4 Pet Illnesses to Watch Out for During Winters

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Winter has just started and soon we will experience cooler temperatures that prompt you to wear multi-layered warm clothing. People will start wrapping scarves, hats, gloves, furry boots and puffy parkas to protect themselves from the cold temperature. But about your pet? No doubt, they have been insulated with furs but sometimes that might not be enough to protect them from getting common pet diseases during winters.

Bitter cold can be dangerous for your pet just like us. But the cold tolerance may differ depending on the pet’s body fat, level of activity and health. It has generally been observed that thick-coated pets are able to tolerate cold more than the thin-coated pets. So how will you prevent common pet illness during the winter? Let us try to answer this question by looking at the things mentioned below:

  • For long furred pets, consider trimming their coat which will assist in minimising the clumping of snowballs and the clinging of salt crystals and de-icing chemicals.

  • For short legged pets have a towel ready whenever you take them for a long walk to dry off their stomach and get rid of salt, ice and chemicals. The reason for that is these pets have their bodies closer to the ground.

  • Adjust the routine of the pet according to your pet’s tolerance level to the cold.

  • If you have an elderly or arthritic pet, then avoid getting on slippery terrain

Let us now look at some of the common pet illnesses to watch out for during winters:

Hypothermia

Just like human beings, pet are susceptible to hypothermia due to excessive vulnerability to cold. The assemblage of wet and cold is too dangerous for your pet and so to prevent this you need to follow some pet winter safety tips like avoid taking them for longer walks, protect their paws with pet booties, ensuring that they get regular bathroom breaks, putting jacket, fleece or sweater to dry and the pet and keep them snow free.

Some of the symptoms of this illness are: trembling, lassitude, and listlessness. If you get a temperature of lower than 95 degrees Fahrenheit on rectal thermometer then it means that your pet is suffering from hypothermia. If you suspect this illness rush to your veterinarian immediately. On your way put on warm blankets or keep a towel wrapped hot water bottle to keep your pet’s body warm.

Frostbite

Frostbite results in tissue damage of the pet due to exposure to extreme cold resulting in minor or severe illness. The effects usually depend on the pet’s fur thickness and the duration for which the pet is outdoors. If the fur and skin of the pet gets soaked with snow or ice it can result in your pet experiencing frostbite. It is possible to prevent this illness caring for your pet during winters by limiting their outdoor activities. The symptoms of pet frostbite is contingent on the extent of the effect of the illness on the pet:

  • First degree: Pale, hard skin, which turns scaly, red and puffy when warmed in worst scenarios

  • Second degree: Blistering on the skin

  • Third degree: Darkening of the skin, results in gangrene

If you see any of these signs in your pet take them immediately to your veterinarian. Till you reach the veterinarian apply lukewarm water on the affected area. Never massage frostbitten areas as it can result in extreme pain. The veterinarian may recommend some antibiotics and painkillers for instant relief.

Antifreeze Poisoning

Ethylene glycol, a chemical ingredient present acts as an additive to give a sweet taste to a substance. Pets lick the liquid from garage floors, side-walks and streets or even from toilet bowls in homes that utilise it to winterise pipes. To prevent this winter pet hazard you need to keep the home and automotive chemicals out of reach of the pets. Clean all the garage liquids and find pet-friendly ways to winterising your pipes. Protect your pet’s paws with booties and conduct a post-walk paw wipe.

Antifreeze poisoning symptoms include: boozy behaviour like unstable walking, seizure, nausea/vomiting, and coma. If you spot any of these symptoms in your pet, contact your veterinarian immediately, but never give any substance to your pet. Many veterinarians advise to administer hydrogen peroxide as an curative, but never give it without consulting your veterinarian.

The Sniffles

Do pets catch cold? Yes, they do just like us, humans during winters. If your pet has a slight cough, wet nose, lethargy, or a little fatigue it can be due to upper respiratory infection. To protect your pet from it you need to place a humidifier in your pet’s room to assist them with cough. If you do not have a humidifier, take them to the bathroom and place them under the shower – the stream of it will have the same effect. Give warm foods to eat. Rush to your veterinarian if he is too young or old because any prevailing condition can complicate the cold. It is also very crucial to keep your sick pal isolated from the healthy pets.

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