Winter Hints for Hounds

 

Winter weather brings special challenges for greyhounds. Greyhound feet and toes, not to mention slender bodies, can be vulnerable to the changing temperatures, snow and ice.

During cooler weather it would be prudent to have a fleece coat to keep the slender greyhound figure warm. Exposed feet and toes are not only sensitive to the cold but can be injured by ice, burned by chemicals used to melt ice and when a greyhound licks its feet, some of the chemicals can be ingested causing illness and sometimes death.

Snow and Ice
When your greyhound returns from outside, you should examine feet and toes to be sure there are no cuts, scrapes or snow trapped between toes. Ice is not only dangerous to feet but can cause injury by a greyhound falling.

In the event that there is a deep snow fall, you may need to dig out an area for your greyhound to be able to relieve itself. Remember that greyhounds do not like their body parts to touch snow or ice, so plan accordingly when clearing a space.

Ice forming on tree branches and then breaking the branches or just ice or snow falling from trees or houses can injury your pet. Inspect your yard after a snow or ice storm to be certain any dangerous items are removed before allowing your pet free access to the yard. Leash walking may be advisable until an inspection can be completed.

When shoveling snow be sure that you do not provide an escape route for your greyhound by piling snow close to fences, sheds, woodpiles, garages or any other items that might be used as a springboard to escape.

Chemicals
When choosing an “ice melt” product be sure it states clearly that it is pet and child safe. Even then, feet should be wiped after returning from outside to ensure that your pet does not lick any of the chemicals that may have adhered to its paws, legs and underbelly.

If you leash walk your dog in the neighborhood, pay particular attention to areas that have been cleared or where the “road salt” may have been thrown up onto the grass and sidewalk. These chemicals are extremely harsh and dangerous if ingested by your pet.

Many homeowners take this time of year to prepare their lawns for the long dormant period by spreading fertilizer or other chemicals on their lawns. Take note of any “Caution, Lawn Treatment” signs in the area and avoid these yards. Overspray from these yards can be carried quite a distance by wind blowing.

Insects
The temperatures dip and many insects seek warmer climates for the winter. Take extra caution when bringing firewood into your home. Spider bites are one of the most dangerous threats to pets during the winter. They can go undiagnosed and cause serious illness.

Overexposure
No one would knowingly expose their pet to extended exposure to inclement weather on purpose, HOWEVER, we are human and unexpected things can happen. Consider setting an oven/kitchen timer when you put your pet outside. That way even if you get distracted the timer will remind you about your pet.

In the event that your pet does suffer from overexposure, IT IS A LIFE THREATENING PROBLEM. Urgent veterinary care is essential to the life of your pet. If you are not able to get professional help immediately, here are a few tips to get you through ONLY until a vet can be reached.

If your pet is overexposed to the cold, wrap them in room temperature blankets. Use towels to rub vigorously and help restore warm blood circulation. NEVER put your pet into very warm or hot water. This can cause major circulation problems and even result in death due to the shock incurred by the animal’s system. If you must use warm water (in case of drowning or immersion in cold water) use tepid water (like a baby’s bath water) and slowly warm the water to not more than 98 degrees. If at all possible, veterinary care should be sought ASAP.

As always, these suggestions are never to replace the professional care of a veterinarian. When in doubt, seek professional advice and treatment for your greyhound. Hoping you have a safe, healthy winter season.

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