Monday, 14 December 2009

Winter 09 Newsletter - Winter Care for Pets

News from the Team

Fred is now a cover star! He has worked very hard to overcome his bad start in life, and walking with so many dogs over the past year has really helped him to settle down, so I was very pleased that he earned this honour!!

In case you can’t read it, the book is called ‘100 Ways to Solve Your Dog’s Problems’. Unfortunately I’ve been included in the photographs inside, but there aren’t many!


I apologise! Some of the dogs seem to have an inbuilt mud magnet. I’m happy as long as they are enjoying themselves, but I do what I can to leave the mud outside. Please leave an old towel out for me to give your dog a final ‘polish’ before I leave them. If you’d like to leave newspaper, cardboard, plastic sheeting etc on the floor, I’ll happily walk on it.

Special Requests

Dog training - I’d like to extend an offer for basic training- I am able to teach the dogs, but need experience teachingpeople to teach their own dogs, so if you think you and your dogwould benefit from one or two sessions for basic exercises, sit,down, recall, lead walking, please get it touch. This will be alimited offer!

Food labels and empty bags

As part of my training I’m researching dog food and ingredients, so it would be really helpful if I could have empty dog food and treat bags, labels from tins etc. Just one or two of each would be great.

Winter Care

Young, elderly, ill or infirm dogs (sighthounds such as Greyhounds, Whippets or Salukis in particular) may need a coat when out of doors this winter.

Wind can be particularly chilling. Dogs with short coats living in centrally heated homes don't grow a winter coat in the same way an outdoor dog would. If you turn your heating off at night or while you are out, consider whether your dog might be cold, even indoors and think about getting a separate coat for night times.

Dogs don't usually need more food in the winter unless they are kept outside, so don't be tempted to give extra food. Outdoor water bowls can ice over, and very cold water is not good for dogs. There is a danger of ice burns to the tongue if the bowl is metal and cold enough, or a ceramic bowl can crack. Float a ball in the water to help prevent icing over, bring the bowl in, or empty it on very cold nights.

It can be just as dangerous to leave a dog in a cold car as a hot one, because the car keeps cold air in – make sure your dog is warm enough if you have to leave them for a while. Dogs, but in particular cats, have a great liking for anti-freeze
due to its sweet taste. Keep it well away from your pets because it can be fatal.

Cats have a tendency to climb into warm places in winter, and this includes car engines. Please be aware and try to be sure where your cat is before you drive off.

Chocolate and mistletoe are more in evidence at Christmas. Chocolate is toxic to dogs, although they may be able to tolerate a small amount of milk chocolate - small dogs are more at risk as they don’t need to eat much to be ill. Call the vet if you
suspect they have been in the Quality Streets – cooking chocolate is much worse, so watch out when chocolate cakes are around.

Mistletoe, and in particular the berries, are highly toxic, so make sure they are hung up carefully and can't be pulled down by the dogs. Watch out for fallen berries.
Rabbits and guinea pigs are often left outside in the winter.

Rabbits can deal with this as long as they are not in a draught or getting damp. For guinea pigs it’s pure misery! Bring your guinea pigs into a shed or unused garage, and give them, and rabbits, thick newspaper under the bedding to help insulate,
and plenty of extra bedding, changed more frequently as if it gets wet (either rain or urine), it will freeze. Bubble wrap is your furry friend’s Best Friend. Keep two water bottles, and make sure to swap them over if one freezes. Don’t forget to spend
time with your pets, even if it is cold and dark outside.

Snow and fur is not a good mix, and sometimes snow balls form on long haired dogs. Even shorter haired breeds can gather these on their feet, and once they have formed they need to be left to melt (hairdryers can help if your dog will tolerate it). They
are very painful for your dog to walk on, so if you spot them, take the dog home for a break. Vaseline between the toes, and keeping long fur trimmed can help. Leave some fur on, as is will help to protect their pads from frozen ground.

If we get heavy snowfall again this season, watch out for snow on buildings or trees that might melt and fall – just as your dog is underneath. Check that the height of the snow in the garden doesn't open up an escape route for your dog.

Snow, ice and hail usually lead to gritting lorries. The salt and other materials can irritate your dogs feet, so you may need to give them a damp wipe over when returning from a walk; try not to let your dogs lick their feet in case they ingest something that could make them ill.