Deb D’Andrea, Nederland. I’ve written about dog coats, dog boots, keeping your pets inside, and what to look for during these below freezing temperatures to keep pets safe; and I still see people walking around with their dogs as their poor dog has frozen paws and fur, barely able to move, tenderly picking up a frozen paw because it hurts to walk.
Meanwhile their human has about 50 layers covering their torso and legs, and thermal boots and socks to help keep them from freezing. If this is you, please leave your dog home and not in your car.
If your dog has arthritis, the cold weather can render them almost immobile in these cold temperatures. Keeping a close eye on them in their short trips outside can ensure they don’t collapse into the snow unable to move inside to get warm. Watching them hold up a paw and then sit down can be the first signals they’re too cold to move. This is when you need to jump into action, pick them up and get them inside and warm immediately. Wrapping a blanket around them, holding them close, and ever so gently massaging their paws will help warm them up again.
If your dog has a compromised immune system, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease or other issues they may be less able to handle these cold temperatures. This can also be the case for puppies and elderly dogs. Your dog will let you know when they’re done, they’ll be trying to get you to head home, resist going outside altogether, resist going into the car, or they may just stop walking right there wherever you are, unable to move an inch because it hurts.
On these beyond cold days, I’ll take my Girls outside and leave my back door cracked open so they can go inside when they want; and they do head inside on their own to get warm. Fortunately, I have a door that separates that area from the rest of my warm home so not all the house warmth floats outside.
Hopefully everyone keeps their pets inside during these frigid temperatures as even the best fur coat can be cold when its negative 20. As wildlife is also looking for warm places, be aware when starting your car engine that someone hasn’t curled up under your hood for warmth. A bang on the hood can awaken a feral cat to help them escape before the engine turns over.
If your pet starts to whine, shiver, become anxious or begins looking for a place to burrow, get them inside and warm immediately. These are a few signals of hypothermia; and the evidence of frostbitten paws may not show up until a few days after the damage is done. While many pets put on an extra few pounds during the winter, it’s best to keep them within a healthy range as that extra weight can compound health risks.
Please be safe and warm, and enjoy these beautiful winter days; with and without your beloved pet.
Till next time. Deb D’Andrea, founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz & the Caribou Dog Ranch is recognized by the State of Colorado as a Certified Canine Massage Therapist and will visit your home or Vet’s office to work with your dog. Canine Agility may be offered at the Caribou Dog Ranch in 2017 if there is interest. Deb currently has limited availability for new Petz Nanny Clients; and she bakes up fresh dog treats & doggy birthday cakes per order. For information contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.