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Warm and happy in Winter wonderland!

Winter is a wonderland – our four-legged friends too need that extra care to keep them warm, hygienic and safe during this time.

Many fellow beings live with a misconception that their pets have a coat of fur so that they are able to withstand the cold better than humans. This is not the case. Like us, these fur-coated creatures too are accustomed to the warmth of indoor shelter and cold weather can be as hard on them as it is on us – humans. Puppies or senior dogs with arthritis or those who are sick with compromised immunity or renal conditions require close attention. Here are few tips to keep your furry being healthy and happy in this winter wonderland.
Outdoor fun activities when the sun shines: Keep her indoors, for the daily doses of Untitled-32parkland walks, you could resort to walking them out in late mornings or early evenings rather than going out in early wee hours or late nights. You may also enjoy fun games when sun is out; this partial sun bath shall energise both you and your pet with much needed vitamin D. Play fetch with toys, not sticks as they can cause choking and severe injuries. So, if your dog likes to chew and chase, pack a Frisbee, tennis ball or other toy and play together in the sun. When outdoors with your pet, watch for theses signs of exposure: Whining, Shivering, Appearing Anxious, Slowing Down, Stopping Movement and Looking for Places to Burrow.
If you notice any of these signs, return your pet indoors immediately.
Bundle up dressing: Long-haired breeds like Huskies do better in cold weather than short-haired breeds like Dachshunds.  Bundle up your dog. Dress your dog in a warm coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck; it should cover her back from the base of her tail and also protect her belly. Provide extra beddings such as rugs/blankets and ensure that they don’t sleep on uncarpeted areas or floors.
No overfeeding please: Because it takes more energy to stay warm when it’s cold. Your dog may be eyeing your food, understand those signs and feed him with small meals at regular intervals. However, make sure that diet is non-fatty and non-sugary. Likewise, water is vital for maintaining your pet’s health. Dogs can dehydrate even in winters as they do in summers.
Care for feet and grooming a must: Frosting is a serious problem during winter, especially for paws, tips of tails and ears. Just as we tend to develop foot cracks in winters, dogs tend to get cracks in their pads.
Trim your dog’s paws regularly in this season. If your dog has furry feet, trim the hair that grows between your dog’s toes and under his feet during the winter to prevent ice buildup between the paw pads. Thickened fur coat and brushing hairs regularly helps insulation.
Don’t leave them unattended! You should also not let your dog wander too far during his walks. Never leave him unattended.
Watch for the signs of frostbite and hypothermia: The risk of these conditions is especially high when the temperature dips. Frostbite typically affects poorly insulated body parts such as the tips of the ears and is evidenced by skin that is pale or red, swollen and painful or numb. Signs of hypothermia include slow pulse, shallow breathing, disorientation, collapse and unconsciousness. If you think your dog has either, call your vet immediately!
What to do for hypothermia:

  • Get your pet indoors and warm.
  • Wrap your pet in blankets and take him to the veterinarian.
  • Your veterinarian will, if necessary, monitor your pet’s heart rate and blood pressure and give warm fluids through an IV.

It’s known that dogs have innate art of survival; however your loyal friend needs that extra care. After all, who doesn’t want our buddy wagging his tail and leaping up to us in cold weather to give that priceless cuddling experience!
(Mayuresh Abhyankar is from Medical Services at SAVA Healthcare Limited).

Happy winter… Grooming, – By Varun Daroch

A well-groomed pooch looks like an angel any time. Let’s make our pooch look good and feel good, even during the chilly winter. Winter can be hard on your pooch. Make sure the pet stays as warm as possible to prevent chill and illnesses. And it is important to note that grooming is a must in winter. Here are a few tips to help your pooch shine:

