Winter is fast approaching, and it is a fun time of year for many people. However, the same cannot be said for all dogs. In fact, most pets experience many problems during the winter season, and many of the dangers ahead can be shocking for most pet owners. Here is a look at some of the biggest dangers you can expect this season, and how to keep your dogs and pets safe from them.
If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors, it needs significant energy to keep going. To ensure this requirement is met, increase the amount of food you give to your dog or pet this season, and place special emphasis on its protein intake so that its fur and body remains in good shape. Dogs are also prone to dehydration during winter, because the water in their bowls may get too cold to drink or freeze completely. You can avoid this problem by purchasing a heated water bowl.
2. Dry skin
Winter is synonymous with dry, cold air, and this can be a problem for a dog’s fur and skin. Dry skin can get itchy, and your dog may begin to scratch or gnaw at itself, resulting in hot spots and sores. You should pay special attention to your dog’s fur and brush it more frequently than usual, perhaps even on a daily basis. Brushing also improves skin health and blood circulation. Talk to your vet and give your dog some fatty acid supplement for dry skin. If possible, use an oatmeal-based shampoo for your dog’s skin.
3. ‘Car trouble’
Dogs, cats, and other pets can get attracted to any source of heat during the winter months, and in many cases, the closest heat source is the car. They may huddle up under the car or even under the hood. If you start the engine all of a sudden, you risk seriously injuring them. Make it a habit to knock the hood of the car or honk a few times before starting the engine.
Hypothermia may not be much of a problem for a Husky or a St. Bernard, but certain breeds and pets that lack a thick fur coat and low body fat can suffer from this condition. Old pets and those that have recently suffered an illness are more prone to hypothermia. You can prevent this from happening by bringing your pets in during frigid conditions and giving them warm shelter. You can also use warm clothing for your dog while taking it for a walk.
This is a serious problem that can happen even with short periods of exposure to sub-zero temperatures. Frostbite of a dog’s nose, feet, and ears are common because these areas are sensitive, and they can be symptomized by red, greyish, whitish, or even peeled skin. You can prevent frostbite by quickly removing snow and ice from the fur and paws, or even clipping the fur between the toe pads to prevent snow from collecting there.