Lotsa Dogs Lotsa Fun

Lotsa Dogs Lotsa Fun
The Big Dogs Wait at The Door

Friday, January 25, 2013

Brrrr - It's Cold Outside and Your Dog Feels It Too!

Here's what Dr. Jon has to say about keeping your dog safe and happy in the dead of winter:

The reality is that, for most of my US readers winter is here and it is not leaving anytime soon. 
So what can you do if you are stuck indoors with your dog?
Well, believe it or not this can be a GREAT opportunity to have fun with your dog and pamper them at the same time. Today I'd like to share some of my favorite suggestions to make this cold, dreary season into one that you both look forward to. Take a look:
  1. Help your dog relax with a soft, warm new bed. Shopping for a bed? Here are some tips on what to look for in a bed before you shop. This is interesting because there are really important features that I hadn't thought of. Go to How to Choose a Good Dog Bed.
  2. Soak up the sun by opening the shades or curtains and giving your dog a nice place to nap.
  3. Don't keep them outside too long. It is extremely cold in many areas of the country. Frigid temperatures pose a real risk to dogs, especially when frostbite becomes a possibility or if they get wet. Keep them dry and limit outside time during temperature extremes. Be especially careful on windy days as wind chill can greatly increase the risk of injury. For more information go to: How Does the Wind Chill Affect Pets. You'll be surprised about what you'll learn in this article.
  4. Keep things active. Dogs want and need exercise all year round. Physical activity is good for the muscles, allows your dog to expel excess energy, keeps him mentally stimulated and helps prevent boredom.  When he does come in, dry his paws with a soft cloth. This will keep your home clean and get rid of snow, ice and salt that may otherwise get tracked in. 
  5. Have fun! Just because it is winter doesn't mean you can't still play games. Here are some very cute ideas. Go to: Beyond Snowballs - Winter Games to Play with Your Dog. 
  6. Be safe, not lazy. When it is cold, many pet owners are tempted to let their dogs "out" on their own. Bundle up and take him out on a leash as usual. Allowing your dog to go out unsupervised is a common way for dogs to end up lost or injured. It is really common for dogs to be let out and get hit by a car when it is cold (and their owners don't want to take them out).
  7. Make sure your home is safe. Keep objects your pet may chew and ingest out of their reach. Keep toxins (such as anti-freeze) safely put away. Prevent exposure to all human medications.  
Lastly, take time to spend with your dog. Brush him, comb him, curl up with a book or watch a movie with him. Remember, you are your dog's best friend.  

Until next time,
Dr. Jon

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dr. Jon on Your Dog's Dry Winter Skin

Ever had a bad hair day? How about a bad hair season?

Believe it or not, some dogs experience discomfort and frustration every winter because of their fur and skin. The cold, dry air of winter can give your dog flaky, rough, painful skin. This in turn can lead to everything from a dull coat to scratching and even hot spots or skin lesions.

Your dog doesn't have to summer just because of the weather. Stop winter in its tracks by taking some time to prepare your dog for the season. Today I'd like to share some tips that can help alleviate these symptoms.

First things first, remember that a major factor in irritated skin is dry winter air. As soon as temperatures start dropping, a humidifier can help prevent symptoms. (As a bonus, this can also help protect the humans in the household from similar problems.

But what about times like now, when it's already in the middle of winter? Is it too late to help? Don't worry, your dog isn't doomed to suffer for the next several months. You can help him right now too! Keep these things in mind if your dog has dry, itchy skin:

Rule out health problems: Even though flaky skin and a dry coat are common during winter, they can also indicate a more serious health problem. If you notice these symptoms, the first step should be to have your vet rule out any medical issue.

Bundle up for walks: Some dog owners dress up their dogs for fun, but during the winter months your pooch will actually benefit from wearing a coat during walks. This will not only keep him warm, it will also protect him from the effects of the dry frigid air. This is especially important during windy days when wind chill significantly increases the risk of frostbite.
Groom regularly: How frequently do you brush your dog? If your answer is “not often,” it's a good idea to start grooming your dog more. Brushing your dog's fur stimulates the production of the very oils that keep your dog's skin moisturized. It also evenly distributes those oils throughout his coat, leaving it shiny and healthy. Be careful though; more grooming does not mean more bathing! Frequent baths wash away the same healthy oils that help your dog's skin stay healthy, so don't bathe your dog more than once a week unless recommended by your vet.
Rethink their diet: One of the most common causes for dry skin is something most people don't consider: their dog's diet. Poor nutrition can lead to a dull coat and dry skin. You might think your dog is eating right, but poor skin is one very big sign that their diet needs an update. Make sure that your dog is getting a diet rich in proteins, fatty acids, and other nutritional needs. Consider switching to an all-natural dog food that will provide your dog with all that they need to be healthy.
 Reprinted from Dr. Jon's Dog Crazy Newsletter
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