Winter in South Dakota can be harsh, not only on us humans but also on our pets. When it is time to walk our pets and the air is cold, the sidewalks slippery, and snow piled knee-high we dig out our snow boats, thick wool socks, and beat the elements. For our pets, and their feet, it is a different story. Yes, dogs have their paw pads. These pads provide extra cushioning to help absorb shock, provide insulation, and help walk through rough terrain. However, even with the pads, those pretty pet paws still require TLC.
Take a few seconds, after your next walk, to check out your pet’s feet. It may be time to schedule a grooming.
Your dog’s nails should just touch the ground when he/she walks (know more on this virtual veterinary telehealth app). If you notice a clicking noise when they walk or their nails are easily getting caught on carpet or rugs, it is time for a pedicure.
In-between those squishy pads any hair should be trimmed to avoid matting. If you notice debris caught in the hair between pads, simply comb out the hair. If there is excessive matting it may be time for a grooming.
Winter months can really dry-out your pets pads (they can even become chapped and cracked). If you notice this, ask your veterinarian for a good pad moisturizer. When you moisturize those paws, it may also be a great idea to give those pads a little massage (yes, dogs loves massages just as much as us humans)!
AN EXTRA QUICK TIP FOR WINTER WALKING: Vaseline applied to your pets pads can be a great protector from sidewalk salt.
If you plan to be a long-distant traveler to reach a Thanksgiving dinner, make sure your pet is ready to make the trip.
- Be sure your pet has had a recent check-up with their veterinarian.
- Schedule a grooming for your pet (no one wants to travel with a stinky dog).
- Check to make sure your pet’s tags are current and include correct contact information (just incase Fido decides to take a trip on his/her own).
- Place a current photo of your pet in your wallet/purse (you never know when you may need it).
- Pack an extra collar and leash.
- Include a small bag of “entertainment”, favorite stuffed toy, balls, etc.
- Pack an emergency bag for your pet, if traveling by car (include water, food and blankets).
- If flying, booking a direct flight is much less stressful on your pet (flying also requires a few extra to-do’s on your checklist: write LIVE ANIMAL on your pets crate, make sure the crate is the correct size for your pet, and include comfortable “bedding”).
No matter how you spend your Thanksgiving, take a moment to give your pet an extra pat on the head to say “thanks for always being my friend”!
Aaaahhhhh-Choooo! Seasonal allergies got you down? WHAT ABOUT YOUR POOR DOG!?! Yep, that is right, dogs can have seasonal allergies just like us humans do (this includes dust, ragweed, pollen, and grass)! Us humans can walk over to the drug store and find a quick fix to relieve annoying symptoms. Often times, poor Fido’s suffering goes unnoticed. Dog’s can have subtle signs such as face and ear rubbing (which can easily be missed); but they can also suffer from worse allergy symptoms such as skin chewing, inflamed skin patches and diarrhea (yuck)!
So, how do you know if it is seasonal allergies or something more permanent like food allergies? First step, if your dog is suffering from any sort of unusual symptoms, call your vet and make an appointment (if you need a vet recommendation please ask us, we are happy to share). Second step, make your home a more “allergy-free” environment. This would include vacuuming and dusting often and trying to keep windows and doors closed during high pollen and ragweed days. Third step, try to do outdoor dog activities on days when there is little to no breeze and take walks in areas with little to no grass/weeds.
If you personally suffer from allergies you understand how miserable they can be. If your pet is suffering, try to be understanding of their suffering.
Fleas can cause the following medical problems:
If your pet injects a flea while grooming his or herself, your pet could be infected with the immature tapeworm that fleas carry. These long flat worm parasites attach to the wall of the intestines and feed there. One sure sign of tapeworms is the “white rice” you may find on your pets coat underneath he tail. These are tapeworm segments and they can also be found in your pets bedding. If you see them, take your pet to your veterinarian as soon as possible to get rid of these pests.
Fleas are the no.1 cause of allergies in dogs and cats. As fleas bite they inject saliva underneath the skin, an irritation that can lead to miserable scratching, hair loss, and infection. If you pet is scratching see your veterinarian to seek help.
Pets suffering from flea bites can develop dermatitis, or inflammation of the skin setting up your pet for infections. Antibiotics and shampoo therapy can rid your pet of this problem, but left untreated your pet may become increasingly uncomfortable.
Fleas get their nutrition from ingesting your pet’s blood, and in large numbers they can so much that a small dog or puppy can die as a result of blood loss. It is very important to keep your pet flea free.
REMEMBER TREAT YOUR HOUSE AND YOUR YARD TOO. Fleas lay several thousand eggs and can live for months without food. Every female will lay several thousand more eggs, which can survive for years in carpeting, wood floors and furniture until they hatch and reinfest your pet and home. Make sure you vacuum several times a week and use only foggers and sprays that combine insect growth regulators with an insecticide, and are pet safe. Allow chemicals to dry before coming in contact with your pet.
Did you know that fleas can jump 150 times their body length and some species can leap 36” high? One female flea can consume 15 times their weight in blood each day.
SPRING GROOMING : After a long winter:
Have you let your dog’s coat grow all winter? Is your dog a mess? Are you considering having your double coated breed shaved down for summer because:
- Your dog sheds to much
- You want to offer relief from the summer heat
- Your dog is matted/tangled beyond belief
For the double coated breed (dogs with fur or that shed), you may want toreconsider shaving your pet for the summer. Dogs have 7 hairs per hair follicle. In that group there is only one gaurd hair. When the hair is clipped over time it eliminates the guard hair bit by bit. This changes the coats texture so that it is not able to protect the dog during the winter and summer months. Cutting the dog’s hair does not stop shedding, it’s just shorter hair and not as noticeable.
As for dogs with hair rather then fur, it’s simple. Just clip the hair at a longer length in the winter and use a brush more often between groomings. Not having your pets hair maintained for long periods of time leads to that dreaded shave down everyone hates to see.
We recommend having your pet groomed every 6 to 8 weeks depending on your pets coat type and your tolerance level of your pets coat condition.
Lets consider the obvious, people prefer to hug,cuddle and play with a clean dog.
GROOMING YOUR PET
Regular grooming can prevent problems from developing, alert you to potential health concerns and can be vital to your dog’s comfort and well being. Common problems that can be easily avoided with regular visits to a professional groomer include painful mats, disorders of the skin and paws, and diseases of teeth and gums. Dogs of every breed and coat type and age must be groomed on a regular basis- about every six to eight weeks.
Long hair is prone to matting which can become uncomfortable and painful to your dog. It also holds bacteria, and dirt that become a health concern for your pet.
Daily brushing is essential. This hands on experience can be a great bonding experience with you and your dog.
Other core elements to your pet’s hygiene that should be routinely attended to include:
- Ear cleaning- an important regimen to prevent problems like mites, wax build up, infection.
- Ear plucking- removing hair from the ears is essential to prevent infections.
- Nail trimming- prevents nails from breaking and cracking and become overgrown, which is painful when walking.
- Teeth brushing-dogs do need their teeth brushed. Brushing can prevent periodontal disease and help detect problems that should be brought to the attention of your veterinarian.
You should make your dog’s grooming a fun and stress free routine that can be a wonderful bonding experience. Not all grooming can be handled at home and that’s why we recommend professional grooming.
Here at Paws and Reflect we hire the kind of people you can trust with your pet; loving, caring people who love pets as much as you do and are trained in the art of grooming.
From equipment, to procedure, to cleanliness, you can be confident that your pet is in caring, competent and skilled hands.