FEBRUARY IS DENTAL MONTH!
February is National Pet Dental Health Month. Pet dental care is important to the overall health and wellbeing of your dog or cat. If it has been over a year since one of our veterinarians has examined your dog or cat’s teeth, please give us a call to set up an appointment during February.
General Pet Care Tips for the Winter
Winter is a difficult time for pets. Outdoor animals need extra care in order to cope with the cold weather. Special attention should also be paid to older animals, young puppies and animals with short coats. Pets require adequate shelter during the cold weather. Outdoor dogs should have an insulated dog house that is protected from the wind.
Antifreeze and windshield washer fluids contain a product called ethylene glycol, which tastes sweet and has a taste that is attractive to both dogs and cats. Just a small amount of antifreeze consumed by a pet can cause irreversible kidney damage, leading to coma and death. Animals are often poisoned by licking up spills in the garage, on the driveway, or on the street. Pets living in urban or suburban areas seem to be more exposed to this poison.
Ingestion of ethylene glycol causes central nervous system depression. Animals appear to be disoriented and in a stupor. Eventually a pet becomes comatose and unresponsive. Death results from kidney failure.
If you suspect that your pet consumed even the smallest amount of antifreeze, don't wait for symptoms to appear. This is an emergency and you should call us immediately. If it is not possible to obtain immediate veterinary care, induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal. This will reduce the amount of toxin that your pet's body absorbs.
A non-toxic antifreeze is now available for use in car radiators. The next time you have your car radiator flushed, ask the mechanic to replace the old antifreeze with new non-toxic type.
We have other cold weather tips for you to consider:
- Occasionally an animal is accidently left outdoors for an extended period of time. As a result, frostbite may occur. The most common areas for frostbite are the tips of the ears, paw pads, and the tip of the tail. The frostbite area should be bathed in warm water (not hot) for a few minutes and then please call us so we can examine your pet.
- Please check your dog’s paws regularly during the winter months. Snow and ice should be removed from the fur located between the toes. Damp paws should be thoroughly dried because moisture that accumulates between the toes can cause sores. De-icing chemicals and salt are common irritants. If these products are commonly used, your dog’s paws should be bathed regularly.
- Nail care is also important. In the winter months, trim your dog's nails on a regular basis. Not only do long nails irritate a dog's toes, they force him to walk on the backs of the paws, splaying his toes, creating more space between the toes allowing more snow to cling to the fur.
- Your pet may also experience cracked, sore pads, a common wintertime problem. The cracked pads are painful and can also cause lameness. This condition can occur in any breed but is often seen in larger dogs. Salt used for de-icing roads and sidewalks is often the cause. The salt dries the dog's pads and causes them to crack. To prevent this condition, soak or wash your dog's paws (with warm water) and dry them thoroughly when he returns home from the cold. You may also use a salve product made for this purpose on the paws.
- Pets often experience dry skin during the winter months. Lack of humidity tends to dry the skin. Frequent grooming (brushing) helps stimulate the production of oil from the skin glands.
- If the temperature outside drops below 15 degrees F., any outdoor pets should be moved indoors. If an animal is shivering or refuses to play, this generally means that he or she is too cold. This animal should be brought indoors.
- During the cold weather, cats often take shelter under the hood of cars. A warm engine is a comfortable area for a cat to rest. When the car is started, the cat risks severe injuries from the fan belt or blades. Before starting a car, knock on the hood or raise it in order to conduct a safety check.
Keep your pet healthy and safe this winter. Please give us a call if you have any questions or concerns about your pet.