As the season is changing, our family is starting to prepare for the colder weather ahead. We’re getting the firewood in, digging out the warmer clothes and preparing the yard, and for me, stocking up on ibuprofen. Our pets also need to be taken into account as we look ahead, and in particular, our older pets need a little more care as it gets colder.
• Expect older pets to have a harder time with arthritis. This goes for both dogs and cats. Make sure there is a warm and dry place for them to be.
• Watch out for winter poisons, particularly antifreeze. Our pets like it because it is sweet, but it can be fatal. Watch out for driveway salt too, it can hurt their pads if it sticks to them.
• Be careful with heating pads, areas close the fireplace, space heaters etc. Some pets are so stiff that they cannot move in time, and can end up with nasty burns as a result.
• Some supplements can be helpful in maintaining mobility. Fish oil has some proven benefits, and some people feel that glucosamine can be helpful. Do not start on over-the-counter medications without consulting with your veterinarian — some of them can be quite toxic.
• Keep your dog well groomed. A well-kept coat insulates much better than a rough one.
• Just like with us, our pets tend to have more illnesses in the winter. Pay attention as it can seem pets are just not moving around as much because of the weather.
• Consider having your pet examined before the real cold weather starts. There are many medications that can help your dog or cat remain mobile through the winter; consult with your veterinarian before they get to the point that they cannot get up any more.
Vet Tips sponsored by Grass Valley Veterinary Hospital, Mace Dekker, DVM