How to prevent common Winter Illness in Dogs?

Winter has already set on the Northern Hemisphere. It’s the time of the year when we love to cuddle inside the blanket, drink hot chocolate milk, and rewatch old Holiday movies.

Dogs being dogs, they love to jump around, nibble on things, and sniff around suspicious things. One of the favorite activities of any dog in winter is to go out and examine the changing environment. It’s common for dogs to sniff through the leaves and bushes, walk on the cold concrete and asphalt, and chew on whatever they could find.

As a pet owner, you must be aware of the potential hazards of winter to your dog. Walking outside without any protection can easily cause kennel cough and in some cases Hypothermia. A suspicious dog can lick antifreeze chemical spilled on the floor which can prove hazardous to their health.

Here is the list of potential winter illnesses that you should be careful about.

5 Common Winter Illness in Dogs

Here are the five most common winter illnesses experienced by pets.

Hypothermia

Hypothermia is triggered when a dog spends too much time in a cold surrounding. It's easy for the body temperature to drop drastically when they're spending most of their time outside the house without any winter gear. Dogs with diabetes and heart ailments are subject to hypothermia in cold conditions. Some of the common signs of hypothermia include

  • Shivering
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Restlessness
  • Depression

Frostbite

Frostbite is more common among dogs that walk outside without any paw protector or dog booties. The prolonged exposure to cold can easily damage soft tissues on the feet. The severity of frostbite may range from minor to severe and it depends on your pet's size, age, fur thickness. Fur and skin soaked from can easily trigger frostbite in pets.

You should limit outdoor activity in winter. Get them to paw protectors for both indoor and outdoor. When going outside, you should put dog boots on them to prevent any chances of frostbite.

Pale, hard skin, blisters on the skin, and skin darkening are a few of the signs of frostbite.

Kennel cough

The chances of encountering kennel cough are higher during winter because the kennel cough causing virus Canine adenovirus Type 2 (CAV-2) is present in the mushy kennel, smokes coming out of the chimney, and damp places.

Canine adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2) is related to the hepatitis virus. It leads to recessive or mild respiratory tract infections and may cause infectious laryngotracheitis along with the infectious tracheobronchitis, also known as kennel cough.

A goose-like, honking cough is the primary sign of kennel cough. You can treat minor kennel cough at home with a humidifier or steam treatment. If the cough persists for over two weeks, consider visiting your pet.

Flu and pneumonia

Canine influenza or Dog Flu is more common in elderly dogs and young pups. It's caused by varieties of influenza viruses including the equine influenza virus (H3N8). Pneumonia, on the other hand, is caused by canine adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2). Both flu and pneumonia are airborne diseases. In many cases, dogs that spend most of their time in the rain or snow can catch flu or pneumonia.

The symptoms include

  • Dry or moist cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Blood coughs
  • Fever
  • Runny yes
  • Ear infection

Arthritis

Arthritis is a medical condition that causes the swelling and tenderness of one or more joints inside a body. There are varying factors that can cause arthritis. Along with old age, cold weather is the common cause of arthritis. A dog is prone to Osteoarthritis, septic arthritis, and polyarthritis which can worsen with each passing winter.

Did you know, one in four of 77.2 million dogs in the US are diagnosed with some form of arthritis?

Avoid taking your own outside during winter, and ensure to keep them warm all the time. Dogs with severe arthritis can enjoy a massage to prevent joint inflammation. Be wary about their diet and keep them lean.

10 Ways to protect your dog in winter

Here are ten best ways to protect your dog in winter.

Limit outdoor time in winter

Dogs enjoy going out whether it's hot or cold. Especially during winter, you should strictly limit spending time outdoors. Even the furriest dog is prone to cold which can lead to hypothermia, frostbite, and flu. Take them out only for walks or exercises but do not leave them outdoors for a long period of time.

Ensure to cover them with proper winter protection such as dog hoodies and dog booties.

Go outside when the sun shines

Getting some sun during winter can be really healthy. You can walk your dog or let them play in the sun for a while. Both you and your pet can enjoy the essential Vitamin D that can ward off winter-related illness. However, you must limit spending time playing outdoors. Be extra careful about your dog wandering off into the bushes, wet floors, or cold asphalt road.

