The media is full, at the moment, of warnings about winter health issues for humans. The Covid-19 crisis has simply added to the regular concerns. But, what about our dogs? Is winter a worrying time for dog owners? Let’s look at some of the common, or more unusual, worries that can be heightened in this specific season.
When you’re out with your dog during winter, you’ll quickly notice how cold it can be, especially when the wind blows. Each year, we hear of people being affected by both hypothermia and frostbite, but this is equally the case with pets.
Normal outdoors trips are okay for most dogs, but if the weather is bitter, then smaller, slimmer dogs can fall victim to both of these conditions. Coats – and even boots – can provide protection; as can simply staying indoors in the worst of the weather – apart from those vital toilet breaks!
Chemicals used during the winter months can also be hazardous to dogs. Some homeowners are more likely to put down rodent poisons. Vehicle owners are also using both antifreeze and stronger solution windscreen wiper fluids, so it’s vital to keep pets well away from such substances. As an example, antifreeze tends to have a sweetish taste; this can be instantly appealing to dogs.
There is an excellent Kennel Club article about some common winter worries and the actions you can take. You’ll find it here. It also covers concerns such as walking your dog in the dark and some medical conditions which can be heightened by winter weather.
Watching out for other winter health conditions
Like humans, dogs are susceptible to respiratory infections at this time of year. It’s important to pay attention to their general condition. Watch out for those tell-tale signs, such as a runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing and the like. Also, check that your pet isn’t becoming somewhat lethargic or fatigued.
Taking this a stage further, and particularly for dogs at either end of the age scale, symptoms can be more severe. Watch out for a fever, ear infections, and even coughing up blood. These are possible indicators of flu or even pneumonia. Such symptoms can also suggest the possibility of kennel cough, caused by viral bacteria.
Is your dog insured for the winter ahead?
Illnesses and accidents, like those already mentioned, can be the cause of sudden visits to the vet as well as the costs associated with such emergencies. This is why it pays to have comprehensive dog insurance in place. For example, Petsure offers cover for up to £15,000 in vet fees, with no compulsory excess or upper age limit.
So, as winter tightens its grip, are you on alert to make sure your dog is safe and well?