Winter is back and the harsh weather can bring a variety of health issues to our pooches. Biting winds and cold numbing wet days can cause your dog to be uncomfortable and unhappy. Whilst some people think that their dogs are okay with their fur coats and that they can tolerate the cold, this is not always the case. Our dogs are now domesticated and so many of them are now indoor dogs, so cold weather can be hard on them just like it can be for us. We can help our dogs be safe this winter by giving them a little extra care, especially our golden oldies that feel the cold a lot more than they ever used to.
Here are a few winter health risks to our dogs and some ideas on how to get them through these chilly months.
Winter Health Risks to our Dogs
Our dogs if left outside in extreme cold conditions can experience some severe issuess that can be life threatening.
Hypothermia can occur in dogs that are exposed to cold and freezing conditions for long periods of time, if they get wet in cold conditions, if they have bad circulation, old or are in poor health and are subjected to cold and windy weather. Hypothermia is an extreme lowering of the body temperature which causes the heart and respiration to slow down. Symptoms of mild cases would be shivering and their ears, feet and nose will feel cold. As it progresses your dog will start to be lethargic, depressed and weak. Their muscles can start to get stiff and their breathing and heart rate will get dangerously slow.
Frostbite can occur when your dog is out in very cold and freezing conditions. Their body gets exceptionally cold and the body pulls heat from their extremities like their ears, tail and paws to the centre of the body to try and stay warm. Ice crystals may form and the skin starts to become pale and a bluish gray in colour due to the lack of blood flow. The skin may feel icy cold, hard or brittle. This is very painful for the dog and in severe cases can turn black, blister or ulcerate.
Burns: Dogs can happily snuggle up in front of the fire or heater in cold weather but sometimes they may get a little too close. Don’t leave your fur baby alone in front of a fire place or heater even if you do have barriers up. Your pet can still get a bad burn by coming into contact with hot surfaces or spitting fires.
How can we prevent winter health risks?
Swimming at K9 Swim is a great way of exercising in the Winter months. The pool is indoors and heated and we offer a warm water rinse off and blow dry after. We also run a Senior Swim program for Golden Oldies 10 years and over.
For more information Enquire here
Temperature: Some breeds of dogs have big thick coats that can keep them warm but those dogs with thin coats need assistance with a warm jacket for the cold winter months. If your dog is an outside dog then a very good warm shelter and bed is essential to keep them safe from the elements. In freezing conditions a coat or a comfortable bed outside will not protect them from frostbite, to the extremities, or hypothermia if they are out for long periods so try and find a protected, dry, warm place for your dog during these conditions. If your dog is an inside dog then take them out regularly for walks and exercise but don’t leave them out in freezing conditions for a long period of time.
Exercise: Our fur babies still need to exercise in the winter months. The best time for their walks is mid-morning or mid-afternoon when the day is not at its coldest. When the sun is shining, spend time outside playing and get that great Vitamin D supplement. If you are showing or competing your dog in cold conditions then make sure you have a good warm jacket to keep them warm before and after their event.
Bedding: In cold months, its essential to have the right bedding so that your dog is nice and warm and comfortable. Do not let your dog sleep on a cold floor during winter months – get a trampoline bed so it’s off the ground and elevated. Heated beds are available and are great for old or arthritic dogs. Keep your dog away from drafts and provide warm blankets and a nice protected area.
Senior Dog Care: Winter months can certainly aggravate any existing medical conditions and arthritis that your dog may have. Senior dogs need to keep gently exercising especially through these cold months. When exercising, be aware of freezing ground, slippery surfaces, icy winds and freezing rain. Make sure your dog is rugged up when going for a walk and when they return from their outing they have a warm, supportive bed to rest in. You may like to give your golden oldie a mobility supplement to help with the aches and pains associated with age and arthritis.
Massage: Who doesn’t like a massage! Our pooches really benefit from massage, especially in cold months. Massage puts blood and oxygen into the muscle groups, it detoxifies the body, reduces inflammation of arthritic joints and circulates the blood around the body to stay warm and maintain a general well-being.
Nutrition: Your dog doesn’t have to eat lots more because its cold. They are possibly doing less exercise so you may have to reduce the calorie intake according to their activity level. Provide good quality and nutritious meals for your best mate so they feel satisfied in the cold weather.
A great idea especially in the colder months is to make up a batch of bone broth which gives your dog wonderful vitamins and minerals to keep them going through Winter. Bone broth not only is nutritious and yummy to them, but it also helps with their coat which can dry out in the cold months. Bone broth also maintains a healthy gut and is great for dogs with digestive problems, it supports the immune system and assists in protecting joints due to its glucosamine and chondroitin properties.
Here is a recipe for delicious bone broth:
What you need.
How to cook.
