Saturday

Coping With Winter Weather



Puff loves the snow and as you can see from this recent picture I keep him pretty bundled up, he has a whole wardrobe of dog coats, but this is his favorite, made by my mom, it comes with a matching wool knitted hat because his little Chin ears get sooo cold.
He thinks he is a puppy but in reality, Puff is an old dog, and some older dogs are very prone to arthritis flare ups in the winter just as people are.
While Puff doesn't have arthritis, he is an indoor dog and the radical change in temperatures from indoors to outdoors can be stressful on any dog, but especially on older ones as they have trouble maintaining their body temperature. Shivering out in the cold can compress the spine. Dogs with spinal issues and almost all toy dogs will benefit from some stretching exercises to decompress their spines.
I do reflexology massage on Puffs' feet, lying him on his side while I massage some raw organic shea butter on each pad. Pads get very dry this time of year...
Other winter issues include indoor heating. Believe it or not, everyone doesn't have central heat and air conditioning and I am one of those. We live in a very small, very old Southern shotgun style enfilade apartment that was built without heat, apparently before global warming or El Nina or what ever messed up our weather. Because of that I use electric oil radiators, they have been great ( my electric bill in December was 22.00, that is not a lie, but January it doubled). The problem with oil radiators is that they are hot to touch and a pet can be burned getting too close. I use fireplace screens around mine.
I once knew of an Afghan hound whose long coat went up in flames from just applied alcohol based grooming products and getting too close to a wall heater.
Dogs, especially older ones can lie too close to an open hearth as well.

We live in the city and with so much snow there are salt and chemicals everywhere. Neighbors put out ice melting chemicals on the sidewalks, merchants throw it in front of the stores. Salt residue sprays on you from the street when you are walking.....
Salt for melting ice usually contains high concentration of chlorine, and concentrated quantities of salt alone if ingested,is harmful to kidneys and hearts. Be sure to wipe down your dogs feet after every walk and check that you don't track any into your house.
Hopefully, spring is just around the corner....