Caring For Your Pets In The Winter
It’s winter. It’s cold outside. There are a few conditions pet owners have to be aware of this time of year that I would like to review.
1. Dry skin – This can make your pet uncomfortable, lower skin immunity and make it easier to get more serious problems. This can be dealt with two ways. Add essential fatty acids to the diet. We have found a product called Pro Derma optimum skin works very well. Some people just add vegetable oil or egg white as home remedies and report improvement. You can also apply conditioners to your pet’s coat. We have a product called humilac that is a spray on – apply to effect. No problem giving your pet a bath but follow with a conditioner. We like aloe and oatmeal shampoos and conditioners.
2. Paw trauma – The ground is hard and if there is snow pets can not see what’s beneath to avoid sharp objects on the ground. Keep claws trimmed. Believe it or not an old time veterinarian told me to add jello gelatin to the diet. This toughens up the pad and make them more resilient to injury. It actually works.
3. Frostbite – beware of extremities, tail tips and ear margins. They can get cold and become compromised very easy. This is particular concern with animals with poor circulation and with diabetes. Just be careful letting dogs out and don’t them stay out too long.
4. Fan belt injury – Outside cats naturally seek warm sheltered areas for comfort and protection, like under the hood of a car. Most people don’t think to look under the hood for a stow away cat when starting their car. The results can be ugly. Be aware. I know of some people who routinely bang on the car hood before starting up our open the hood.
5. Blocked cats – Cats have a tendency to precipitate grit and mucus in their urine. This can clog up the urethra and the cat will not be able to urinate and will rapidly get sick. This is mainly a problem with male cats because the male urethra is narrow. We see this more in the winter probably because cats drink less water which makes the urine more concentrated. Leave fresh water out always and feed your cats a bladder friendly diet.
Dr. David Roy Hensen, DVM, DABVP has been a Veterinarian since 1983. He opened Paumanok Veterinary Hospital in 1992 and is board certified in the American Board of Veterinary Specialists, canine and feline.