It has only officially been winter for a few weeks, yet we have already experienced brutal cold in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The bone-chilling temperatures are enough to make anyone want to hibernate until spring. However, you know that’s not possible when you have a dog because he still needs a daily walk. If you don’t walk with your dog daily already, consider making this a habit now that we’re officially in National Walk Your Dog Month.
It's no secret that both people and their pets are getting bigger all the time, thanks in large part to a sedentary lifestyle. Unfortunately, Minnesota and Wisconsin are both top contenders for having the greatest number of obese dogs in the country. While our harsh winters are partly to blame, daily walks are part of the deal when adopting a dog. Your dog misses out on many benefits when you skip it, including your complete attention, social interaction with other people and dogs, and greater confidence in new situaitons. Additionally, regular exercise helps to prevent obesity and reduce the risk of several diseases.
Safety Tips for Walking with Your Dog in the Winter
Although daily walking has many benefits in all types of weather, you do need to take some extra safety precautions in the winter. For example, cover your dog’s paws with booties to protect them from extreme cold as well as road salt and other chemicals. We recommend that you trim the fur between each of your dog’s toes regularly to keep ice, salt, and chemicals from sticking to his paw pads.
Make sure that your dog doesn’t get too far ahead of you and slip on a pile of ice. She could easily fall through or injure herself in another way. Lastly, head home at the first sign of possible frostbite or hypothermia. These could include xcessive shivering, anxiety, whining, increased panting, confusion and disorientation, and trying to sit down while you’re out walking.
Even shy dogs and cats are bound to feel curious about what’s going on if you host a party on December 31. However, the best place for pets is far away from the party crowd in a bedroom or other room where you can close the door. Preferably, it won’t have windows that your pet can look out and become even more anxious by what might be going on outside. Be sure to stock the room with her favorite toys, bedding material, regular food, and enough water to get through the evening comfortably.
While you and your guests might enjoy blowing and swinging noisemakers before and after midnight, these sounds can cause your pet extreme anxiety. The same is true of fireworks. Since you can’t control whether other people light them off, keeping your pet in another room with soft, relaxing music playing is your best bet. Just be sure to peak in often to offer comfort and praise your dog or cat for good behavior.
People sometimes act in unexpected ways after having a bit to drink and may find it amusing to give beer, wine, or another type of alcoholic beverage to your dog or cat. However, this isn’t funny at all. Alcohol is toxic to pets, even in small doses. If you think this could happen at your party, let your guests know that you won’t tolerate it. You should also keep all alcoholic beverages out of your pet’s reach.
Anxious or overly excited pets may still find a way to run out of the house while your attention is elsewhere on New Year’s Eve. At Grantsburg Animal Hospital and Wild River Veterinary Clinic, we recommend that you get a microchip for your dog or cat if you don’t already have one. It’s good to have a tag and collar, but they can come loose or stuck on a fence. When your pet has a microchip, anyone who finds him can take him to the nearest animal shelter or veterinary clinic. The staff will scan your pet, discover the microchip, and obtain your contact information.
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