Dog Safety

ReTail Scene: January Sale for Handicapped Pets

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Walkin' Pets specializes in equipment for handicapped dogs. During their January sale, you'll find special prices on the Walkin' Scooter, Walkin' Ski Attachment, Walkin' Dog Boots, Walkin' Splint, Walkin' Wheels Rear Wheelchair and more.

If your pet is handicapped, elderly or has any trouble walking, you'll find the right stuff for him or her at Walkin' Pets -- on sale in January. Check out the sale here: https://www.handicappedpets.com/on-sale/


The Danger of Xylitol for Your Dog

CautionEver feed your dog peanut butter? Did you check the label first? It may shock you to learn that some peanut butters contain a sugar substitute called xylitol. According to veterinarian Dr. Stephanie Silberstang, writing for PetPlace, "Although xylitol is safe for human consumption... it can be fatal when ingested by dogs. ...although dogs can tolerate regular sugar, xylitol is absorbed rapidly and can cause a spike in insulin. Because xylitol is not sugar, a spike in insulin causes severe hypoglycemia that can result in weakness, collapse, and seizures."

Xylitol is also commonly found in such ordinary items as mints, toothpaste, dietary supplements, gum and even baked goods. It's important to read the ingredients on any product label before giving your dog any food intended for humans. If one of those ingredients is xylitol, keep it away from your dog.

For more information about xylitol's dangers and how to treat xylitol toxicity, read Silberstang's article here: https://www.petplace.com/article/dogs/pet-health/xylitol-toxicity-dogs/?


Kitchen Safety for Your Dog (and Cat)

Screen Shot 2020-11-20 at 4.44.34 PMYou may not realize it, but your kitchen can be a dangerous place for your dog -- and cat.

That's why you'll want to take a look at this handy infographic: https://kitchencabinetkings.com/infographics/kitchen-safety-for-pets. In it you'll find some important information, including:

  • Dangers lurking in the kitchen for your dog, including toxic foods
  • How to safely keep your cat off of your kitchen counters
  • Helpful kitchen safety tips for all animals.

Check it out!


Fall Hiking and Ticks

Tick-1465065_1920Fall is a great time for hiking with your dog in the Carolina mountains, but one of the nuisances, and sometimes health risks for dogs is ticks. It is very easy for a tick to embed itself in your dog's coat and attach to its skin. Dogs and humans barely notice the tiny tick, but it can be far more than an inconvenience and do more damage than you may think.

This comprehensive article on PetPlace.com discusses one of the more serious diseases that ticks carry, anaplasmosis. According to PetPlace, anaplasmosis is similar to Lyme disease, also transmitted by ticks, and is most often reported from June through November, when people are outside hiking with their dogs. Most cases of anaplasmosis are transmitted by the black-legged dear tick, often found in the midwest and northeastern states, so it is probably little cause for worry in our area. Still, the article has some solid information about how ticks transmit the disease.

Cases of Lyme disease have been reported to the Center for Disease Control in the Western North Carolina and upstate South Carolina areas, so Lyme disease may be more of a concern. You can learn more about lyme disease and its signs and symptoms from the Lyme Disease Association.

It is always a good idea to check your dog for ticks when returning from outside activities. What appears to be a very small bump may in fact be a tick, so spread your dog's coat and examine it carefully. This article from American Humane explains how to prevent ticks and safely remove them.

Image by Elionas from Pixabay


Do You Sleep with Your Dog?

Sad-1930479_1920Some dog owners may not admit it, but in the privacy of their own homes, they allow their dogs to sleep in bed with them. That means your dog is spending lots of time in your bedroom -- and that could cause some interesting challenges.

The folks at Slumber Yard have put together a handy guide to "Pet Safety for the Bedroom." It includes pros vs. cons for sleeping with your pet, tips to make sleeping with your pet safe and comfortable, and a very helpful list of seven specific suggestions for how to pet-proof your bedroom.

You'll find the free guide here: https://myslumberyard.com/blog/pet-safety-for-the-bedroom/

Image by Renato Laky from Pixabay


Your Dog at Work - Good Idea or Bad Idea?

