Greyt Inspirations Life

A little about our life, our business and our pets.

Winter Tips

Winter is really beginning to hit hard in many places. It’s been cold here where I live (22 degrees this morning — brrrr!) and there was a big power outage in parts of New England this week. It’s a good idea to think about your dog’s needs when it gets this cold, whether he lives indoors or outdoors.

Make sure you keep fresh water available for your dog at all times. You can’t depend on snow or ice as a water source, and you really don’t want to encourage your dog to drink too much from these sources. Your dog needs as much water in winter as in summer to keep from becoming dehydrated.

Your dog may need extra calories in the winter, so consider increasing his food amounts. This is especially true if your dog lives outdoors or works or plays outdoors a lot. it takes a lot of energy to keep the body warm in winter so those calories will be used.

Take care of your dog’s paws. Snow and ice both present hazards to your dog’s paws. They can accumulate between the toes and ball up on the fur causing cuts and cracks. So, dry your dog’s feet off after he’s been in snow or ice. You can protect your dog’s pads with either petroleum jelly (vaseline to most of us), or with products made for paws.

Keep your dog groomed in the winter. Grooming helps keep the dead hair removed so the body can insulate itself. Towel dry your dog or even blow dry him if he gets wet outdoors this time of year.

Keep your dog warm and out of drafts. Use blankets or pads on the floors in areas that may be tiled or uncarpeted. If your dog sleeps outdoors make sure he has good shelter, such as a doghouse with layers of warm, dry bedding.

Dogs are susceptible to the same winter problems as people. They can suffer from cold and get frostbitten, and snow and ice can do a number on them. Many dogs love to play in the snow but they can slip and slide in it and on ice and injure themselves, so try to supervise them when they’re outside. Watch out for antifreeze poisoning, too. People use a lot of it this time of year and the taste is very enticing to dogs.

There are fun things to do with your dog this time of year. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean your dog has to hibernate until spring. I know a lot of people who find ways to let their dogs be part of the holiday festivities. One friend likes to get her dog’s picture made with Santa. She also takes her dogs out, wearing their reindeer ears and other Christmas things, to visit people in nursing homes and kids in school. I know someone else who belongs to a caroling group and who takes her dog with her (in costume) when they go singing through the neighborhood. Her dog is always a big hit. Other people have dogs that play a role in their Christmas plans at home, playing with guests, entertaining everyone.

Your dog can even motivate you to get out and get some exercise this time of year. A couple of years ago one woman used her dog as a way to lose weight. She even wrote a book about this weight loss method. On her diet she said she couldn’t eat anything that smelled good or made noises — if she did, it would make her dog come running to get some, too. You can put your dog to work this winter to start your own diet, if that’s one of your goals. (It’s always one of mine.) All the exercise is good for your dog, too.

December 21, 2008 Posted by | General | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The 12 Days of Christmas

The 12 Days of Christmas – Make it a Happy Holiday for Your Dog

Make the holidays as enjoyable for your dog as they are for the rest of your family.

1. Walk the dog
You both will benefit from the exercise and bonding. If your home is a beehive of activity and strangers, exercise is a good way to burn off the excess energy and stress your dog may be experiencing.

Only walk in the daylight only when it’s not snowing or sleeting so that you can see the sidewalk to avoid icy patches.

A warm coat and boots are desirable for toy breeds and older dogs.

Keep the weather in mind. Judge the length of time spent on the walk, depending on how cold it is. If the temperature is below freezing, find an indoor activity instead.

2. Beware the salt
Not just on your table but on your sidewalks and streets. If you don’t use doggy boots, be sure to wash your dog’s paws off in a bowl of warm water when you return home from your walk, the salt from the road can be uncomfortable for your dog. This also will melt any snow or ice he has trapped in his paws. Be sure to dry thoroughly. 

3. Protect your Christmas tree and its decorations from your dog and visa versa
Many dogs love to chew strings, like electrical cords for lights. They also love gift-wrapped packages. Don’t leave your dog (or a visitors dog) unsupervised near your tree especially if there is chocolate or food in any of the gifts. Dogs can smell chocolate or food through wrapping, plastic and packaging.

4. Sweep up fallen debris
Evergreen and pine needles can get caught in a dog’s paws. Tinsel, ribbon and wrapping can cause choking.

5. Make sure Santa, not your dog, gets the Santa treats
If you have small children who leave milk and cookies for Santa, make sure you don’t leave your dog alone in the room with the treats. Not only will your children be disappointed, but sugar, chocolate and milk are not good for dogs.

6. Keep a lid on trash bins
What dog could resist the wonderful smells coming a trash can? Don’t let your dog help himself to bones, fats and other foods that may be bad for him. If you use plastic bags, use a plastic tie to keep them closed or better yet, remove the temptation.

7. Keep plants off limits
Do not leave holly, mistletoe and yew plants at floor level. These can look like an after-dinner desert to your dog and many plants can cause stomach upset and even serious injury. Keep plants out of reach of your dog.

8. Use familiar bedding
If you travel with your dog, take along his bed and/or blanket, that will help him feel secure and more comfortable. Ask any of your guests who are bringing their pets to bring their bedding as well.

9. Examine your dog’s toys
Use December to examine your dogs toys for wear and tear. Discard toys that have been chewed and ripped and have parts that could come off and get caught in your dog’s throat or stomach. It’s also a good idea to take a familiar toy for your dog if you travel over the holidays.

10. Find a quiet place
Have a safe room for your dog. Many dogs, especially older dogs, do not like to be in the center of the commotion all day long. Be sure to have a quiet place where your dog can be alone. If you travel with your dog, find an area where you can put his blanket or mattress out of the way. If you have a crate or carrier that your dog is familiar with, it may be a good idea to bring that along so that your dog can spend his/her quiet time there.

11. Watch those calories
It’s understandable that you would like to fix a special Christmas meal for your best friend, but don’t forget the calorie count or foods that are toxic to your pet. Also, don’t let well-meaning family or friends give your dog human food. The salt, fat and spices could upset your dog’s digestive system.

12. Share your dog’s good fortunate with others
If your dog gets toys or treats he doesn’t want or can’t use, consider donating them to your local dog shelter or a rescue group rather than returning them. If you had to travel without your dog and miss your canine companionship, see if a local shelter could use your help walking or playing with some dogs.

December 4, 2007 Posted by | General | , , , | 1 Comment