September is here, and the nights are drawing in. Whilst cosy nights in with your canine friend is the dream situation when it’s raining and dark outside, winter comes with a range of different canine health issues to watch out for. So we’ve compiled a list of things to watch out for in the colder months, for a happy, healthy pooch all year round!
Just as in humans, cold weather tends to affect older dogs and very young dogs with arthritic conditions more than their younger, healthier counterparts. It’s important to take preventative measures all year round to avoid your dog’s suffering when the colder months draw in. Keep an eye on any unusual behaviour including limping or whimpering when weight is placed on the joints.
It’s worth noting that overweight dogs are more prone to arthritis, so the most important preventative measure you can take is maintaining your dog’s weight all through the year. Overfeeding will put more pressure on your dog’s joints, which can lead to arthritis, so keep a strict feeding schedule recommended by your dog’s healthy size and weight. Check out our health and wellbeing products, we’ve got special joint care products for dogs that suffer with joint aches and pains.
In severe situations, frostbite can take hold of your beloved pooch. This occurs when your dog’s body becomes extremely cold, as the blood draws back from their extremities to warm the centre of the body. Ice crystals form in the tissue and can damage it.
Unfortunately, it’s not the easiest condition to spot, as your dog’s skin can go pale and grey, which can be tricky to spot underneath their fur. The skin will also go hard and cold, and be painful if tried to warm up.
If your pet shows any signs of frostbite, don’t rush to the hairdryer to warm them up, but take them to your vets who can seek appropriate treatment.
This is a key concern with dog owners as it creeps up and then acts fast. This can happen when your dog spends too much time outside in the cold, or gets wet outside in the cold and isn’t dried off. It can also occur if you have a dog that has a history of poor health or poor circulation, so this is one to be extra careful to look out for.
Signs of hypothermia include shivering and your dog’s paws and ears turning cold. It progresses quickly, showing signs of unwillingness to do anything, weakness and then muscles stiffening and heart rate slowing down. If it gets to this stage, then it is likely that your dog has severe hypothermia and must be attended to urgently, as it is life-threatening.