Dog-2467149_1920If your employer allows dogs, is it a good idea to bring your dog to work with you?  Having dogs at work is something of a growing trend, with such major employers as Amazon, Google, Salesforce and Ticketmaster allowing it.

These days, you may have been spending a lot of time at home, so it could be tough for your dog to see you go off to work. Maybe you can take him or her with you!

According to PetPlace, "Companies that have tried experimenting with dog-friendly workplaces have reported positive feedback, stating that pets in the office allow them to get through long workdays happily, improving overall morale, employee attendance, and a better work-life balance."

Still, allowing dogs at work takes some preparation and getting used to. For example, employees must be asked if they have allergies or a fear of dogs. In addition, behavior and hygiene are two primary concerns. The employee who owns a dog must be confident the dog will react well to strangers and be able to acclimate to an office environment. Dogs must also be vaccinated and free of fleas, ticks and any contagious conditions. An evaluation period to see whether your dog can be a good canine citizen at work is a good idea. But imagine how cool it would be to work in a dog-friendly office!

Read more about the pros and cons of dogs at work here:
https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/bring-your-dog-to-work-pros-and-cons/

Image: Pixabay.com


Pandemic Causes New Emphasis on Dogs and Homeowners Insurance

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One good thing that has come from the COVID-19 pandemic is animal rescue shelters have seen a spike in dog adoptions. In a happy turn of events, “foster fails” account for many of these adoptions — when pets who were to be temporarily fostered are bonded with and become a long-term member of the family. 

People are finding themselves spending more time at home with their dogs — all day, every day. However, one thing these pet owners may not have considered is: What happens when they return to work, and their dog is suddenly left alone at home for extended periods of time? People’s social lives will also return to normal, meaning their dog will suddenly be exposed to house guests and visitors for the first time. How will their dog behave in these new situations?

You may think your dog is predictable, but how sure are you they will be on their best behavior when they are confronted with new people, places and situations? Dogs are not always as predictable as people may think. If your dog happens to bite someone or damage another person’s property, do you know whether or not your homeowners insurance will cover the damage?

Here's an informative guide for dog owners about dog behavior and homeowners insurance: https://www.coverage.com/insurance/home/new-pet-owners-guide/

Here's additional information about whether pets are covered by homeowners insurance:
 https://www.thezebra.com/homeowners-insurance/coverage/does-homeowners-insurance-cover-pets/

Image: Coverage.com 


Your Dog... Home Alone

This information is provided as a public service and reproduced from https://avltoday.6amcity.com/helping-dogs-adjust-home-alone-asheville/?

By Brook Bolen for AVL TODAY

Home-office-5091293_1920As we get further along into Phase 2 of the Governor’s three-phase plan to reopen the state, more of us will be venturing outside the home more frequently, and many of us will be returning to the office. How can we best help our dogs avoid the “Back to Work” blues and prepare for added solo time?

I spoke with Pia Silvani, a pet behavioral specialist — also the Interim Director of the Asheville Humane Society’s Behavioral Department — to find out what pet parents can do to make the transition as painless as possible. Here’s what Pia suggests doing ASAP:

  • Stop taking your pets with you everywhere (even if that’s just inside your house). “If they’re clingy, and they follow you around from room to room, close the door and leave them alone,” she says. “If they’ve been sleeping in the bed with you throughout quarantine, put them back in their dog bed.”

  • Leave your furkids alone for a few hours each day. Now that we can leave home again, step outside and run some errands. “Little spurts of time away will help them get used to you leaving again,” Pia notes.

  • Stick with a routine. If you’ve been going on lots of walks in quarantine, keep them up, but get up early in the morning so you can fit them in. “It’s very important to make sure your pet gets adequate exercise,” says Pia. Similarly, if you keep music or the TV on during the day, be sure to leave it on for your pooch while you’re gone.

  • Start waking up earlier. If you’ve been sleeping in and lounging in bed, start getting up earlier so your dog gets used to it, too.

