How to Keep Your Pet Warm on Winter Walks

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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.