Winter Allergies and Health Issues in Dogs
Wintertime brings many varied health issues to the fore for people and dogs alike. Some medical conditions like heart disease or diabetes can affect a dog’s ability to regulate its body temperature in cold weather. Our coughs and sneezes are fairly quickly treated with a quick visit to a pharmacy or physician, but our dogs rely on us to be vigilant to spot problems and get the appropriate treatment. Some dogs, like Huskies or Malamutes, are bred to withstand freezing temperatures, but most breeds are not and need as much care and protection from harsh weather as we do.
Smaller dogs and the cold
As a general rule, small dogs, particularly short-haired breeds and puppies, are more likely to feel the effects of colder temperatures, so limiting the time they spend outside is better. A coat will also benefit short-haired breeds. Puppies playing in their first snow look adorable, but they can easily become hypothermic very quickly. And keep an eye on the long-haired breeds; snow and ice can become impacted and lead to matted fur and ice-packed paws, lowering the dog’s temperature and leading to hypothermia or even ice burns on the skin. An excellent way to prevent damage caused by packed ice is to keep the fur trimmed, especially on the feet between the toes. Various products are designed to protect your dog’s feet in the winter months, including dog boots and balms or waxes, so it may be worth checking these out. But the best protection for your dog’s feet and fur is taking him out for shorter walks throughout the winter.
Anti-freeze and allergies
Watch out for anti-freeze, which often spills vehicle radiators onto the ground. This can contain a substance attractive to animals, and they may be tempted to lick it, but -anti-freeze is highly toxic and can result in the animal’s death.
Allergies often rise in the coldest months and can be made worse when we turn up the heating. Increased indoor temperatures and lower fresh air circulation can increase mould spores, aggravating breathing and dry skin conditions like eczema. Watch out for the symptoms of winter allergies; these could include hair loss and redness of the skin, itching and scratching, or a bad smell from the affected areas. To relieve your dog’s allergies, various treatments are available to buy, but a severe reaction could require veterinary treatment.
If you’re at all worried about your dog’s health this winter, take them to the vets for a winter check-up to ensure everything is ok.