You know when it’s wintertime! Mornings and evenings are gloomy, and temperatures outside have fallen below freezing – but there’s still a certain someone in the house who can’t wait to get outside for a brisk walk or to play, run, roll and dig in the snow. True, some dogs may despise bitterly cold weather conditions, preferring to hibernate indoors under a blanket, but others need no encouragement at all to head out for some fun in the frost.

As dog owners, we need to take many factors into consideration when assessing if our pooches should be encouraged to venture outside during icy weather. Considerations such as their particular breed, their size, and any health problems they may have (arthritis, for instance) require us to “paws for thought” during the winter months and think about the appropriate care required to keep our mutts healthy.

For example, elderly mutts may slip or fall on snow and ice, while medical conditions such as diabetes or kidney or heart disease can make it difficult for dogs to regulate their body heat, making them more vulnerable to temperature extremes. Additionally, young puppies will find sudden exposure to the cold quite a shock. If your dog has a short coat or seems bothered by the cold weather, consider an insulated dog coat or a warm knitted jumper.

In this first part of our Winter Care series, we take a look at Paws and Nails

PAWS. We don’t advocate letting your pet out for extended periods of time in temperatures below 0° Centigrade (32° F). Snow and ice can cause frostbite in your dog’s paw pads, resulting in the skin becoming chapped or cracked. Numerous bacteria and fungi (such as yeast and ringworm) thrive on dogs’ paw pads and are a typical cause of paw disorders and infections. Frostbite becomes a greater risk when temperatures drop further to –7° C (20° F), causing the skin on the paws to become red, inflamed, swollen and irritated. So before taking your dog out in icy conditions, don’t “fur-get” to rub some Dermadog Calm – A deeply nourishing balm to restore and prevent rough, dry skin on paws and noses. (Also soothes skin folds, sores, dry / itchy spots, and grazes. Promotes healing) 100% natural recipe. Safe to lick.

If your dog or puppy is already suffering from an infection, they will most likely have lesions and will be licking or chewing their paws constantly or, worse, limping. Antibiotics are commonly used to treat bacterial infections, along with topical lotions, sprays, and shampoos. The necessary antibiotic medication will be prescribed by your veterinarian.

NAILS. Check your dog’s or pup’s nails regularly to make sure they are not too long, cracked or torn. Nails that are properly clipped will prevent your pooch from catching them on sharp objects which can lead to bleeding and sometimes infection. Painful ingrown nails or extremely brittle nails (onychorrhexis) may leave your four-legged friend “raising the woof”‘ so it’s important to get your pets accustomed to having their nails inspected.

Most dogs don’t appreciate having their nails trimmed but, if you start clipping when they’re pups, they can learn that having their paws and nails touched isn’t going to be an unpleasant experience. A handy tip is to have some tasty treats on hand whilst your dog/pup sit on your lap or next to you before running your hand down their legs to the paws. Praise and chat encouragingly whilst handing out treats, touching them softly in between their toes and stroking each toenail.

In addition, the use of ‘Calm’ natural soothing drops, a blend of valerian root, skullcap and chamomile, can help take the stress out of nail clipping sessions. Use the drops leading up to and during your pet’s regular pedicure.

For more information on ‘Calm’ drops:

https://www.houndandhowl.com/supplements-/131-114-calm-.html#/45-size-100_ml

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