Cozy bedding

Let your dog enjoy their nap time by cuddling inside warm, cozy bedding. It's a bad idea to let them sleep on the floor or without any blankets during winter. The temperature can easily drop when they're exposed to the cold floor and air. A warm blanket and bedding can help keep them warm. It's more essential for senior dogs to enjoy warm bedding, heated beds, and cozy blanket as they are prone to joint-related illness during winter.

Moisturize

Ensure to keep your pet's skin moisturized and hydrated during winter. The cold air can easily dry their skin causing dried paws, ears, and tails. To ensure their skin remains healthy and moisturized, you can add skin and coat supplements to their food or apply coconut oil as needed.

No overfeeding

It’s really easy for dogs to gain weight during winter. The lack of exercise and overeating can easily make them obese. An obese dog is more likely to suffer from arthritis and winter-related illness. Although dogs may need an extra layer in winter, make sure they aren't overfed. Be attentive to their overall activity level and adjust their calorie intake.

Keep them hydrated

Dogs can dehydrate just as quickly in winter as in summer. Make sure to fill their bowl with fresh water a couple of times a day. Many dogs tend to chew on snow but it isn't an adequate substitute for freshwater. Ensure that the water bowl doesn't freeze and you keep refilling it every two or three hours.

Don't miss out on grooming

Grooming is equally important during winter because its thick coat can easily attract flea and tick. The more time they spend outdoors, the likely they are to attract bacteria. Give them an occasional warm bath, ensure to comb their fur and keep them untangled, and properly clean their ear, nose, and tail.

Paw protection

The dog's paws need special attention during winter. Dogs can easily suffer from cracked pads in winter. Make sure to trim the hair that grows between their pads to prevent ice buildup. rinse their paws with water to remove any winter salt or toxin after each time you go out. Use dog booties at all times.

Keep the surrounding toxin-free

With winter comes antifreeze. Even if you don't use it, your neighbors could be using one. It's important that you don't let your dog into the garage, driveway, or wet floors. Keep them away from licking anything spilled on the floor. Consuming antifreeze can prove to be fatal to their health.

Take special care of senior dogs

Senior dogs are more prone to winter-related illnesses such as arthritis, kennel cough, and flu, and pneumonia. You should be extra careful with them. Ensure to keep them warm at all times, make warm bedding for them, provide a natural joint supplement to lubricate their joints, and remove any kind of discomfort.

 Here is the brief infographic details on how to prevent common Winter Illness in Dogs?

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is the best pet hospital in Des Moines. Our certified veterinarians are always available to treat your pets. As the best doggy daycare in Urbandale, we provide pet boarding, daycare, grooming, and training services.

8 Common Dog Paw Problems

Unlike humans, dogs walk around in their four. The dog paws comprise of a thick layer of pads that help to hold its weight and protect from minor scratches.

Composition of Dog’s paw

Along with bones and cartilages, the dog’s paw includes skin, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels and connective tissue. The digital and metacarpal pads work as shock absorbers and help protect the bones and joints in the foot. The outer layer or carpal pads work like brakes, of sorts, and help the dog navigate slippery or steep slopes.

The feel of their pads differs according to their surrounding. Dogs that are outside a lot and exposed to rough surfaces have thicker and rougher paw skin while those who stay indoors have softer pads.

A dog’s paw isn’t free from problems. Get in touch with doggy daycare in Des Moines to ascertain common dog paw problems.

8 common Dog Paw Problem

A dog’s paw can attract different kinds of problems. The weather and climate, daily diet, lifestyle, and hygiene may determine the condition of dog paws.

a. Allergies

Dogs are prone to allergies. The allergic condition can make their paws very itchy. They will typically bite, lick, or chew on them to attempt to relieve the itching. In some cases, excessive licking of the paw can cause irritation or injury and can make it more susceptible to secondary fungal and bacterial infections.

b. Fungal and Bacterial Infections

The fungal or bacterial infection is common in canines. Many different species of bacteria and fungi normally live on your dog’s paw however they only become an issue when these organisms can grow out of control and cause infection. Signs of an infection include redness, swelling, pain, itching, and drainage. Yeast and ringworm are the most common fungus that may infect your pets’ paws.

c. Nail issues

Long toenails are common and can have a lot of negative consequences for your dog. Long nails can make it more difficult for your dog to walk.

