Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn often experiences the best winter weather mother nature has to offer — whites outs that line the streets and freezing temperatures that call for layer after layer (after layer) — this can be bliss when you’re well-prepared, but what about for your four-legged friend?
Snowed in or would you like to stay put in your warm brownstone this winter? No worries! The VetSet is a mobile veterinarian that can come to you! Stick with us and learn about the best pet care for your animals as you brave the cold, Brooklyn climate!
Depending on the breed of your dog, they may love the winter or would rather stay tucked away indoors. Either way, they have to get out at some point for a nice stroll and multiple times daily to use the restroom. This means they must brave the cold!
Many of us still hold the assumption that dogs are dogs and animals full of fur and fluff that protects them and acts as their winter coat, thus they’re able to weather the cold with ease. But because our pets are domesticated and use to a life of luxury indoors — heat, bedding, and blankets galore — the winter weather can be as alarming to them as it is for us.
Let’s give our dog’s a little extra TLC in the winter!
So, what are the key winter care tips a dog owner needs to know? Keep reading to be in-the-know about cold-climate pet care tips!
But first, what are the winter health risks that dogs encounter?
Just as humans have to be careful when on snow and ice so do dogs, but in a bit of a different way. While humans have to avoid slipping and falling, dogs have to steer clear of the ice melt and sand. Chemical deicers that line the streets and sidewalks are irritating to dog’s paws, and if ingested, are extremely toxic. Sand is better for dogs but combined with the cold, ice, and snow, it makes sore and cracked paws.
Frostbite affects dogs in the cold weather because the biological process is for the body to take warmth from the outer extremities and pull it inwards to the core. As the center of the body is warmed, it leaves paws, tails, and ears vulnerable to frostbite. Key signs of frostbite are skin discoloration (changing to a grey color) in addition to the areas being cold and hard. If left unaddressed, frostbite can reach the point of no return and turn black — if this happens your pet loses that extremity permanently.
This is a severe case of your dog being too cold. If a dog spends too much time out in the elements without the ability to warm up, hypothermia sets in. This can begin mildly where signs such as cold feet and ears or shivering occur. Signs that you shouldn’t ignore and that can be fatal are if your dog becomes weak and apathetic. The end stage of hypothermia is a dog whose muscles tighten up and breathing slows.
It’s vital to know your dog and understand and identify the signs of frostbite and hypothermia because they can be disastrous for your dog’s well-being.
Knowing how and what your dog is at risk in the wintertime is only the first part of the conversation! Stay tuned and get the best tips to prepare your dog for the cold in our next post!