  • If you work remotely, then implement some distance at home. Start by shutting the door to the room where you’re working. Even seemingly small changes like this can help your pet acclimate to spending less time with you. 

  • Bring your dog along to the office if you can. Let your pooch join you for half a day and then take them home. 

  • Extend your lunch hour to run errands or other things you might do after work. That way, you can go directly home to see the one(s) who’ve been waiting for you all day long.

  • Talk to your neighbor and see if they can check in on your dog during the day (alternately, hire a pet sitter/walker). These folks can let your dog out to relieve themself and give a few belly rubs. 

  • Keep in touch with your veterinarian. If your dog shows signs of anxiety, there are lots of natural products to help pets feel more calm + comfortable, Pia says. In the event they need something stronger, your vet can prescribe the appropriate medication.

Image: Pixabay.com


Pet Safety Tips You May Not Have Thought About

Dog-portrait-1717848_1920Most dog lovers consider their pets part of the family. This is great -- until we realize that dogs, like humans, are exposed to real dangers from ordinary things in and around our own home. Of greater concern is that some of the things we as humans take for granted can present serious hazards to dogs.

Did you ever think about the fact, for example, that common household items such as string, rubber bands, electrical wire and the cords from your blinds or window shades could be dangerous to your dog? Have you made sure to secure household cleaners, insecticides, plant fertilizer and antifreeze so your dog doesn't get into them? Did you know some household plants can be toxic to dogs, and that some common drugs can be harmful to drugs?

A site called HomeGuides offers some valuable free advice about "Keeping Pets Safe in the Home," covering the above, as well as providing a room-by-room safety guide, Check it out here: https://homeguides.co.uk/pet-safety/

Image: Pixabay.com


Free Resource: "Fear Free Happy Homes"

Screen Shot 2020-01-09 at 4.21.32 PMHere's a free resource every dog owner should know about: It's called "Fear Free Happy Homes," a website that focuses on keeping pets happy and safe in their homes. It contains some great information, including videos and articles, and you can sign up for free to gain access to information and pet product discounts. Articles on the website's blog include:

Check out this cool resource at: https://fearfreehappyhomes.com/


How to Improve a Disabled Dog's Quality of Life

Guest Post by Lori Wade

German-shepherd-1077442_1920We all love our dogs, which is what makes it absolutely heartbreaking to see them struggle. There are few things more inherently awful than being forced to see any living creature struggle with pain or disability. That’s especially true for dogs, both because they are so loyal and lovable as well as the fact that they’re so innocent and helpless when it comes to maladies.

Dogs are absolutely heartwarming creatures, and their maladies are thus all the more heartbreaking. You never want that to be the fate of your dog. You want to make sure that they remain in good health and good spirits – even if they are disabled. Thankfully, these tips can help you do just that.

Dog Wheelchairs

From accidents and injuries to the ravages of old age, there are many reasons why your dog may be having trouble walking with comfort – if they can walk at all. If your dog finds themselves in this position or otherwise suffers from mobility issues, it might well be time to look into a dog wheelchair.

Dog wheelchairs are typically easily fitted around the dog’s waist and backside. They enable dogs to wheel themselves around in the event of bad hips or one or more legs not being up to walking. These wheelchairs feature openings at the bottom and back, allowing dogs to “do their business” unimpeded while wearing them.

Dog Ramps

If your dog has a broken leg, hip dysplasia, or any number of other conditions that hurt their hips or legs, it can be incredibly difficult and painful for them to get upstairs. You don’t want that to be a problem, of course. While you can sometimes carry smaller dogs, this can get old fast, won’t always be convenient for either party and isn’t exactly an easy option with larger dogs.

That’s why you’ll want to look into installing a dog ramp instead. As with ramps for human wheelchair users, they enable dogs in wheelchairs to get up to an area that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. They also make it possible to avoid steps.

Ramps can be especially helpful for your outdoor area near the front and backyards. Your dogs may not be able to get up porch steps with ease, so these dog ramps can be essential to get to and from the doors in question as they go into and out of your home.

