Dr. Elliott: Sleet, Ice, Snow and Rain
Seasonal weather extremes can have a profound effect on animals.
The United States has been experiencing incredible amounts of rain, snow, freezing temperatures, strong winds and sleet. These climate changes can have a profound effect on an animal. Let’s look at some of the things you should be concerned about.
FROSTBITE AND HYPOTHERMIA
Both of these conditions occur when your dog has been exposed to the cold for too long. While hypothermia and frostbite are treatable, they may leave lasting tissue damage if the symptoms are not spotted and treated promptly. When your dog has hypothermia, he is losing body heat faster than he can replace it. One way this can happen is when he is walking outside - the heat from his paws will quickly transfer to the cold ground he is walking on. On a very cold day your dog wouldn't need to take many steps before his paws are freezing cold because he won't be able to replace the heat in his paws before it's lost by treading on the cold ground again.
Just as you would prepare yourself, prepare your dog from the cold, rain and sleet with booties and a warm jacket. Once inside, provide a nice warm blanket or heating pad. A nutritious diet with a little extra food may be needed.
The wind stirs up a great deal of allergenic problems for pets. Those tiny micrograms can lodge in the mucous membranes causing allergies. Overabundance of rain can cause plants, flower and food items to grow faster than normal. Check mucous membranes for a bluish color.
With your dog’s paws in constant touch with freezing sleet or ice, paws can become brittle and cracked, causing pain, discomfort and possible infection. Look and feel around the pads and between the toes to see if a crack is found. For relief, you can use some iodine, arnica, tea tree oil or Vaseline.
SKIN AND COAT
On cold, rainy or snowy days we raise the temperature in the house to a comfortable degree. The change in temperature can have an effect on a dog's skin and coat, causing dryness, itching and chewing. Try adding a little extra Omega Oils to his or her diet. Brush skin twice a day and use a natural shampoo with extra skin conditioners and coconut oil.
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