  • Brush your short-coated pooch at least 3-5 times a week to keep shedding to minimum. 023Frequent brushing in winter will also keep your dog’s coat shiny, clean, and healthy.
  • Long-haired dogs also need grooming regularly to keep them properly insulated. Use a good slicker brush and a metal comb to groom your dog. Regular brushing, at least once a day, will keep your dog’s coat tangle-free.
  • If you make your long-haired dogs wear dog sweaters and coats, it can encourage underarm matting, so keep an eye for those tangles and comb them out before they become mats.
  • The winter season can be very hard on your dog’s paws. So, regular paw grooming and maintenance can minimise problems such as cracking, sores, blisters and infections.
  • Examine the foot pads and between the toes for any inflammation.
  • Use Vaseline on your pet’s paws to protect them from drying.
  • Trim the hair between your pet’s toes to reduce the chance of collecting debris.
  • When the need be dry clean or bathe your dog, be sure it is done fast in a warm environment.
  • Since cold weather may make your dog’s skin dry and itchy, choose a moisturising shampoo and conditioner for your dog.
  • Brush your dog thoroughly before giving a bath. Make sure you have removed any mats 024and excess hair before bath.
  • Use warm water to bathe your dog. The water should be warm enough to be comfortable for your dog but not so hot as to burn the skin.
  • Put a number of towels on the floor. The towels will help dry the dog quickly and absorb any dripping water while drying your pet.
  • Use a blow dryer to dry your dog quickly in winter. Use it on lowest heat setting and keep it at least six inches from your dog’s skin, so that you don’t burn him.
  • Use a dry shampoo if you do not want to bathe your dog when it’s too cold. Apply a liberal amount of the spray to the coat, brush it into the hair, and towel dry the dog.

Your dog is now clean and tidy. Happy winter!

(Varun Daroch runs Shevar Spa & Grooming Parlour for Pets (established in 2008) in Koramangala, Bengaluru. He is a certified canine and feline groomer trained in Singapore; www.shevar.com)

Comfy ‘n’ stylish winter dressing

It’s winter time again- the chill is in the air- but it’s also perfect for snuggles with your pet and lots of long walks and belly rubs galore! Just dress him in a warm and cosy jacket and off you two go to enjoy the winter chill.

We all know how smart winter dressing is! The same can be for your pooch. Dress him in a fashionable and stylish jacket. Here’s how to pick the right jacket for your pooch:

  • Measurements: Before you head out to make your purchases, please measure the pet’s neck (collar), Complete Carelength (from collar till start of tail), and the tummy around the widest point. These three measurements must be tallied with the product you wish to buy.
  • Patterns: Winter coats and jackets can have a variety of different fitting patterns. Some provide complete covering from the top and the bottom, others provide top covering only. Some come with sleeves and others without! Please assess your pet’s activities before deciding on what style of jacket to go for.
  • Fitting: Just remember that the jacket/coat should be snug and well fitted. It should not constrict movement of the pet, and a foot or mouth should not get caught where it doesn’t belong! It should also be very easy to put on and take off! If uncomfortable, your pet will probably not be able to sit flat on the floor. So, if you put on a jacket and find your pet standing still in one place – there is a huge possibility that he/she is very uncomfortable!
  • Thickness of the jacket: How warm should the jacket be? This depends on how cold a weather you live in, and how cold your dog feels. Some dogs have a nice, thick coat and do not require additional covering. However, short coat dogs may feel very cold requiring a thicker covering. It is important that pets are supervised when they have clothing on as they can get into a destructive mood and tear it off! The other thing to watch out for is overheating. It is advisable to remove clothing during time of exercise and play as it can result in overheating.

Once you have found the jacket that suits your pet’s requirement and his fashion statement–who cares for the winter blues?

(Rashi Sanon Narang owns Heads Up For Tails, a pet corner for a huge collection of luxury accessories to pamper your furry babies from head to tail. For further details, e-mail at: huft08@gmail.com).

grooming

Let your canine shine in winter

Dry skin, dry hair, cracking heels – all are signs of winter setting in…not just for you but for your pooch as well. Here’s how to take care of your canine in winter.

Grooming your dog is essential to responsible pet parenting. Here’s how to keep your pet well-groomed in winter:

Brushing: Regular brushing is a must to keep dry skin away. To help him stay warm, use a smart dog coat.

grooming

Fibas

Bathing: Prepare all in advance, have extra towels, make the bath quick, if you heat the room where you dry your dog will be great. Properly dry his coat. Get your dog used to a blow dryer. Use the blow dryer with caution and care.

Nail-clipping: Clip their nails regularly.