Addressing Dog Vision Problems

As your dog gets older, it’s possible that they may begin to suffer from vision problems. That’s why you’ll want to make sure that you keep the light on for them, ensuring that areas in which they are staying are bright. You’ll also want to be sure to ask your veterinarian about any potential treatment if these eyesight problems worsen.

Dog Medications

Ask your veterinarian before giving your dog any new medication. There are some medicines on the market, such as phenobarbital, which can treat the same issues in dogs (seizures) as they do in humans. In other cases, there are medicines that are more dog-specific, such as proin, which helps tighten the muscles around a dog’s urinary tract in the case of urinary incontinence.

Whatever the case, you’ll want to be sure that your dog is getting the right medication for them. Some dogs can have allergic reactions to some medicines, some do better with some options than others, and then, of course, you always need to be on the lookout for bad dog medicines which may be harmful. Your vet can be instrumental in determining all of this.

Ensure your dog gets the care they need when they need it most by accommodating their disability - and if you have a furry friend who is advancing in age, make the most of your dog’s golden years.

 Lori Wade is a journalist from Louisville. A content writer who has experience in small editions, Lori is now engaged in news and conceptual articles on the topic of pet care and veterinary. You can find her on  Twitter & LinkedIn or on other social media, where you can read Lori’s useful insights!

Image: Pixabay.com


Is Your Dog Safe in Your Car?

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Cars have become more sophisticated, with many features designed to help keep drivers and passengers safe. But how safe is your dog when you drive in your car? CarRentals.com conducted a survey of drivers who have their dogs with them and discovered some surprising things. For example:

  • 47 percent of pet owners acknowledge it's dangerous to drive with an unrestrained dog in the car -- but they still do it
  • 71 percent of dog owners said they would use pet safety features -- if they were already built in to the car
  • 41 percent of dog owners who drive say their dog climbs into their lap while driving
  • 52 percent of drivers reach back to pet their dog while driving.

These are just some of the statistics -- but they clearly demonstrate that dog owners who drive with their dogs could stand to exercise more caution. Thankfully, CarRentals.com also provides very helpful information about how to drive safely with your dog. They discuss safety restraints, driving tips and what to do in case of an accident. Read their free guide here: https://www.carrentals.com/blog/car-safety-for-dogs/


Do You Have a Disaster Plan for Your Dog?

High-water-3063989_1920Hurricanes and floods are a reality of summer and fall in the Carolina mountains. The ASPCA offers some good advice about disaster planning for dog owners:

Ready Your Dog

  • Make sure your dog is wearing ID tags with your most up-to-date contact information.
  • Microchip your dog as a more permanent form of identification—in case collars or tags come off.
  • Train your dog to feel comfortable going into a crate with regular in-crate sessions with treats.
  • Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster. Pets can become disoriented and wander away from home in a crisis.

Prepare Your Home

  • Ideally, you should evacuate with your pet, but if you are unable to do so, a rescue alert sticker placed near your front door will let first responders know that you have a dog inside your home.
  • If sheltering in place, consider these things when choosing your safe room:
    • Be aware of hazards such as windows, flying debris, etc.
    • Utility rooms, bathrooms and unfinished basements may be easier to clean if your pet has an accident.
    • Having a supply of fresh water is particularly important. In areas that may lose electricity, fill up bathtubs and sinks ahead of time to ensure that you have access to water during a power outage or other crises.
    • In the event of flooding, go to the highest location in your home, or a room that has access to counters or high shelves where your animals can take shelter.

Create an Emergency Kit

  • Obtain a crate that comfortably fits your dog, write your dog’s name and your contact information on a piece of duct tape and stick it on the outside of the crate in case you become separated from your dog.
  • Make a portable emergency kit that includes the following:
    • Medical records
    • Water (7 days’ worth of bottled)
    • Water bowls
    • Pet food (3-7 days’ worth of canned food with pop tops or dry food)
    • Pet’s medications
    • Pet first aid kit
    • Dish soap and disinfectant
    • Disposable garbage bags for cleanup
    • Extra collar, harness and leash
    • Flashlight
    • Blanket
    • Recent photos of your dog (hard copy in case your phone dies)
    • Toys

Consider putting the kit inside the crate and storing near an exit.

