Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic and winner of a 2017 Arlington Chamber of Commerce Best Business Award. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.
Winter is finally here and we cannot stress enough the importance of keeping pets in a warm, protected environment this time of year. So, for this week’s post, we’re reminding everyone about some winter weather tips for our canine and feline companions. Because, even though our four-legged family members have fur, they too are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia (low body temperature) and other winter-related ailments.
What is frostbite?
Frostbite occurs when damage to the skin and underlying tissues caused by exposure to extremely cold agents and weather occurs. Sub-freezing temperatures cause constriction/narrowing of blood vessels, which after long periods of time, reduces blood flow to certain parts of the body, especially the extremities. Together, the nearly freezing temperature and reduction of blood flow can result in severe injury to the exposed tissues. This is how frostbite develops in our furry friend’s paws, ears and tails (body parts farthest from the heart and most susceptible to becoming cold). Keep in mind young animals outdoors, or those in poor body condition, are at greater risk.
- Signs/symptoms of frostbite
- Often, mild cold injury to the extremities may go undetected (toe tips, ear tips, tail tips) until changes to the skin are noted, sometimes days later
- Acutely affected animals may have pale gray or bluish areas of skin that are cool to the touch
- Body parts may be numb, overly sensitive to touch or painful
- As the affected areas of the body thaw, the tissues may become red or swollen and painful
- Skin may blister or ulcerate
- Days after the frostbite has occurred, tissues may appear shrunken and discolored and may begin to slough if the tissue becomes necrotic or dies
- Days to weeks after injury, hair loss and sloughing may occur
- What to do if your pet is suffering from hypothermia (and at risk for frostbite)
- Remove any snow from in between the paws pads
- Dry your pet off if their hair coat is wet or damp
- Wrap your pet in a blanket or towel and contact your primary veterinarian, or the closest emergency hospital for further care and diagnostics
- No matter how thick-coated your furry friend is, no pet should be left outside for long periods of time in below-freezing weather.
For those short-coated pets, this is a perfect time of the year to play dress-up with the pet winter sweaters and coats. Some pets may also benefit from booties to protect their feet. It’s best to have a few options since wet clothing can actually be more detrimental to the body, so after coming from outside, remove or change your pet’s winter gear.
A warm vehicle engine can be an appealing heat source for outdoor and feral cats as well as wildlife — but that can lead to some pretty disastrous consequences. Check underneath your car, bang on the hood, and honk the horn before starting the engine to encourage wanna-be hitchhikers to abandon their roost under the hood.
Pay special attention to your pets feet. Ice melt and collections of snow/ice can be very irritating and cause inflammation and pain between the toes. Booties, pad wax and cleaning between toes after coming inside can be very helpful to prevent irritation and to prevent/remove potential toxins (such as antifreeze).
Speaking of antifreeze — even small amounts can be deadly! It’s sweet (like sugar) and so many pets will ingest it — however it can cause severe, acute kidney failure, seizures and death. Be sure to clean any spills (no matter how small) immediately.
Many pets become lost in winter because snow and ice can hide recognizable scents that might normally help your pet find his/her way back home. Make sure your pet has a well-fitting collar with up-to-date identification and contact information. A microchip is a more permanent means of identification, but it’s critical that you keep the registration up to date. Prepare a disaster/emergency kit and prepare your pet in your plans. Make sure to stock up on food, water, prescription medications in the event of a weather emergency that may leave you stranded into house.
Test your ping pong and cornhole skills at the Happy Hour Showdown Series.
The Arlington Environmental Collection and Recycling Event (E-CARE) is back this weekend, providing residents the chance to get rid of unwanted paint, pesticides, and printer ink lying around the house….
No GOP Endorsement — “They thought about it. They talked about it. But in the end, for a variety of reasons, members of the Arlington County Republican Committee opted against…
Tour Country Club Hills to discover its lush herbage, mature trees, and the Victorian and frame houses of the area in Neighborhood Spotlight.
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9th Street Chamber Music is back in business for its second season! 9SCM is disrupting the stereotypes of classical music as stuffy, dry, and elite through dynamic yet accessible performances and its one-of-a-kind String Quartet Intensive for young musicians in the DC Metro area.[9th Street Quartet](https://www.9thstreetchambermusic.com/9th-street- quartet)’s first concert is on Sunday, October 16 at 4:00 PM. The group will offer, for the first time, a ‘Playlist Shuffle’ themed concert featuring single movements of string quartet favorites. Tickets for this concert can be found here, and are $20 for adults and FREE for all students under 18.
Rehearsals began Monday, September 27 for the String Quartet Intensive, welcoming 32 new and returning members to the program. These talented musicians in grades 7 through 12 represent over fifteen area schools throughout Northern Virginia, DC and Maryland, and are an integral part of the growing 9SCM community. Their first performance will take place on Monday, November 28 at 7:30 PM.
Mini Family & Pet Photo Sessions
Beat the rush and sign up to get your holiday photos now!
Bring your kids! Bring your dogs!
Check out the DeSilva Studios website. Look at the images and see if you like them