Winter & Summer Care Tips
1. Winter Care Tips
Winter cold brings many concerns for responsible Norwich owners. Here are some precautions to be mindful of:
- Don’t leave your dog out in the cold for too long. Wind-chill makes the days colder than actual temperature readings.
- Adequate shelter is necessary. Keep your dog warm, dry and away from drafts.
- Be extra careful when walking your dog near frozen lakes, rivers and ponds. Your dog could slip or jump in and get seriously injured.
- Groom your dog regularly. A well groomed coat keeps him properly insulated. Consider a doggie sweater or coat for extreme temperatures. Trim the excess hair from under and between the pads the ease snow and ice collection.
- Feed your dog additional calories if he spends a lot of time out doors. It takes more calories in the winter to keep the body temperature regulated, so more calories are needed.
- Towel or blow-dry your dog if he gets wet from rain or snow. Keep the pads clean and dry to avoid cracked pads, which can be quite painful. Petroleum jelly is a good protector, which helps soften the pads and prevent further cracking.
- Don’t leave your dog alone in the car. The cold creeps in quickly. If the car is left running, carbon monoxide could endanger your dog.
- Rock salt used on roads and sidewalks may irritate your dog’s paws. Rinse off paws after walking.
- Be very careful with supplementary heat sources. Fireplaces and heaters can burn your dog. Ensure that fireplaces have screens and portable heaters are out of reach.
- Provide plenty of fresh water. Your dog is just as likely to dehydrate in the winter as in the summer. Snow is not a satisfactory substitute for water.
2. Summer Care Tips
Summer heat can be a health hazard for your companion. Dogs do not sweat like humans to reduce their body heat. Rather they pant to cool off and head for the shade. The first symptom of heat stroke start with excessive panting. As heat stroke progresses and body temperature exceed 40 degrees celsius / 104 degrees fahrenheit, advanced symptoms include: dark or bright red tongue and gums, or stick or dry tongue, staggering, stupor, seizures, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, coma death.
Here is what you can do to help relieve the hot summer days for your dog:
- First and foremost you should fresh water available. Clay bowls keep the water a little cooler. Very cold water is not recommended because it could constrict blood vessels and impede cooling!
- Provide a shaded area for your dog to stay out of the sun. Of course access to air condition is always good!
- Let your dog stand on cool wet towels and you can place cool wet towels on the dog’s neck and head.
- Offer ice cubes to your pet, to lick.
- Once your dog appears cool, do not assume he is fine. Internal organs can be affected by elevated body temperatures. If in doubt bring your dog to a veterinarian for a professional consult.
- Never leave your pet alone in a parked car. Cars heat up very quickly even on mildly warm days and can put your companion at risk. Similarly, be careful not to over exert your dog in hot weather on a walk with by prolonged exposure to the sun.
3. Itchy Dogs
Like humans, there are numerous reasons that your dog can be itchy. It can be as frustrating for you as it is for your pet. All dogs itch. When itching, licking, chewing and biting the skin becomes excessive it may become a habit. You need to determine foremost that distinction. So lets assume your dog has an itching problem.
Symptoms. Aside from the obvious itching, you will often see redness between the paws, under the tail, and where the dog is itching. Excessive itching can result in wounds from the excessive scratching and biting, which may cause secondary problems including hot spots, chronic ear infections and sebborrhea. It is important to identify the problem early and break the itching cycle quickly. Some dogs itch out of boredom.
- Dry skin causes itching. Winter months indoors may find your dog has drier than normal skin and this may be uncomfortable for your dog. The simple solution may be adding a humidifier to your dog’s living environment. Diet wise, adding fish oils (Omega 3 supplement) to the food may be an complimentary means to reduce itching.
- Canine Atopy (Allergies) cause itching. Some dogs suffer from seasonal allergies and/or food allergies. If the itching is a result of an allergic reaction Benadryl (Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride) is an antihistamine commonly used human drug that can also provide relief to your canine companion. Note that if your dog has allergies aside from the redness in the paws, tail and/or skin, often they have watery eyes and runny noses just like humans. Like any drug, a qualified professional should give you advice on safe dosages based on the age, weight and condition of your pet.
Reference: Diphenhydramine HCl/Benadryl® reference: Veterinary Drug Handbook, 3rd. Edition, Donald C. Plumb, pp 248-250
Food allergies or environmental allergies can be difficult to determine. Some dogs are allergic to their food dishes, some shampoos, even your laundry detergent. Approximately 10% of all dogs suffer from seasonal allergies (i.e. grass and pollen).
- Itching due to parasites (flea or skin mites) or fungus. Fleas, skin mites, chyatella (walking dander) ... there are many bugs, even our own human skin that, when our immune systems become compromised, permit these bugs to thrive on the skin. Often the humidity and warmth of summer sees these sources more readily than during cold climate temperatures.
Thankfully the treatment is usually simple. A canine shampoo with pyrithrines usually does the trick. Follow the instructions on the bottle. Usually all you need to do is shampoo your dog. Leave the shampoo on for 5-10 minutes and repeat a week later. Nizeroll or Selsun Blue works very well for some skin itching. Oatmeal shampoos are suppose to have skin soothing applications. They have never worked for our dogs beyond very short term relief.
A seasonal anti flea and tick drug (i.e. Advantage, Revolution) is good preventative medicine. Discuss with your vet what might be best for your dog.
We have used Gold Bond, a human product for itching, to great success on dogs that are a little too itchy. It seems to provide almost immediate relief and lessen itching so no secondary wounds occur from excessive itching. Of course if there is an open wound do not use this product.
In extreme cases, where nothing seems to work, a vet may prescribe a cortisone, and antibiotics if necessary, for your dog. Be aware that this only masks the symptoms and does not cure anything. It may provide the relief your dogs needs for a period of time. You still need to source the cause.