Myths About Winter That Could Endanger Your Dog

winter dogs

winter dogsWinter can be a dangerous time for pets. There are a lot of unseen dangers and misunderstood thing about pets that can put them in harms way unintentionally. Let’s debunk these myths so our pups stay warm and safe this winter.

Myth 1: Fleas don’t come in the winter.

Albuquerque does not get cold enough to ever be free of fleas. We have fleas year round. Do not stop your Frontline Flea and Tick prevention treatment, you will be making your pet vulnerable to a flea infestation.

Myth 2: My dog doesn’t need a sweater

Sweaters are not just for fashion, most dogs need an extra layer of warmth to ward off the cold. Some arctic breeds such as huskies and malamutes have thick undercoats designed to keep them warmer in winter months, but short hair breeds get really cold in the winter. Sweaters are a good idea to help keep your dog warmer, but booties are a good idea as well. Booties keep their feet warm and protected from ice and salt.

Myth 3: Dehydration is a Summer Issue

Your dog can get dehydrated any time of year, and it is never any less dangerous. Often dogs get dehydrated in the winter because their water is too cold to drink or it is frozen. Make sure your dog has access to warm fresh water at all times.

Myth 4: My Dog Doesn’t Need to Be Dried Off

Water on your dogs skin takes away their natural body head. It will helps prevent them from being able to heat themselves up when they get cold. This can lead to them getting sick, or getting hypothermia. Using jackets for your dog during wet cold weather can help keep them dryer when they are outside. But if they do get wet, make sure to dry them off with a warm towel. If their body temperature drops a lot, you can warm them up with a warm bath and then dry them off when done.

Myth 5: Pets Store Fat to Keep Warm

We all like to think we fatten up in the winter to keep warm. The real reason most of us fatten up is because we eat the same but get less exercise. This is true of pets too. If your pet lives outdoors, you need to increase their food by 10-15% because they are burning more calories just trying to stay warm, while indoor pets can have their food reduced because the are burning fewer calories because they aren’t exercising as much.

Cold Weather Safety Tips for Your Pets

cold safety albuquerque vet

cold safety albuquerque vetIt looks like Albuquerque may be in for a cold winter. Make sure you follow these safety tips to help keep your pets safe from the cold. Though Albuquerque doesn’t often stay below freezing, it can drop down in the 2o’s and even teens. If you are up in the foothills or on the East side of the mountain, temperatures around 0 are not unheard of. Add in some wind chill and it can be deadly for pets.

Cold Weather Tips for Indoor Pets

  • If it is below freezing, you should only let your dogs outside to go to the bathroom. Cats should be kept in at all times.
  • Remove all salt, ice and mud from your pets paws and fur. Caked mud can keep them cold. Caked on salt should be washed off your pets paws. The salt can dry out their pads and cause cracking of the pad which can lead to infection. Putting booties on your pet can prevent any salt, sand, ice, or mud from building up on their feet.
  • You can put petroleum jelly on your pets paws to help protect their feet from the ice and salt. It easily wipes off when they come home.
  • Keep your pet bed in a warm area of the house, avoid cold or drafty areas. You don’t like to sleep with a draft and neither do they.
  • You may want to reduce their food in the winter to prevent weight gain. Talk to your Albuquerque vet about issues with reduced exercise and weight gain during the winter.

Cold Weather Tips for Outdoor Pets

  • Provide your dog with a dog house so they can get a break from the cold or wind. You can put in a nice bed, some blankets, or straw to help keep it warm in the doghouse.  Make sure you read our blog about insulating your dog house, as Albuquerque law requires that you insulate your dog houses.
  • Indoor pets often need to have their food intake reduced in the winter because they don’t get as much exercise cooped up inside. Outdoor pets need more because they burn more calories just trying to stay warm.
  • Regularly check for frostbite on your pets paws and ears.
  • Give them fresh water regularly and remove any ice from their water bowl. We recommend getting an insulated water bowl or a heated water bowl.
  • Always check your car engine for your cat. Cats love to sleep where it is warm and often that is inside the engine compartment. If you start your car with your cat inside the engine compartment it could kill your cat.
  • Watch out for hypothermia in your pet: weak pulse, lethargy, dilated pupils, decreased heart rate, extreme shivering, pale or blue gums, body temperature below 95 degrees, unconsciousness, coma.

If you are concerned about your pet’s health and the cold weather, talk to your Albuquerque vet.