Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pooches: On Winterizing your Dog (and Your Elderbull!)

Lately we've been realizing our Chicago SociaBulls Group is almost like a real-life Pinterest board; so many of our dog friends have such great snippets of information. On a recent walk, we overheard the people of Maria and former foster dog Boris (now Radar) talking about some extra things they do to prepare the pups for winter--especially since Maria is an Elderbull. Of course we were intrigued, and we begged them to share.
As long time pet owners in our Chicago tundra, here are some extra things they do to prepare their pups for the winter:
In addition to dressing dogs and people appropriately for Chicago winters, here are some winterizing tips and tricks we've learned over the years to keep our pups more comfortable during cold weather. 

Pedicures 
- Keep their nails short to help pups maintain traction on slick surfaces 
-Trim the fur between their pads to minimize snow and ice build up between their toes 
-Use paw wax to help protect the pads of those pups who insist on going barefoot on salty, slushy and icy sidewalks. In a pinch petroleum jelly or baby oil can be used as a (slightly messy) substitute. 

In the home 
-Use humidifiers in the home to prevent dry, itchy skin. This is something many bullies are particularly prone to. 
-Adding fish body oil* to their diet may also help to keep their skin healthy in a dry environment 

Diet and Exercise 
 -Check you dog's waistline frequently to make sure that no one is getting tubby from more limited exercise or losing excessive weight due to the cold 
-Maintain a regular walking schedule. Our pups need exercise and mental stimulation regardless of the elements. 

For the Elderbulls Among us 
 At thirteen-ish, Maria's joints can be a little creaky some days. Cold weather can aggravate this, so we've developed a few different strategies to keep her feeling good:
-Better living through chemistry*. We've been using a few different joint supplements for a number of years, in order to offset the effects of aging. More recently, we've also added prescription pain-killers to our routine, and it's made a world of difference to her overall enjoyment of life. 
-Massage helps to loosen and warm up joints and helps with pain and mobility. It's also a great way to bond and get pups used to handling. 
-Warmth. Due to the layout and age of our home, finding a draft-free area for the pup's beds has been a little challenging. Instead we added an electic, pressure activated, heating pad to her bed to keep her joints toasty. Although this has been a great solution for us, we would caution that for dogs who cannot move if they get too hot (i.e. crated) or those who are prone to chewing on inappropriate objects (like electric cables) this may not be the best option. 

*Please consult with your veterinarian before starting your pet on any medication, including supplements. We are not a vet, and don't even play one on TV.

It was so great to hear what worked, plus so many things we had never thought of ourselves.
What are some extra things you do to prepare your pooches for the cold-weather?

Also:
How Elderbelle Maria doesn't let age be a limitation
Notice how all the photos of Boris/Radar show him jumping excitedly at my camera? Do you think he remembers us from these days.
When we knew Maria and Boris/Radar were destined to be
Bath.

8 comments:

Hannah@Eriesistibull said...

Great post!! I've recently been looking in to adding some fish oil to the pooches breakfasts. Tess has never been too much of an issue, but I've noticed Edi has gotten very flakey this winter.

Musher's Secret is on my NEED list - after carrying 40pounds of pitbull home one too many times after her paws get too cold!

sweetemaline said...

Great info! I've been considering getting Turkey a heated blanket for his bed because it gets so drafty in the house. Oh, and Boris & Maria looks adorbs in their sweaters! :)

Emily @ Our Waldo Bungie
www.ourwaldobungie.com

ohmelvin.com said...

We are using a humidifier, especially at night and the dogs are sleeping so much more comfy with far less itching!

adventuresofadogmom said...

All very good info, thanks for posting it. We have beds in various rooms for the pups in places that are warm. And, we give both fish oil and glucosamine supplements to help with skin and joints.

Two French Bulldogs said...

That paw wax stuff and wax the mushers use is suppose to be good
Benny & Lily

Two Pitties in the City said...

Thanks to Maria and Radar's family for writing such a great post! It never even occurred to me that the pooches would be feeling the same type of itchy dry skin I have in the winter too. And I especially liked hearing about the Elderbull care since it's something we're always watching for our own dogs.

jet said...

Aw, poor dry skinned pooches! The air is dry year round here and fish oil supplementation is really common. The kibble that my dogs eat has a fair bit of fish oil in it already which stopped Barbie from getting flaky. I think a humidifier might be good for me as well as the dogs though so I might look at getting one.

My Two Pitties said...

I've always given my dogs fish oil but I'm struggling because I hate the fishy breath and I love kisses from them:/ I'm going to try flax or coconut oil that is also supposed to be really good for them.

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