How to Keep Your Pet Warm on Winter Walks


How to Keep Your Pet Warm on Winter Walks

January is National Walk Your Pet Month! Yet, in the northern hemisphere, it’s one of the coldest months and the time when you would prefer not to play outside. Despite the blustery weather, dogs still need to go outside for bathroom breaks and exercise. Consider the following tips to keep your dog warm and safe on winter walks.

6 Tips for Warm Winter Walks with Your Dog

1. Shorter, More Frequent Walks

If your dog is sensitive to the cold, consider going for shorter walks more frequently throughout the day. They’ll still get the same amount of exercise, but you and your dog will be able to warm up inside in between.

2. Add a Sweater

If your dog has short fur or is sensitive to the cold, they can wear a sweater or winter jacket that will insulate them against the cold. Just make sure the apparel is dry before going outdoors and never leave a pet unattended while wearing a piece of clothing.

3. Consider Your Dog's Breed

Some breeds are better suited to cold weather than others. For example, Siberian huskies and Alaska malamutes can tolerate cold better than chihuahuas or Dobermans.

4. Stay Dry

Even in relatively warm winter weather, a wet dog can get cold. During the winter, it’s best to keep your pet from getting wet on walks and playtime outdoors. During the winter, bathe your pets indoors only and make sure their fur is completely dry before heading out to play.

5. Wash Paws

If you and your dog visit any areas with freezing weather, be mindful of antifreeze, ice melt, and sidewalk salt. When pets go for walks, these substances can get stuck to their paws. Then, dogs might lick them off. These contain toxins that can be irritating to paws and very harmful if ingested. Be sure to wash and dry your pet’s paws first thing after you come inside from a frosty winter walk.

6. Too Cold for You Is Too Cold for Your Pet

The idea that cats or dogs have more resistance to the cold than people just because they wear natural fur coats is not accurate. If it’s too cold outside for you, then it’s too cold for your pet. Try to minimize time outside in extreme weather and find ways to stay active indoors.

Schedule a Winter Checkup at Pacific Pet Hospital

Whether or not you plan to visit any snowy states with your pet this winter, it’s important to keep regular wellness in check. Schedule your pet’s annual preventative care appointment to ensure all of their vaccines are current and they’re well-prepared for the beginning of parasite season which will be here before we know it.

New Dog? Everything You Should Know About Parvo

New Dog? Everything You Should Know about Parvo

Canine parvovirus (CPV), most commonly referred to as parvo is one of the vaccinations that every puppy should receive. Failing to vaccinate your puppy or having your dog improperly vaccinated puts them at risk of contracting this dangerous disease.

Why Is Parvovirus So Dangerous for Dogs?

Deadly Symptoms

Initially, parvo manifests in a dog with a decreased appetite and lethargy. The dog will then develop mild gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and vomiting. Eventually, vomiting will worsen and diarrhea will become bloody as the intestinal tract begins to hemorrhage. As the virus also attacks an infected dog’s bone marrow, their production of disease-fighting white blood cells will diminish or cease entirely, severely weakening the dog’s immune system. An infected dog will then become dangerously dehydrated and unable to fight off secondary infections. As a result, parvovirus can lead to death.

Highly Resilient Virus

Parvovirus can live for years in the environment – anywhere a sick dog was present. For this reason, it’s important not to introduce new dogs into a household where a dog has had parvovirus without them having proper vaccination first. It’s also important to remember that it’s only safe for properly vaccinated dogs to visit locations where lots of dogs are present such as dog parks, dog-friendly hiking trails, doggy daycare, dog groomers, and boarding facilities.

How to Protect Your Dog from Parvo

Unfortunately, when it comes to treating parvo, there’s nothing we can do to combat the virus in a dog’s system. We can only provide supportive, palliative care by treating the dog’s symptoms, helping to stave off dehydration with intravenous fluids, and administering antibiotics to prevent further bacterial infection.
The best way to protect a dog from parvovirus is to vaccinate. Beginning at around six to eight weeks of age, puppies should receive a parvovirus vaccine and boosters every three to four weeks until the pet is at least 14 weeks old. If you adopt an older puppy with no vaccine history, the puppy should receive an initial CPV vaccine and a booster shot about three weeks later.
Puppies and dogs who are not vaccinated or do not receive their booster shots according to the recommended vaccine schedule have a high risk of contracting parvovirus. Improperly vaccinated dogs are the ones that usually contract the disease. Do not let your dog mix with other dogs or visit high-traffic areas until properly vaccinated.
To learn more about parvo and your dog’s vaccination schedule, we welcome you to schedule a wellness and preventative care appointment with Pacific Pet Hospital in San Diego.

Foxtail Dangers: Safety Tips for Hiking & Outdoor Exploration with Pets

Foxtail Dangers: Safety Tips for Hiking & Outdoor Exploration with Pets

With the continuing need to avoid crowded places to promote public health and safety, more and more people are spending their free time recreating with their pets in the great outdoors. Whether you drive to the ocean shore, the lake, or take a hike in the hills, you’ll be doing your best to keep you and your dogs safe from COVID-19, but you might be exposing your pets to other, more wild dangers like heat exhaustion and exposure to fleas and ticks. One of the lesser-known, but more common risks of outdoor recreation that you should be aware of before loading up your pets and heading out into the great unknown are foxtails.

What Are Foxtails and Where Do They Grow?

Grasslike weeds, foxtails grow in abundance every spring and summer. You’ll find them in just about every untended (and even in some well-tended) grassy areas. They grow in fields, brushy areas, meadows, the wilderness, and even sprout up in sidewalk cracks.

How Can a Foxtail Be Dangerous for a Pet?

Foxtail seeds have a fishhook-like shape. Unfortunately, these seeds are also the perfect shape for sticking to a dog’s fur. Foxtail seeds can get stuck in dogs’ fur, between their toes, in their ears, up their noses, in and around their mouths, and even on their eyelids. With their sharp design, the seeds expertly burrow into the pet’s skin and have been known to work their way into the body. Left unattended, errant foxtails stuck to a dog can lead to serious problems, like infection, punctured lungs, or other organ damage.

Foxtail Safety and Prevention

The best way to prevent your pet from picking up foxtails is to avoid them. Trim your yard. When hiking, keep your dog away from the brush. (This will help prevent parasites, too!) Brush your pet after outdoor play and inspect them for foxtails. Check between the toes on each paw, legs, bellies, face, mouth, eyes, ears, and tail.

Signs Your Pet's Suffering from a Foxtail Barb

Symptoms of foxtail irritation differ depending on where the barb is embedded.
If you’re worried your pet might have an embedded foxtail, we encourage you to contact Pacific Pet Hospital right away. Our Chula Vista veterinarian will promptly remove the foxtail to prevent any complications.