dog22Every year at this time it’s a good idea to check over the following tips and reminders so your pets will enjoy the fall and winter seasons. The following tips will provide your pet with a better “quality of life” through these colder months:

Update all vaccinations. Increased stress of cold weather lowers the resistance to disease. Your pet needs more than just a Rabies vaccination. Dogs should be vaccinated against DHLP, Parvovirus, Lepto, Lyme, canine influenza, and Bordetella each year. Cats should receive FVRCP, Rabies, and Feline Leukemia.

Heartworm preventive should be given year-round. The medication kills certain immature stages of the Heartworm during its travel through the body before it reaches the heart. The medication should be given all year long to insure all immature Heartworms are killed when they reach the stage of susceptibility to the medication.

Internal Parasite Examinations insure your pet is “worm-free.” Internal parasites drain your pet’s blood, protein, and energy. Worms are a Burden!

Feed high quality food to meet the increased nutritional needs during cold weather. You get what you pay for in pet foods. “High Protein” labels do not mean it is “digestible protein.” Pets kept outside should be fed more food to meet their needs through the winter. Fresh Water should always be available. Be sure to provide UNFROZEN water at least twice daily during zero degree weather. Porcelain bowls will prevent tongues from sticking to it. Avoid metal bowls for this reason.

Vitamin supplements (Dogs): PET TABS®; Cats: NUTRI-CAL® increase your pet’s resistance to the effects of cold weather and provide needed nutritional elements that often deteriorate once a bag of food has been opened.
Provide adequate shelter: Providing adequate shelter from the elements is the key to a healthy outdoor pet. The pet that has a cozy refuge where he can seek shelter from the cold wind, driving rain, sleet, and snow will be better able to tolerate the cold temperatures. Pet shelters should be tightly constructed and no larger than 3 times the size of the pet. The doorway should be just big enough for the pet to enter and positioned away from the prevailing wind direction. Building the shelter off the ground a couple of inches and adding insulation underneath will greatly add to the pet’s comfort. Be sure all insulation is sealed away from the pet. Position the shelter where it will get the most sunlight in the winter. Cedar Shavings make the best bedding. No pet should be out in zero or sub-zero weather for more than a few minutes without adequate shelter. Winter is no time to BEGIN keeping a pet outside. Acclimatization should begin in warm weather, permitting gradual increase in hair growth as temperatures become cooler.

Antifreeze: Antifreeze can be lethal. It contains ethylene glycol, which is sweet tasting to your pet. Always clean up any spills in the garage or driveway. If your pet licks some or you suspect he has, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Car Engines: As the weather turns cooler, cats like to sleep near a warm car engine, curling up on or under the hood. Make sure you always know the location of your cat and honk your horn before starting the car.
Sweets: Too much holiday candy is as bad for your pet as it is for owners. Stomach aches and cavities are the milder side effects, while an over-indulgence in chocolate can prove to be fatal. Chocolate poisoning is caused by theobromine, a caffeine chemical substance found naturally in chocolate. Keep those one pound chocolate kisses well away from curious pets.

Frostbite: Frostbite is the number one winter pet hazard. Cats should stay indoors and owners should shorten dog exercise walks when the temperature falls.

Rock Salt: Rock salt used to melt snow and ice can cause irritation to paw pads. Rub a bit of baby oil and sprinkle some baby powder on the pads before going outside. Clean pads before coming back inside.
Dandruff: With the dry winter air, dandruff becomes a problem. Keeping your pet brushed will help remedy this condition. We have the proper skin moisturizers and food supplements to prevent dryness from winter heating.
Toenails: Without hard surfaces to act as a natural file, dog’s toenails are longer in the winter. Regular clipping is the solution.

Christmas Tree: Make sure your Christmas or Chanukah tree is well secured. If you have a tree-climbing cat or large dog, anchor the top of the tree to a wall using strong cord or rope.

Pine Needles: Check around holiday trees frequently. Ingested pine needles can puncture the pet’s intestines.
Ornaments: Sharp or breakable tree ornaments, yarns and ribbons, angel hair and icicles should be kept out of Fido and Fluffy’s reach. Hang them high on the tree and make sure your packages are securely wrapped.

Holiday Plants: Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias are extremely poisonous when eaten. You can enjoy their beauty by placing them well out of reach of curious pets.

Electric Cords: Puppies and kittens like to chew on everything. Keep cords out of reach!