Image: Pixabay.com


More Information about Invisible Dog Fences

Carolina Mountain Dog recently published a guest post about the pros and cons of invisible dog fences. We have received requests to publish more comprehensive information about such fences. Our intent is to provide information without endorsing training methods or specific products. If we accept a guest post for publication, the post represents the opinion of the writer, not necessarily this blog.

There are often strong opinions, both positive and negative, about invisible dog fences. In order to present additional details about invisible dog fences, we have provided a link to a recent comprehensive article written by a dog behaviorist that appeared in Whole Dog Journal:

https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/2_5/features/Electric-Underground-Fences_5207-1.html

We hope this information is helpful to anyone considering an invisible dog fence.


How to Prevent Common Doggy Disasters from Wrecking Your Home

Guest Post by Jennifer Scott

Picture1Nothing can ruin your day, or your dog’s, like a full-blown doggy disaster. Yet, as pet owners, we’ve all come home to an undesirable situation every now and then. While dog shaming can be good for a laugh, preventing these common misbehaviors is much more productive. Here are some common doggy disasters and some ways you can prevent them in your home:

Having Accidents Inside   

New puppies are especially prone to relieving themselves inside since they haven’t had a chance to be housebroken. You can encourage your dog to do its business outside by scheduling plenty of potty breaks. Take your puppy outside and give lots of praise when he goes where he’s supposed to. Eventually, your dog will get the idea and should begin to ask to go outside.

If your adult dog suddenly has frequent accidents, schedule a check-up to make sure that health issues aren’t causing these problems. If your vet gives him a clean bill of health, his food may be to blame, whether due to an allergy or because he simply doesn’t like it. If this is the case, try switching to an organic brand of food with limited ingredients, which will be less likely to upset his digestive tract.

 Destroying Their Toys and Bed   

 We’ve all given our dogs the perfect new toy or bed, only to have them rip it to shreds in a matter of minutes. While watching them de-stuff a toy isn’t cause for concern, chewing up their bed could be a signal of a much bigger issue. Make sure your dog has the right kind of bed for his needs, as this contributes to his sense of safety when sleeping and lounging in it. If this doesn’t seem to be the issue, your dog’s destructive habits could be rooted in some other problem, such as a lack of attention or anxiety. Take steps to relieve any anxiety and remedy your dog’s destructive tendencies.

 Guarding Food and Resources     

Resource guarding is a common issue with dogs, especially those who have spent time in a shelter. If you are working with a rescue animal, know that at some point, your dog may have had to fight for food or water. It takes time to break this habit; it requires a patient process of training to build trust between you and your dog. Resource guarding can also be a sign of insecurity. You can prevent resource guarding by establishing yourself as the leader in your pack. If your dog growls over food, water or toys, be cautious and do not allow children to handle these items around him to prevent bites.

Counter Surfing for Human Food

Even the most well-behaved dog can’t resist the scent of human food on tables and counters, but many human foods can cause health problems for your dog, while some can be deadly. The best course of action to prevent counter surfing is to eliminate access to tempting items. Dogs are opportunists, and if they can reach it, chances are that they will eat it, so keep your snacks and food securely put away in cabinets and pantries. Don’t forget to stow potentially dangerous chip bags away, either; dogs can get their heads stuck inside and suffocate in a matter of minutes.

Chewing Shoes and Furniture

Chewing is another prevalent issue for pet owners. If your dog has taken to using your favorite new shoes or chair for a chew toy, it can be stressful for you and dangerous for your dog. In the case of shoes, putting them away is your best option. Keeping your dog away from furniture can be a lot harder. For many pet owners, crate training is a good option for keeping dogs out of trouble while humans are out of the house. With positive training, most dogs find crates to be comforting. Just be sure to never use the crate as a place of punishment. It’s also important to get to the bottom of the issue. Puppies frequently chew due to teething, but adult dogs that chew random items could be displaying signs of stress or anxiety.

