According to a recent poll conducted by PetFinder, 63% of dog owners give their pups Christmas presents. But now that the holidays are over, the best gift you can give your furry friend is to keep them safe throughout the rest of the season. Winter poses specific hazards for your pet. If you suspect your pet has fallen ill, you’ll need access to reliable veterinary clinical diagnostics. Here are just five things to watch out for this winter:
- Dehydration or Lack of Nourishment
In winter, dogs often need extra food (especially the protein-rich variety) to keep their energy levels up. This is particularly true if your dog is very active and spends lots of time outdoors. And your pup needs water even in the colder months! Make sure your pet has plenty of water, and if you keep a water bowl outside, make sure it doesn’t freeze.
- Holiday Sweets
This topic is often brought up during Christmastime, but it’s important to remember around Valentine’s Day, too. Chocolates, of course, are a total no-no, so keep your heart-shaped boxes tucked safely away! But even if you have a sweet treat that doesn’t contain chocolate, don’t feed it to your pet. Many products are now made with Xylitol, a common sugar substitute, which can be extremely harmful. It can lead to liver failure or even death. If your dog should ingest Xylitol or another harmful substance, you need to have food safety testing completed right away. In addition, if you have concerns about the use of your dogs’ own food products, you can have food safety testing analysis performed. Our food safety testing lab will ensure everything you feed your pet is safe and nutritious.
- Toxic Chemicals
The chemicals people to promote their own safety on the sidewalks and streets are often extremely dangerous for pets. Antifreeze has a sweet taste, so dogs may be attracted to a spill. Unless treated immediately, ingestion of antifreeze is typically fatal. If possible, use antifreeze that does not contain ethylene glycol and make sure it’s kept far away. Salts used to melt ice also pose dangers. During walks, dogs can pick up these salts in their paws; when they go to lick themselves later, they may get sick from the chemicals. Wipe your pup’s paws with lukewarm water after you return from your daily constitutional. If you are concerned about your pup ingesting a toxic substance, you should go to a veterinary laboratory or emergency facility right away.
- Dry Skin
We all tend to get dry skin in the winter. Winter air contains less moisture and the dryness can make us uncomfortable and itchy. Dogs may scratch and bite at their skin to get relief, which can lead to sores. Brushing your dog regularly can help to improve circulation, as well as skin and coat appearance. You may also want to consider adding fatty acid supplements to help. Consult with your vet before administering an additive.
- Frostbite and Hypothermia
You may not realize it, but even short exposure to subzero temperatures can result in frostbite. Dogs with thinner coats don’t do well on their own in the cold, and if your pup is older or is recovering from a disease, you’ll need to take special precautions. In these cases, keep your dog indoors as much as possible and consider getting a doggy sweater or jacket for walks.
Whether you need food safety testing or other veterinary clinical diagnostics performed, Safepath has your pet’s health in mind. For more information about the veterinary clinical diagnostics analysis we offer, please contact us today.