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We all love winter but it's harsh to all living creatures. There are threats which you may never think about: from chapped paws on icy roads to serious viruses in the air. Below is the list of the most common problems you can face as a pet owner.
Pets require our constant attention and care all year round as you remember what Antoine de Saint-Exupery once wrote: "you become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." As we have winter now, let's not wax lyrical and proceed straight to the point: what demands your special attention in winter in order to save your pet healthy throughout the season?
Danger: general cold
Yeah, it's especially cold in northern states. There are breeds that do not need long walks as Chihuahua, or Yorkie, for instance. They can only have their potties at home and do all their vital things there. And more, it's even better to do so and not let these fragile canines go outside at extreme colds. But if we take, say, Golden Retriever or Husky, they need walking and running some miles (especially Husky).
Solution: since there is no solution to protect your dog's ears and nose (just like for people), you can, at least, buy some booties and some coats in order to save your dog's body warmth and, in this way, avoid any viruses.
Danger: slippy sidewalks
Be careful when taking your four-legged friend for a walk and let him go off leash. There are numbers of situations that may go wrong and you may not have enough time to respond: accidental car on the road and the dog crossing it may turn into a tragedy if they meet; simply falling on the ice may bring straining your dog's leg; etc., etc.
Solution: Keep your dog on a tight leash. Professional dog trainers also insist on training your pet basic commands as there can always be situations when you need to restrain him immediately to avoid a mishap.
Danger: insufficient calories
From your own experience you probably know that every living creature needs more vitamins in cold season due to the constant loss of heat, extra dryness, and immense viruses in the air. Your dog is not an exception. In order to maintain his skin and coat healthy and avoid any disease, you have to take some additional care of your fluffy companion.
Solution: enrich the diet of your dog with dry kibble, or supplements full of antioxidants, protein, fatty acids, minerals, fiber, etc. Special attention should be paid to fish oil. Of course, each dog fancier knows about the remarkable properties of fish oil or its substitute (like phytoplankton) which is full of omega-3.
Danger: dry skin
Winter brings additional dryness to the dog's skin.
Solution: actually, you simply have to remember about three main rules. Rule No. 1: do not shave down your dog. Wait until it becomes warmer in spring or even in summer. Rule No. 2: Brush your dog. It helps to get rid of dander and dead hair. Rule No. 3: Do not wash your dog too often in winter. If you see that his paws or belly (or both) are dirty, use a towel. The snow is as easily wiped off from the coat as it is washed.
Danger: antifreeze and heaters
There are so season-specific to use antifreeze in cars and heaters in houses that it's better to remind everyone about them once again. We all know why we use both these two things in the household, but don't forget about your beloved pets.
Solution: wipe off your dog's paws and belly after the walk. Additionally, have a look if there are any scratches or chapped skin on the paws. Even if you were extremely attentive and followed your dog's every step, you cannot notice where he steps. It's better to check twice, just to be on the safe side. Concerning the heaters, make sure your dog cannot get too close to avoid scalds, especially if we are talking about the fireplaces.