoors. Here are a few hot weather safety tips for pets.

Keep them cool

When the weather is hot, make sure your pet has plenty of options to stay cool. Cats and dogs only sweat through their paws, so it’s easy for them to overheat. Their primary method of cooling off is through their respiratory tract by panting (especially in dogs). Puppies and kittens have an even harder time self-regulating their temperature. Short-nosed (brachycephalic), overweight, and senior pets are just some of the groups that are at a higher risk of overheating and getting heat stroke.

If you’re spending time outside, set up a resting place in a shaded area, encourage your pets to take breaks when they’re playing, encourage them to rest in a raised bed that allows for air circulation underneath, or allow them to rest comfortably inside while you enjoy the sun.

You can also create frozen treats with a Kong or ice cube mold. It can be as simple as freezing water or broth (without onion or garlic) with yummy treats inside. This also aids in keeping your pet hydrated.

Keep them hydrated

Just like humans, cats and dogs can become dehydrated quickly in hot weather—and even a short amount of time outdoors can cause mild dehydration. Make sure to provide plenty of water around the house and bring water (and a bowl) with you if head outside. You can also boost hydration by feeding them canned food or adding water to dry kibble at each meal.

Watch out for signs that your pet is dehydrated, like:

Less energy
Dry nose or gums
Panting
Loss of appetite

Protect their paws

Walking on hot pavement can cause your pet’s paw pads to burn. If it hurts to touch the pavement with the back of your hand, it’s too hot for your pet’s paws. Try exercising your pet in the early morning or after the sun goes down to minimize the burn risk. If you need to be outside with your pet during the hottest parts of the day, consider investing in booties that will protect their paw pads from burns and blisters. Try to do as much of your walking on grass and dirt, as opposed to sidewalks and asphalt (which can get extremely hot!).

Keep the pests away

Spending time outside exposes your pet to more pests that can cause harm. Fleas and ticks thrive during warm temperatures, as do mosquitoes (which can carry and transmit heartworms to your dogs and cats). Make sure your pet is on a good, broad-spectrum parasite preventative medication. This includes indoor-only pets too, as parasites make their way inside through screens and even on the bottom of your shoes.

By The Zoetis Petcare Team