Preventing these common doggy disasters can protect your sanity, but more importantly, it can protect your dog’s safety. Take these steps to curb bad behavior and build a better bond between you and your dog.

Jennifer Scott has experienced anxiety and depression since she was a teenager. She shares stories about the ups and downs of her anxiety and depression at http://spiritfinder.org/

Image courtesy of Pexels


The Pros and Cons of an Invisible Dog Fence

Guest Post by Victoria Nelson

Dog-1210559_1920The usual wood, chain link, or plastic fences used to contain dogs are often difficult to put up and maintain and can be an eyesore. Is an invisible fence, or electronic dog fence, a reasonable alternative?

How the Invisible Dog Fence Works

Unlike a visible physical barrier, an invisible fence is a barrier that cannot be seen by humans but is learned by dogs. An invisible fence has the potential to keep your dog from wandering off or from bolting during a storm and getting lost.

The invisible fence is an electronic wireless “fence” that is installed underground and is controlled by and with a special collar preventing the dog from crossing the boundary of the fence. An invisible fence unit contains the basic unit, small flags for a visual boundary until your dog learns the boundaries of the fence, and the collar for your dog. The high-end systems also include a pet door so that your dog can get inside when it needs to. Only a dog wearing the collar can get in the pet door.

Most invisible fence systems include installation and training. Put the collar on your dog, plant the flags around your property where you want your dog to stay, and turn on the system. Your dog should need minimal training to learn the concept of the invisible fence. It is typically very easy. Most systems offer coverage of a little over a hundred feet in every direction up to three quarters of an acre.

It should be said that the invisible fence system should not be used with dogs that weigh less than five pounds. Make sure the company you buy from has customer service at the appropriate time. The special collar will give your dog a small buzz to distract him if he tries to cross the boundary, or you can just use an audible alert. Most systems have multiple levels of the jolt but even the highest is not harmful to your dog. It is designed not to hurt your dog but rather to just surprise him and train him not to pass the flags.

Pros and Cons of an Invisible Fence

Pros

  • Invisible fencing will withstand the rigors of climate and weather, as well as natural events such as floods.
  • Will protect your dog from getting lost for any reason, especially when other non-resident dog lovers are walking or hiking with their canines.
  • Invisible fencing is often less expensive in areas where traditional fencing is more difficult to install due to terrain.
  • Invisible fencing is more adaptable to wooded, hilly or continuously wet terrain. This adaptability extends to the configuration of the fenced area. It can be any shape you want with an electric dog fence.
  • Your dog cannot jump or climb over or dig under an invisible fence.

Cons

  • You and your dog will need to be trained.
  • Some dogs will occasionally break through the electronic barrier.
  • Unless you buy a system with a pet door that allows only your dog with collar to use it, other animals can enter the fenced area and your dog cannot get out. It’s worth any extra expense to protect your dog from attacks with a pet door.

Given the terrain, weather conditions, and presence of so many outside dogs, the invisible dog fence appears to be an excellent solution for keeping your dog safe while allowing him freedom on his own territory.

I'm Victoria Nelson, article author and owner of PetsHotSpot website. I have always been passionate about animals. I really enjoy writing about pets, especially when my articles can help people to understand animals better. I hope that you find a lot of useful information and it is been a pleasure for you to read it.


"Finding Rover" Now Being Used in Asheville

Screen Shot 2019-01-14 at 3.37.29 PM"Finding Rover" is a new technology that uses facial recognition technology to help reunite lost dogs and cats with their families, allowing anyone with computer access to be a superhero.

If you FIND a stray dog or cat, all you need to do is click ‘I Found a Pet’, snap a picture on your phone, and upload to www.findingrover.com. From there the magic of Finding Rover will match that photo with photos of pets that have been reported missing.

If you have LOST a dog or cat, click ‘I Lost a Pet’, upload your pet’s picture, and Finding Rover will search found reports which will include animals in our care. A partnership with Asheville Humane Society, who operate the Buncombe County Animal Shelter, automatically updates all of the pets at the shelter on Asheville Humane's Finding Rover page!