Ingrown nails that those which are not trimmed properly or naturally worn down by walking outside can become painful ingrown toenails.

Torn or fractured nails occur when your dog catches their toenail on something. Fractured nails are generally caused by accidents.

d. Dry and Cracked Paw Pads

Warm weather, exposure to the rough surface, winter, chemicals, dry air, and excessive licking can cause dry and cracked paw pads. Dry and cracked paws can be painful and put your dog at a risk for infection.

e. Burns and Blisters

Dogs can suffer burns or blisters in the hot weather! The hot pavement or asphalt road can cause your dog to suffer a burn. If it is too hot for you to walk outside barefoot, it is too hot for your dogs, too! Always feel the pavement with the bottom of your bare hand before letting your dog walk on it. If you cannot comfortably hold your palm to the asphalt for 10 seconds or more, it is too hot for your dog’s paws.

f. Cuts and Abrasions

Cuts, abrasions, or lacerations are caused by walking on sharper objects such as broken glass, small rocks, and sticks, burrs, etc. You must be careful when you allow your dog to play outdoors. Keep them off of any surface you aren’t familiar with.

g. Parasites

Dogs who roam around outdoors can easily get tick infection. Ticks hideout between a pet’s toes where they can cause all sorts of problems, including pain and infection. You must consult a vet to remove the tick. If you remove it yourself, be prepared to use tweezers or special tick removal tools to grip the tick from the head and gently pull it out.

h. Cysts and Growths

Cysts are the sac of tissues that are filled with another substance, such as air or fluid. Cysts, lumps, and growths can commonly occur on paws or in-between your dog’s toes. Contact your veterinarian if you spot one and they can treat and remove if necessary.

How to protect your Dog’s paws?

Always consult with doggy daycare in Des Moines to diagnose dog paw problems. Here is what you can do to prevent serious paw infections and injuries.

i. Keep your dog's nails trimmed

Long nails for the dog are always problematic. They can unnecessarily spread their toes when they walk and the empty spaces between their toes will accumulate dust or snow. Untrimmed nails can also affect your dog's weight distribution, pushing their overall weight onto the back of their feet. Keep your dog’s nails trimmed and short all the time. If your dog often wanders outside, you must take extra precautions with their nails.

ii. Trim the fur between Toe pads

By trimming the fur between their toe pads you’ll level the pad fur with the pads themselves. This prevents snow, salt, and grit from accumulating between the toes. Compacted snow salt on your dog's feet makes walking difficult for them and can also affect their ability to stay on their feet.

iii. Lubricate paws before heading outdoors

Cold weather, ice, and salt can cause your dog's pads to dry out and crack. You can prevent this by wiping his paws with Vaseline or cooking spray before you take him out for a walk. Be sure to keep him off slick surfaces inside the house, such as tile, and outside the house, such as ice.

iv. Consider dog booties

Dog booties are a great way to keep your dog's feet safe and in good condition, particularly when the ground is hot, wet, or snowy. Dog booties are like human shoes that provide optimum protection dust, heat, snow, and other forms of dust. Wearing booties can be difficult for dogs. Try a gradual approach and let them sink into it for a while. Let them wear booties inside the house for short periods of time and offer them a prize or treats

v. Check your De-icer

De-icer is used during winter to de-ice the icy particles on cars. It can produce salt and other ice-melting granules or chemicals that can irritate your dog's paws when contacted. It can also cause stomach ailments if ingested. When choosing a De-icer you should consider buying non-toxic options, such as sand, gravel, and non-clumping cat litters. If you do use salt or chemical deicers, choose to buy "pet safe" brands. Keep the chemicals inside the shelf all the time.

vi. Wash your dog's paws after walks

After roaming outside, consider washing their feet with warm water. This helps to warm up their cold paws. It will also wash off any salt or deicing chemicals residue formed between their toes.

vii. Apply Vaseline on Dog’s Paws

The snow, ice, and salt can cause your dog's pads to dry out and crack. You should consider wiping their paws with Vaseline or cooking spray before you take them outdoors. Consider keeping them off slick surfaces inside the house, such as tile, and outside the house, such as ice.

 

Urban Pet Hospital & Resort is a premier doggy daycare in Des Moines specializing in pet care, pet health, and diet.