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Winter Pet Care Tips

If you are anything like me and my pet, you love the colder months of the year. It's an excuse to wrap yourself up in a blanket and sip hot cocoa by the fireplace while snuggling with your puppy. It's also a fun time to be outside and play in the snow with your pup. 

But, the winter season does bring pet health concerns and risks for both dogs and cats. Before you continue your daily routine with your pet, read these pet care tips to prevent winter health issues. 

Frostbite

Frost bite sets in when the body gets cold, too cold to be outside. To stay warm, the tail, ears and paws will start to suffer, if out in the cold for too long. Although frostbite may not be immediately obvious, it can have damaging effects to dog parts of the body. Watch for signs of frostbite in dogs including: grey skin and areas of the body that now appear to be painful. 

Hypothermia

If the dog spends too much time in mushy, wet snow, the dog risks hypothermia. Dogs with Hypothermia appear weak and may shiver uncontrollably. As Hypothermia progresses, dogs may show signs of lethargy and depression. Dogs will need to be wiped down with a clean towel and get inside.

Ticks

Although tick activity is most common during the warmer, summer months, species of ticks are still out-and-about in woody and grassy areas. To keep warm, ticks hide underneath logs and leaves until they can find a warm-blooded mammal (dog, human) to feed. After your dog is through playing in the snow, thoroughly check for ticks. Tick disease, including Lyme Disease, remains an on-going concern. 

Hydration

Same as in summer, just because your dog isn't visibly sweating, doesn't mean he/she isn't dehydrated. Be sure to keep your dog's water dish full of fresh drinking water. Dehydration in dogs can cause them to become weak, dizzy and nauseating.

Dog Grooming

As dogs play in the snow, and the dog hair gets wet, the hair can become matted. Properly grooming dogs will keep them well insulated in the cold weather. 

Care About Paws

Paws are the dogs footpads; and if they get too cold, they may start to crack - similar to our knuckles. This action is quite painful for dogs and can be uncomfortable for many weeks. Consider dog booties to protect the paws and avoid walking in areas where there are huge build-ups of snow or ice.

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