Wondering why you should use this new technology? Here are the top five reasons:
1. It’s easy! Anyone with a smartphone or computer can upload a lost or found dog or cat instantly.
2. It’s FREE! Although millions of dollars have been invested into this technology, it doesn’t cost you a penny.
3. It helps find pets homes! It’s not just about helping lost pets. Dogs and cats that are Available for Adoption are also on Finding Rover!
4. It’s not just for dogs! Dogs aren’t the only pets that get out. Finding Rover is optimized to work for feline friends as well.
5. It saves lives! At your shelter the number one goal is to keep pets safe before they even reach your doors. Using this tool, we can all become superheroes and help keep our shelter empty.

For more information or to upload a photo of your pet, visit: https://www.findingrover.com/


Five Winter Safety Tips for Your Dog

Guest Post by Jennifer Scott

Screen Shot 2018-12-18 at 12.56.18 PMWinter is a magical time, but it can produce quite a few potential dangers for our dogs. From exposure to the cold to toxic chocolate treats, there is much to be vigilant against. Here are five tips to keep your pooch safe during the winter months.

1. Warning Signs

 Even in winter, your dog needs to be taken outside. One way to protect them is by being attentive to any physical and behavioral warning signs. Are they shivering or showing that they’re upset by barking or whimpering? Behaviors like these could be interpreted differently during the warmer months, but they can be indicators of distress in winter. Check their ears to see if they are cold, and watch out for lethargy. Your dog may just be discouraged by the cold, but reduced energy could suggest more serious issues. This is a time to be observant, as your dog will let you know if they are in trouble.

2. Paws

The cold takes a toll on our dog's paws. There are hazards concealed by snow, and ice can form between their toes, especially when nails are long. While you could avoid snowy areas, even sidewalks and roads have their own dangers due to increased chemical use. Salt and other deicers are toxic to dogs, and your neighbors may be unaware of that. Take precautions after each outing by wiping your pup's paws with warm water to remove salt and ice buildup. Your best option may be to buy booties, as they are comfortable and can keep them safe from harm and dry skin. This alone can keep their winter fun and free of ill-health.

3. Accessories

Even when they grow a heavier coat for winter, dogs can still feel the cold. This can make heading out onerous for them, yet they need to remain active for their own well-being. You can help keep your canines stay warm in dropping temperatures by adding a sweater to their natural buffer. What materials you choose will depend on the size of your pet and the thickness of their fur. Dog clothing can also be modified to deal with darker days. Your walks may happen in poor visibility, so consider attachable safety lights and high-visibility gear to give you peace of mind.

4. Hazards

Winter is a festive time, but cold weather foods can be harmful to dogs. Many wintery foods contain chocolate, but these treats can cause severe toxic reactions when ingested by our canines. Rich “people foods” can also cause problems, so avoid indulging your furry friends, as their health is more important than allowing occasional tableside begging. Especially dangerous in the garage is antifreeze which can poison pooches. Dogs are curious, but it's essential that you stop them from investigating anything that could be dangerous.

5. Keep Dogs Indoors

Bring your pooch inside during cold weather. Outdoor kennels are not safe places in winter, so don't rely on them. Your pooch may already have a special place to sleep when indoors. If not, choose an area for their bed away from cold flooring, like hardwood or tile, or anywhere that is drafty. Ideally, it should be well-heated, but you can supplement this with a hot water bottle or electric bed. However, take care that they do not become overheated, as this could cause restlessness. Aside from walks, keep your dog's outings to a minimum. That includes washing them indoors. It may sound messy, but a wet coat can be a recipe for hypothermia.

Our dogs deserve nothing but safety. Plan out how you can protect your canine from outdoor hazards and cooler temperatures, and be aware of physical warning signs. Winter should be a time to frolic, so make this season a happy one for your pooch.

Jennifer Scott has experienced anxiety and depression since she was a teenager. She shares stories about the ups and downs of her anxiety and depression at http://spiritfinder.org/

Image courtesy of Pexels