Dog with snowy noseBRRRRR! It’s Cold Outside!

Guess what? Fido and Felix think so too! While some animals are bred for and have adapted to cold weather climates, most pets are not. Here are a few tips for cold weather care for your pets:

  • If your pet is strictly outdoors, be sure to provide suitable (insulated) shelter to allow them to be able to escape the elements.
  • Dehydration is possible in cold weather as well as warm weather, and it may be harder for them to find water when it’s below freezing so providing fresh, clean water is a must.
  • Likewise, pets outside may seek other sources to drink, remember, antifreeze is POISON.
  • While we all enjoy a nice long walk, salted ice-melt products may cause irritation to pet paws, and if licked off, may cause stomach upset. Consider wiping their paws when they come inside or providing booties.

For many pets, fleas and ticks are an occasional annoyance. They can transmit bacterial and parasitic infections including Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tapeworms. Heavy infestations can cause anemia due to blood loss from feeding.

flea-tick-prevention-petsUntil recently, fleas and ticks were a seasonal concern, first appearing around March or April and gone with the snow in December. As our New England winters become progressively more mild, fleas and ticks are better able to survive and thrive over-winter.

Adult fleas, for example, can remain protected in a cocoon for up to 30 weeks after reaching maturity and will emerge when the temperature rises can survive for up to 10 days at 38°F. Ticks will become active and feed at temperatures above 32°F, regardless of whether or not there is snow on the ground. In addition to less environmental help in controlling fleas and ticks, some of the familiar old products we’ve been using as preventatives don’t seem to be as effective anymore.

Even though recent studies have shown that fleas and ticks have not developed resistance to common preventatives, our pharmaceutical suppliers have produced several new or updated products to help protect our pets from these pests.

dog suitcaseAre you planning to travel with your pet? Whether you are journeying by plane or driving, it is advisable to keep with you a signed copy of your pet's current rabies certificate as well as a signed health certificate issued within 30 days of travel. 

North Windham Animal Hospital is now accredited by the USDA to issue pet health certificates for both for domestic and overseas travel! We also provide Pet ID cards at no cost (the card includes pet information as well as a list of vaccines).

Having your pet microchipped prior to travel is also a good idea (and may be required) should your pet become lost or separated from you en route. Be sure to update your information with the microchip company to ensure your pet finds his or her way home!

US Travel

With a few exceptions, the majority of states require a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection if a pet will be residing in a state for any length of time. If flying, you should check with the airlines as they may have additional requirements for your animal and more stringent time requirements.

If your pet is exhibiting itchiness, allergies could be the cause. Or is it? Here are five questions you should answer:

  1. Dog ScratchingIs My Pet on Flea Control?

    Before pursuing extensive (and expensive) diagnostics, consider if ALL pets in the household are on flea prevention. If not, start there. In many cases, owners don't notice fleas, because they aren't being bitten — that's because they're biting your pet. Flea control should include both pets AND environment.

  2. Is My Pet Wormed Regularly?

    Both internal and external parasites can cause your pet to itch. We may wish to run a fecal exam and/or skin scrapes to look for parasites.

  3. Does My Pet Itch All Year?

    If so, consider home environment and food. Statistically speaking, very few pets have a food allergy — but it's worth ruling out. If a food trial is suggested, remember, NOTHING ELSE goes into the pet's mouth except the recommended diet. Heartworm prevention will need to be topical. Commit to 3 months before calling it quits.

  4. Does My Pet Have an Infection or Underlying Disease?

    Blood tests and/or skin cultures or biopsies may be recommended to rule out an infection or disease.

  5. Is My Pet Allergic to Something?

    Many pets are. Consider allergy testing to identify the source and subsequent immunotherapy to help manage the outbreaks. This doesn't work for everyone, but it does work for the majority of cases.

In the mean time, here's what you can do to sooth your pet's itchy skin: