Now that December is here and with it a drop in temperature, we’re sure that you’ll be rushing to grab those blankets to keep yourself warm and cosy. And of course, you’ll no doubt want to be snuggled up with your four legged furry friend too - they make the best substitutes for a hot water bottle!
Nonetheless, keeping yourself and your pooch warm is not the only goal. You also need to pay heed to the health of your dog, because apart from the chilly, spine-tingling breeze that you’ll come across on your walks, winter comes with an array of canine health hazards too.
Speaking of canine health, in this blog the team at Masterclip have detailed the risks involved with 3 hazards that every dog owner needs to be on a lookout for during those cold winter months.
Like humans, even pups and older dogs tend to go through various issues during colder months. One of the health hazards that older dogs are prone to in comparison to their healthier and younger counterparts, is an arthritic condition.
It’s vital that you to seek preventative measures throughout the year to make sure your furry buddy doesn’t have to suffer from any kind of health issue when winter draws in. Besides, do not ever turn a blind eye to any unusual behaviour, such as whimpering and limping, as these can all be sure-fire signs of arthritis.
Another thing that you need to bear in mind is that dogs that are overweight are more likely to develop arthritis. So, see to it that you aren’t overfeeding your dog as that can certainly build pressure on their joints. Ensure that you are maintaining their weight all year round by following the recommended amounts of food for your dogs size, taking into account its breed and exercise routine.
Come winter, the odds of your dog suffering from frostbite reaches its peak. This mainly happens when your dog’s body is exposed to severely cold temperatures, meaning the blood from their extremities starts to withdraw in an attempt to keep all vital organs warm.
Whilst suffering from frostbite, ice crystals tend to develop in your dog’s body tissue. This tissue can suffer permanent damage, which is why it must be treated immediately - and avoided at all costs.
Sadly, it isn’t all too easy to identify this condition. As it’s the skin that turns grey and pale, it’s easily hidden beneath your dog’s fur. The skin tends to go cold and hard, so it’s important to slowly warm your dog up as it will be extremely painful otherwise.
If you happen to come across any signs of frostbite in your pooch, seek advice from your vet immediately. Do not simply use a hairdryer or any other heating device, as this can be dangeorus.
This is by far the biggest concern that runs through the mind of every dog owner, as it not only creeps up quickly, but can have tragic consequences. Hypothermia usually occurs when your pooch gets wet and cold but isn’t properly dried off - or when your pet spends a lot of time outside in freezing temperatures.
It can also happen if your dog has a record of poor circulation or health, so it’s better to be extra careful and attentive towards their health - and body temperature!
The common signs and symptoms of hypothermia are ears and paws becoming cold, and lots of shivering. It creeps up quickly and you can identify it by looking at the unwillingness of your dog to literally do anything. Later signs are weakness, the stiffening of their muscles and a reduction of heart rate.
If it reaches the last stage, then the odds of them suffering from extreme hypothermia becomes high and they must be instantly taken to the vet, since it’s a life-threatening situation.
Now that you know how harsh winter can be on your four-legged buddy, make sure that your grooming them properly and maintaining a healthy coat. If you require further assistance, you can either check out our winter survival guide for dogs or get in touch with the team today.