The broth will be like jelly when you first spoon it out of the container and some pets love it like that but you can warm it up for 10 seconds in the microwave or leave for a few minutes at room temperature and it will reduce to a liquid form.
Add some freshly chopped parsley to the broth when serving for added vitamins.
A couple of spoons full of broth a day on its own or mixed with food is wonderful for your pet.
You may also be interested in reading:
Winter Herbs - The Perfect Winter Remedies for Dogs
Grooming Your Dog Doesn't Stop Over Winter
With winter right around the corner, the cold weather can aggravate arthritis-related aches and pains in dogs. Since they stay in heated indoor areas, drink insufficient water and don’t get enough sunshine, it can result in dryness of the skin and affect the condition of their coats too.
In addition, they may become more susceptible to bacteria and viruses; which makes it even more important to help them build their immunity levels. One of the simplest things to do is to create a small garden where you can grow some herbs that will be beneficial to the health of your dog. You can add herbs to your pet’s meals; this will help them greatly with mobility issues, improve their overall wellbeing and the flavour of their meals as well.
Some indoor herbs to grow during the winter months
1. Lemon Balm
How to add these herbs to your dog’s winter meals
Many pet parents wonder whether their dogs will actually take these herbs happily. Most herbs have a distinctive aroma and taste that some dogs may not find very palatable. The one way to ensure your dog consumes these beneficial herbs is to cleverly incorporate them into their meals. Here are some ideas to get you started:
How K9 SWiM can help
If you are unable to grow fresh herbs or source them easily, simply use the dried variants. Our K9 SWiM Hydrotherapy and Wellness Centre also has a well-stocked herbal section, where you can source dried culinary/medicinal herbs in quantities even as little as 50g in weight. Feel free to contact us to make an appointment to discuss as we can create some tailor-made herbal blends to complement the requirements of your pet.
Turmeric is a great herb for so many reasons. Curcumin, the principle active component in turmeric, is a potent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent which helps with arthritis, pain, skin conditions, blood issues and is used for cancer and doggie dementia. It is a powerful antioxidant and can help protect the liver against toxins.
Refrigeration will last 1 month
Frozen will last 3 months
Dosage: ¼ teaspoon for a small dog and up to 1 teaspoon a day for a large dog.
Mix in food. Always introduce new food and supplements slowly over a 5-7-day period.
Check with your vet or animal naturopath before feeding if your dog is currently on any medication, before surgery or pregnant.
It is that time of the year again when fleas are out and about and on the increase Fleas can cause terrible distress in our dogs, causing itching, irritation or infections.
There are many natural therapies that can help deter fleas on your pets. This month
K9 SWiM would like to share a natural flea repellent spray that you can easily make yourself at home with a few simple ingredients. This will help deter fleas and other parasites with the added bonus that your dog will also smell great. The best thing about using natural ingredients is that you won’t have to worry about what chemicals your dog is licking off their coat.
Natural Flea Repellent Spray for Dogs with Wormwood, Rosemary and Lavender
This is a lovely spray to use on your pet and its bedding to deter fleas and other parasites.
Add herbs to the saucepan of water and slowly bring to the just on boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
Cool, strain and put into a spray bottle and spray away! Keep refrigerated and this will last you for a couple of weeks.
Alternatively dry some wormwood, rosemary and lavender and when ready mix the 3 herbs together and place in a little cotton bag and place in your pets bedding, it not only adds a lovely scent to their beds but deters all those little nasties!!!
Check Your Dog for Fleas and Other Parasites Daily
It is good to check your pet daily for any fleas and parasites Finding ticks and removing them early can save their lives.
The best flea control is flea prevention.
Dogs love to be part of any family fun including Easter, but CHOCOLATE is NOT safe and is harmful to your dog. There are alternatives to chocolate that your dog can enjoy when celebrating Easter with you.
Including Your Dog In Easter Celebrations
Your dog can join in the Easter celebrations by you making or buying Easter eggs made from carob that are yummy to eat and safe for your dog.
A boiled egg, coloured and decorated with natural food dyes is another treat your dog can enjoy at Easter.
Why not make up some healthy brownies or biscuits made into Easter shapes and frost with carob or yoghurt drops! Your dogs will go hopping mad over them!!!
Continue reading for a great doggy biscuit - K9 Cookie that you can make yourself.
Easter Hunt For Dogs
Children love to play a game of Easter Hunt around the house and yard so why not get your fury friend involved and create an Easter Hunt for your dog! Carob Easter eggs or their favourite dog treats or biscuits will work a treat that will have them hunting for a surprise.
The Perfect Easter Egg For Your Dog is NOT Chocolate!
Most humans love chocolate but chocolate is toxic to our 4 legged friends. Chocolate contains cocoa and cocoa contains the compound theobromine. Theobromine is toxic to dogs. The amount of Theobromine differs in the different types of chocolate with dark chocolate having the most.
