The frosty weather has arrived, and it’s time to review how things might change for our four footed friends.
While there are undoubtedly individuals and breeds that are tickled pink to sit in the snow all day, we still have to make sure they have access to insulated shelter, and water in a heated bowl that prevents freezing. They don’t have to use it, but it needs to be an option.
Other dogs and cats are used to the same house temperatures that we are. Can you imagine stepping outside in socks and no extra layers of clothing than what you wore inside? As a general rule, when temperatures dip below -10 Celsius, the length of time outside needs to be supervised and adjusted to the individual.
Older pets, especially, might be more sensitive to arthritis pain that can be aggravated by colder weather. There are several options for dealing with chronic pain, so if your animal is limping, slowing down, or just moving less, we should maybe discuss what we can do to help them. Dogs and cats are way too tough to whine about aches and pains. They will often just try to avoid doing the things that hurt. It’s up to their human family to understand when they aren’t feeling well.
Ice melts! A blessing and a curse. It’s wonderful to not be falling down on ice for bipeds and quadrupeds alike. Some dogs, and even cats, can be prone to ligament injury from slipping on ice. On the other hand, ice melts can present an issue of toxicity if walked through, and then licked off of paws. Ice melts are composed of a variety of different types of salts, which can produce a range of signs from vomiting and diarrhea, and excessive drinking, to tremors, disorientation and seizures. Even products labelled as “pet friendly”, may only refer to non-irritation on contact. They may not extend that claim to the possibility of the product being ingested.
So, be sure to wash off paws when your pet comes inside. If you know they have ingested some ice melt, try to find out the ingredients of the ice melt, so we can deal with it appropriately.
And finally, Christmas!! Oh what fun to come down in the morning to find your kitten staring at you from eye level in your tree. Make sure your tree is secure if you have young pets that will want to scale it! And avoid the tinsel. Cats and tinsel are a bad combination, as cats seem unable to resist the urge to eat those glittery strands hanging off the branches. Presents with food smelling items shouldn’t be placed under the tree for your puppy’s nose to discover, and foods left within reach for the humans may cause problems in the wrong stomachs. Salted nuts or crackers in excess can cause feathered friends to get sick. Baking with chocolate, raisins, or macadamia nuts can all lead to toxicity problems for furry party goers.
Christmas plants however, have exaggerated reputations for causing illness in pets. Mistletoe, Holly, Christmas cactus, and poinsettias are all unlikely to cause significant illness. That being said, don’t leave them out to be eaten. They can cause stomach upset, vomiting, and depression, but this will likely resolve within a few hours. Take away the food for half a day, and allow your pet to rest. If they continue to have problems, we can check them out to make sure they’ll be okay. As always, a rabbit not eating or pooping may be a bit more serious, and we should check them out sooner.
We hope you and you’re furry family are remaining warm this winter season.