Monday, February 17, 2014

Pooches: On Winterizing Your Dog (and Elderbull)

As we are just returning from our break, we wanted to run this guest-post again with some really great information about Winterizing your dog, especially for all of the Elderbulls out there.

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. 

- 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?

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
Check our Facebook page for more photos, comments, and storylines beyond the blog


Kirsten said...

These are awesome tips. I just have two to add:
* I add coconut oil (about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon) to my dogs' meals. It's great for their coats and has too many other health benefits to list here.
* My bigger boy is prone to getting those raw/rough patches on his elbows from lying on the hearth. Bag Balm works really well to restore his skin. Cutting the toe out of a baby sock and making an elbow patch helps keep the Bag Balm on and discourages licking (and , heh, is also cute).

My Dog Barry said...

Yes, everything Kirsten said. Coconut oil is great for Barry's coat & skin and he also can't get enough of the taste.

I also love Bag Balm and we use it on Barry's feet, the tip of his tail, any rough patches or little sores he gets. The stuff is great and a little goes a long way. Though, he tends to lick much of it off...

Two French Bulldogs said...

Good post since many news stories lately talk bout how some people think they could tie their pups outside in freezing temps. Coconut oil is so good for so many things

A Wonderful Dogs Life said...

We wear layers when it's really cold. We wear hoodies under our coats. We also wear booties and snoods.

Don't forget winter travel. Plan ahead just in case there is a problem along the way. We take an extra coat to put over the coat and hoodie set already being worn, we take along extra blankets in case we have to wait for help. It would also be a good idea to pack along some water, kibble, meds if your taking any, and shovel.

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