GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — With temperatures more in line with January and snow falling this week, it’s time to make sure your pet is as bundled up as you are.
“A lot of people know not to leave their pets out in the summer when it’s hot, when they’re going to get overheated, but if you’re cold during the winter, these guys are, too. A lot of pets need extra jackets and booties to help keep them calm, warm and protected,” Dr. Lauren Ugol, a veterinarian at BluePearl Pet Hospital in Grand Rapids, said. “So a lot of times if you see them shaking or lifting up their paw. That can be signs of either coldness or discomfort and signaling to you that they may need something like a jacket or booties when they’re out there on those slick surfaces.”
One common problem is salt getting stuck in dogs’ paws. Most people know to make sure and get pet-safe deicers. They may not have thought about what gets left out in the garage.
“These guys love to get into everything, especially this one,” Ugol said, pointing to her dog Haven. “The most common things that we look for in the wintertime would be antifreeze, rat poisons and other toxins around the home. A lot of times we have antidotes to treat these pets but a lot of times we don’t, and so that’s where your local vets are here to help. But just making sure that they don’t have access is the best way for prevention.”
Animals have a tough time communicating they are in pain, so watch for the signs.
“A lot of pets, especially senior pets, deal with arthritis and in the colder months they can definitely have flare-ups. Their bones are achy, their joints are achy,” Ugol said. “So getting them up and moving is one thing, but it’s also important to talk to your veterinarian about medications that can help keep them more comfortable, especially when they’re a little bit more painful during this time of year. The biggest thing to look for would be difficulty rising, stiffness, reluctance to go upstairs, those sorts of signs. Those are very important to bring up to your vet and then they can make sure that they’re on the proper medications and preventatives and supplements to help them during the winter months.”