Pet Cold Weather Tips
Yes, our four-legged furry members do have a fur coat (most of them), but this is not always the only thing they need when the temperature dips. They can be hearty but there are potentially dangerous hazards every pet parent must be aware of. The following are some pet cold weather tips:
- Make sure they are wearing a collar with clearly marked tags and that the microchip is in place and all information associated with it is current.
- Double check that your fence is secure. You also want to make sure you have a strong gate latch, as these are the first to blow open in a gusty storm.
- Be ready for anything, including power outages, blocked roads and closed stores/vet offices. Never let your supply of food and medications get lower than a weeks’ worth.
- Pet proof your interior spaces. Watch for open flames, space heaters and other winter objects that can be a hazard.
- Better yet, bring ‘em in. Cold weather can exacerbate medical conditions such as arthritis and asthma. Visit AVMA.org for more information.
- Keep them on a leash at all times. Paws.org states that more pets are lost in the winter than any other time. They can lose scent trails and/or become disoriented in harsh weather.
- Stay off any ice. Pets will fall through and you will go in after them. It is not safe for either of you.
- Shorter haired pets need a coat. You might also consider one for your senior pet. They have a harder time regulating their temperature.
- Protect their paws and rinse them as soon as you get home. Salt is toxic and they will lick it off of their paws. Make sure all snow that has accumulated between their pads is rinsed off with warm water.
- Cats are known to hide under cars during the cold months. Bang on your hood and look under your car before starting the engine.
- Antifreeze is used in abundance this time of year and pets are attracted to its’ sweet taste. Even a tiny amount can be lethal to your furry family member. Wipe up any spills and keep containers stored where it is not accessible.
- Just as in summer months, never leave a pet alone in the car. It just is not safe!
As in any medical emergency, make sure you call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet is suffering from hypothermia or toxic poisonings. The signs to look for are:
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Lack of appetite
- Extreme thirst
- Dilated pupils
- Weak pulse
- Extreme shivering or slowed movement
This list is not all inclusive, so use your best judgement. As always, contact Gentle Touch Animal Hospital with any questions. firstname.lastname@example.org or 303.691.3720. Visit gentletouchanimalhospital.com for more information on us.
Did you know that some dogs are more prone to ear infections than others? Ear infections in dogs are common. Floppy-eared dogs like Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds, and other long-eared dogs tend to have more ear infections than dogs with upright ears. So do dogs who swim a lot.
In both cases, it’s because they have too much moisture trapped in their ears, leading to formation and growth of bacteria. Fortunately, dog ear infections are easily treatable. Let’s find out the three types of ear infections dogs get, the common reasons for them, and what the symptoms are so you know when to call your vet for an appointment.
What Are the Three Types of Canine Ear Infections?
According to the AKC http://www.akc.org/, “There are three kinds of ear infections—otitis externa, media, and internal—affecting different parts of the canine ear. Otitis externa means that the inflammation affects the layer of cells lining the outer or external portion of the ear canal. Otitis media and interna refer to infections of the middle and inner ear canal, and they are most often are a result of the spread of infection from the external ear. These more advanced cases can be very serious, and could lead to deafness, facial paralysis, or signs of vestibular disease, such as head tilting, circling, and lack of coordination. That’s why it is important to prevent and seek early treatment for ear problems.”
Besides the potential danger, you want your pup to feel better! Ear infections hurt. You know there are different types of ear infections and you know they’re usually (but not always) caused by bacteria, so let’s look at the details.
What Causes Canine Ear Infections?
As mentioned above, dogs like Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds, and other dogs with long ears covering their ear canals are among those who tend to experience ear infections.
Those droopy ears are cute, but there’s a downside.
Those ears are lined with hair which can trap moisture and debris inside of the ear. Plus, because the ears droop down, there isn’t much opportunity for them to “air out.” As you may know, if the ear doesn’t dry out, then bacteria can form. Obviously, that moisture risk includes the swimming dog population too, so if you have a swimmer, then you’re probably familiar with ear infections. In both cases, you can keep the hair trimmed around your dog’s ears and that can help. For swimmers, there are some drying agents on the market for “after swim care”; you can ask your veterinarian for recommendations.
Bacteria are among a few different causes of dog ear infections: “Bacteria are the primary disease-causing agents that lead to infection and consequent inflammation of the middle or inner ear. Other possible disease-causing agents include yeasts such as Malassezia, fungi such as Aspergillus, and ear mites which increase the likelihood of bacterial infection. Alternate causes include trauma to the body, such as from a car accident, the presence of tumors or polyps in the ear, and the presence of foreign objects in the ear.”
As you can see there are occasional reasons why an ear infection wouldn’t be caused by bacteria. Your veterinarian will be able to evaluate and diagnose your dog to understand the cause and recommend a treatment.
Typical Dog Ear Infection Symptoms
If you’re wondering how to recognize if your dog has an ear infection, here is a list of symptoms:
Scratching of the ear or area around the ear
Brown, yellow, or bloody discharge
Odor in the ear
Redness Swelling Crusts or scabs on inside of the outer ear
Hair loss around the ear
Rubbing of the ear and surrounding area on the floor or furniture
Head shaking or head tilt
Loss of balance
Unusual eye movements
Walking in circles
As you can see some of these symptoms seem more obvious than others. If your dog is pawing at his ears or shaking his head a lot more than usual, then take a quick peek at the ear. Is there a foul odor? Is it red? Either way, you’ll want to bring your dog in for an evaluation.
Ear infections can happen quickly too, so don’t think it takes days to show up. Your dog can go from okay to suffering from a painful ear infection in just a few hours. Please don’t hesitate to make an appointment. Call us at 303.691.3720.
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