Outdoor Winter Hazards

Oh, the weather outside is frightful! Whether you have a couch potato or a snow dog, it is important to be aware of outdoor winter hazards! Now that winter is here; we decided that it would be important to share some great safety tips.

Although most people recognize the signs of a cold dog-like paw lifting or shivering- your pet may also be trying to tell you they are cold by whining or appearing anxious. Did you know that dogs can get frostbite? Frostbite can happen anytime it is cold because the body naturally responds by pulling blood from extremities to keep vital organs warm – which is why tiny toes, ears, and tails are most commonly impacted by frostbite. Watch your pet for any signs such as skin discolouration, blisters, swelling, or pain when you touch the body part. In addition to frostbite, the cold weather also puts your dog at risk of hypothermia. Hypothermia can happen anytime your dog is outside for an extended period in freezing temperatures, especially if they are wet during these cold temperatures. Early signs of hypothermia may include muscle stiffness, lethargy or general weakness. Severe hypothermia is life-threatening, so it is important to recognize first signs!

One option for your animal is winter gear! It is critical to keep an eye on their feet for more reasons than one. In addition to dog feet being more sensitive to the cold and snow, they can also be irritated by the sand/salt spread on the streets and sidewalks. For this reason, many people choose to put boots on their dogs. It is essential to make sure that the boots are properly fitted and are adequately waterproof for Winnipeg winters. One way to get your dog used to wearing booties is to put them in baby socks when they are in the house so that they get used to something on their feet. If your dog won’t allow boots, or you chose not to have them wear boots, ensure that you are checking their feet regularly when out for walks and cleaning them off after walks (as salt can not only irritate their skin/pads but could be toxic if ingested).

Jackets are also important for many dogs in the winter. Apart from looking adorable, many dogs need the extra warmth of a coat. Short haired breeds such as French Bulldogs, Miniature Pinschers, Chihuahuas, Grey Hounds (and many more) should wear jackets, as they tend to get colder much faster than other breeds because of their coats. Same goes for any short-legged breeds, such as Corgis, Dachshunds or Basset Hounds because of their proximity to the ground. It is also suggested that puppies, senior dogs, or any dogs who suffer from kidney or heart issues wear a jacket or sweater to give them extra protection from hypothermia. When dressing your dog in a jacket, it is important to watch for any behaviour changes or signs of overheating, such as panting. However, it is also important to note that large breed dogs (especially those with double coats) such as Huskies, Saint Bernards, Border Collies or German Shepherds, do not need sweaters/jackets because their natural coats keep them warm in winter.

Don’t forget, winter snuggles with your furry friend are the best way to stay warm!

Written by Centennial Animal Hospital

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Water Intoxication

Water Intoxication in Dogs

Does your dog like to play in the water? Too much of a good thing can be dangerous, so look out for water intoxication!Water intoxication, also known as hyponatremia is a relatively rare but potentially fatal condition that is most commonly seen in dogs that love to play in the water. Water games that involve retrieving items or diving into pools to catch toys can cause them to ingest large quantities of water very quickly. It can also happen when they “catch” pressurized water from sprinklers or hoses.Excessive amounts of water cause the body to lose sodium. The body's cells begin to fill with water and swell. If the cells in the brain swell, it can affect the central nervous system which can be fatal.Symptoms include:loss of coordination lethargy bloating vomiting glazed eyes excessive salivation difficulty breathing seizures comaWater intoxication progresses quickly so if your pet has been playing in the water and begins to show any of the signs mentioned above, it's crucial to seek veterinary care immediately to save your dog's life.Treatment of water intoxication typically includes IV delivery of electrolytes, diuretics and drugs to reduce brain swelling. With aggressive veterinary care, some dogs are able to recover, but sadly, many do not.It's important to closely watch dogs that are very active in water and ensure they take regular breaks in between playing. Be especially careful on days when the water is rough. If your dog empties their water bowl after playing hard or exercise, ensure they are rested before refilling the bowl.Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of water intoxication to keep your furry family member safe!If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at 204-269-8162 or by email at info@centennialanimalhospital.com.Written by Centennial Animal Hospital

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