How Do I Know If My Dog Is Experiencing Chocolate Toxicity
The symptoms of Theobromine poisoning include:
• Rapid breathing
• Stiff muscles
• Uncoordinated .
• Elevated heart rate
• Seizures / collapse
How Do I Prevent My Dog From Eating Chocolate Over Easter?
It is important to keep chocolate out of reach of our dogs and keep them in a different area if there are Easter celebrations with chocolate about. Many people are unaware that chocolate is toxic to dogs so make sure the rest of the family and friends know not to feed your dog any type of chocolate or sweets containing cocoa.
I Think My Dog Has Eaten Chocolate, What Should I Do?
Stay calm and contact your vet immediately.
Try this delicious healthy K9 Cookie recipe for your pooch. It is a great treat for your pooch that can be used for Easter and any other celebration. So let’s get cooking!
K9 Cookie Recipe
• 2 cups of wholemeal flour
• 1 cup of rolled oats
• 1/3 cup of smooth organic peanut butter
• 1 tablespoon of natural honey
• ¼ teaspoon of chia seed
• 1 1/2 cups of water or low salt chicken stock
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Mix the flour and oats together in a large mixing bowl. Pour in one cup of water or stock and stir until smooth. Add in the peanut butter, honey, and chia seeds and mix until all the ingredients are well blended.
3. Slowly add the water until the mixture has a thick and doughy consistency.
4. Lightly flour a cooking surface. Roll the dough onto the cooking surface to create a 1/4 inch thick sheet.
5. Use a cookie cutter to create Easter shapes. Place the cookies onto a greased or lined baking tray and bake for 40 minutes.
6. Allow to cool completely before icing.
When cool you can melt carob or yoghurt drops to decorate the cookies. Delicious!!!!
Have you ever had an itch that you can’t scratch? We all feel for our dogs when we see them scratching, scratching and scratching trying to soothe their itch! An Oatmeal Rinse is a great natural home remedy that you can make yourself, that will relieve and soothe your dog’s itch. Before we give you the recipe lets go through why your dog may be itching and two of the most common causes being fleas and wondering dew and what your can do for these two causes.
Why Dog's Itch?
Dogs itch for many different reasons such as
Fleas On Dogs
As fleas are the most common reason for dogs itching it is best to ensure your dog is free from fleas before you take your dog to the vet to determine the cause of the itching.
We don’t always see the fleas on our pets so the best way to check is to comb your pet over a damp white towel or paper and if fleas or black particles fall onto the damp white surface and turns a reddish colour you know that there are fleas present. As this black particle is flea faeces which contains dried blood that will turn red once in contact with a wet surface. Fleas lay eggs, and the eggs fall off where the pet goes. This means that you must treat your house if your pet has picked up fleas. The life cycle of a flea is about four weeks, so even with diligent treatment; it will probably take that long to rid your environment of fleas. Particularly during flea season, and whether or not you've seen fleas in your home, wash all bedding and blankets in hot water, vacuum all floors, rugs, furniture and other surfaces at least once a week, paying particular attention to rooms and places the animal usually stays. To make cleaning easier, you can cover furniture and your pet's favorite rugs with sheets.
Lemon- citrus is a natural flea repellent. Slice a lemon (leave the peel on) and pour 1 cup of boiling water over it. Let sit overnight- this water can then be sprayed on your pet. This will help eliminate fleas and temporarily prevent new ones from taking up residence on your pet.
Wandering Jew is a common cause of contact allergies in dogs. Contact allergies normally affects the belly, armpits, paws and face, so the best prevention is to remove the plant or not let your dog have access to areas where the plant is.
Soothing Your Dog's Itch With Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a natural remedy you can prepare yourself at home to soothe your dog’s itching.
Oatmeal cleans, soothes, relieves and balances the pH level without causing further irritations. Here is the home remedy recipe for Oatmeal Rinse to soothe your dog's itching.
Oatmeal or rolled oats will do
A stocking sock or small muslin bag
Luke warm water bath
Step 1: Place 2 tablespoons of oatmeal into the stocking sock or muslin bag
Step 2: Run stocking sock or bag through the lukewarm water bath until the water becomes milky
Step 3: Place dog in bath and soak dog in oatmeal water. You can use the stocking sock or bag to sponge the dog.
Step 4: Leave on dog for 3-5 minutes- as long as dog will tolerate standing in the bath.
Step 5: Rinse off with warm water.
As a qualified Animal Naturopath and Muscle therapist I have found that natural remedies, certain dietary vitamin supplements and herbal products can help your pet with their allergies and many other health issues. Contact me to discuss your dog’s best natural health solutions.
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Hi I'm Sharon Osmond the owner and founder of K9 Swim. The Splash Blog is where I share tips and information on dog's health and safety and some fun facts and stories.