With Thanksgiving already behind us and Halloween right around the corner, fall has seemingly already come and gone. It's a season that we barely catch a glimpse of before morphing into a sea of white snow and cold. Unofficially, winter is here. Yes, I said it.
As the weather changes, I thought it prudent to mention a few things to keep in mind before the icy cold hits, and mention a few things that you may notice as the weather changes. Especially in some of our older pets.
1) Arthritic flare-ups - For those of you who have pets with arthritis, temperature and humidity changes are often linked to flareups of arthritis. Avoiding very cold temperatures, and using anti-inflammatory and/or pain medications can help to alleviate the symptoms. We're happy to talk about different management strategies.
2) Slippery conditions - while older animals are more likely to injure themselves, everyone is at potential risk. We've all experienced the icy and slippery conditions that winter creates. While our pets are '4 wheel drive' and have more stability than we do, that doesn't mean they can't slip. Exercise caution during outdoor activity and on potentially slippery surfaces. Whether it's being unable to stop in time, slipping and going splay legged pulling a muscle, or tearing a cruciate ligament, we'd like to avoid injuries if possible.
3) Cold feet - dogs don't sweat, except through their footpads. When the snow starts falling, long walks and activity in the snow can allow snow to buildup in the feet and cause irritation or damage the footpads. When it's really cold, limit your time outdoors, and check their feet to see if you need to wipe off or dig out snow between their toes. Some dogs will stop intermittently on a long walk to try to lick or chew the snow out, and some dogs have no issues. If it's an issue, consider boots or shorter walks.