Cracking paws: Check your pooch’s paws for dryness and cracking. Use Vaseline to relieve any such symptoms.

Pamper your pet at a groomer, keep him hearty, happy and warm by cuddling up with him!

Winter warmth for the wet nose!

Winters can badly affect dogs if they are not properly cared. Some tips to keep your pets warm in winters.

There are many signs in the air that tell you that winters are setting in. But for me personally—as with all the others who have dogs at home—the clearest sign of the onset of winters is when your four-legged member begins to shift over to the carpet or mats that he can find. While there are many who are rigid about not letting their dogs into certain areas, I personally don’t follow that demarcation. And I think my dog knows that. So, every winter, when even the slightest of chill sets in, Mr. four legs trots over to my bed and curls himself in. For me, THAT is the sign that its wintertime folks!!!

As humans, we begin to prepare ourselves to brave the chill by digging out our woollens, our heaters and our hot water bottles. Once we are ready with our winter paraphernalia, we feel well equipped to enjoy the winter season. However, not many people realise that even our four-legged companions need certain preparations for them to be able to go through the winters. Nature definitely has equipped them to face different weathers, but sadly, its not enough sometimes. Most dogs succumb to the winter chill.

The worst part however is when the dog-owners have the resources but have still lost their dogs to the bitter season—only because they were not so well aware of how exactly to take care of their pets in this period. I know of a family who brought a Labrador home. Bozo, as he was called, had soon become a part of their family, and was loved by one and all. But it was during winters, that Bozo suddenly lost his appetite and would just lie with a lost look. Sleeping all night long on cold floor had brought him fever that finally went to his brain. He died within a week, and his family — or owners — still haven’t gotten over his death. To this day, they haven’t forgiven themselves for not being careful about their dog’s care during the winters.

I sympathised with them for the loss they had suffered. I also learnt a very important lesson from the tragedy—NEVER consider your pet different from humans as far as care, love and protection are concerned. They need as much—if not more, to be safe, secure and warm in winters—if only certain things are kept in mind.

Heaters


Make sure your dog is always at a safe distance from the heaters and blowers. Place a bowl of water in front of the heater to prevent dehydration in dog, especially pups. While most owners intentionally keep such supplementary heat sources close to the dogs, it can sometimes be harmful. They could get severe burns, and often, the dog catches cold when he shifts from a very warm zone to a cold one, especially when he goes out for a walk.

Walking the dog

Much as your dog jumps at the idea of a walk, make sure he is as well equipped as you are, to brave the cold. It is important to get him a sweater or a coat to keep him warm during walks. Pet breeds like Dachshund, Beagle and Boxer, having thin hair coat, are more likely to catch cold especially in chilly weather. Also, if ever your dog gets wet in the rain during the cold season, make sure to dry him with a towel or a blow dryer. They sure will really be happy and healthy with your loving care.

Winter diet

Your pet’s diet needs to be taken care of, they need to be fed additional calories, since it takes more energy in winters to regulate body temperature. They should be fed more of non-vegetarian food since it provides heat to their body. Meat, chicken, fish and eggs are some of the food items that keeps them warm from inside. Also our dear canines need plenty of fresh water. For this, not only is it important to check if the water dish is full and fresh, but also see to it that he constantly has some of it.

Winter chill

The biggest threats that the pet dogs face in winters are wind chill, frostbite and hypothermia. Though we don’t have snow in many places in India, there are quite a few places, where temperature drops really low. While most people think otherwise, the winter chill can actually be fatal for some pets. In order to ensure your dog is safe, make sure that the place he usually sits on, is carpeted or at least has a mat. Tiles and uncarpeted floor usually becomes very cold and since the dog’s whole body has a direct contact with it, the floor needs to be covered. If that is not possible, put down a blanket or pads for him to lie on.

The happiest dogs in winters are those, who have doting owners to take care of their food, shelter and walks. And believe me, when you see them safely cuddled amidst the family, carefree and oblivious to the chill outside, snoring away to glory, winters will not seem so bad after all….For our pets, the best way to show your concern is to have them safe and warm in your home, with the entire family. And when all is said and done, the bottom line is that give them plenty of your love, care and company, and they will be just fine.