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Winters – The Chill Pill
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India experiences two seasons…Cricket and Winter! While the former is now a regular feature which is sure to never change, winter, the rather shorter seasonal variant has already started creeping in.
Even as this season is a treat for some, there are others who need some extra care and precautions well before the full–fledged onset of Winter. Our pets most definitely fall into this category and it is our duty to ensure their comfort and good health all along this season.
Follow the following suggestions and enjoy the winter
• First and foremost, ensure that your outdoor dog has a nice, warm and dry doghouse with a flat door; the base may be layered with straw and covered with a light blanket for him to comfortably nuzzle in. And hey, in winters there is nothing like an outdoor Pet (dog or cat)! As temperature levels drop, please bring your pets indoors.
• A small increase in the quantity of feed is strongly advised. Like us, they also burn more calories to keep themselves warm and also while exercising. As the rule goes, the more your pet is outside, the more is the requirement for food which acts as a fuel. So keep refueling to ensure smooth running!
• Make available fresh drinking water in plenty. Once more, pets similar to us lose a lot of moisture through the process of breathing, which if not reimbursed, can lead to dehydration. For places where temperature dives below ZERO, please ensure you keep the water bowls free of any ice.
• Drying and flaking of dog skin can cause a loss of insulating ability in his coat and is pretty much normal for this season and time of the year. Should you notice the above, simply try adding a tablespoon of regular vegetable oil (nothing fancy) to his food once every few days after having consulted your veterinarian.
• Winters demand extra vigilance; observation and quick reactions. How temperatures are when winter starts to set in vis-à-vis few weeks, or may be days, down the line is a completely different ball game. It is during this freeze time that wind chills can easily penetrate through short fur leaving the animal, in many cases, with frostbitten paws. Dog Coats, Fleece Sweat-Shirts, Woolen Jackets, Woolen Neckerchiefs and of course shoes among others will guarantee warmth for your pet. With availability of the above in quite a fantastic range and variety, your pet’s sure to be the next show stopper! Lest you observe shivering in the pet’s body, immediately cease all outdoor activity and get the pet inside the home at once.
• A well groomed dog is a well bred dog! Please groom your dog regularly for it needs a nice and tidy coat for proper insulation with no hair strands forming knots. For short or coarse haired dogs, the above suggested woolens will work the best while for their long–haired friends, very careful trimming of excess hair around the toes and footpads to ease in cleaning is the order of the day.
• IMPORTANT…!!! Please do not leave your dog alone in a car. In case the car’s engine is left running carbon monoxide builds up and could harm your hog.
• Use of Fireplace, room heaters and heat convectors is quite common in almost all homes as supplemental sources of heat. However, all such add-on’s can have severe effects of your dog’s body, for exposure to sudden heat and then a sudden variation of outside temperature works very negatively for them. Be it a fireplace, room heater or heat convector, please ensure that all such heat sources have screens and the portable ones like heaters are kept out of their bound at all times.
• If you want to take your dog for a routine walk during the peak of winter please try and minimize the distance of your stroll. Staying in the vicinity of your house is most advisable incase of an emergency. Additionally, you have to be watchful of your dogs body temperature at all times while walking in cold weather.
• Yes they love to play and have fun and seeing them at their playful best state is a treat to our eyes; however be careful even a small injury can prove critical since in the winter season, the healing process of the body is at its slowest. Don’t stop any activity- just be a bit more careful!
• Finally- if you do see an animal left out in the cold, please be so kind to inform its owner or the local animal welfare agency. Explaining to neglectful pet owners is difficult but not impossible and the only cure to this ignorance is education. Your one simple act of kindness will warm the animal’s three winter months!
The ever so admired Percy Bysshe Shelley had once said “O, wind, If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?". I wish you and your pet- great health, buoyant spirits and tons of fun this winter season. And I’m sure you do know that whenever the two of you come back home after a nice stroll on one of these chilly days, the cup of hot coffee or hot chocolate is waiting only for you and not your best friend…!!! Take care.
About Rajat Handa
Rajat Handa, a businessman by occupation, is an animal lover, pet aficionado and an avid horse rider based in New Delhi. By way of his company Asha Medical, he works towards bringing the very latest and best veterinary science technologies to the country of India. His meticulously designed Pet Store in Chandigarh, “Animal Kingdom…The Pet Mall”, is a one-stop solution for all your pet’s needs including a fully equipped Veterinary Clinic, modern grooming Parlor and even a library.
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