Just like people, pets require special care during those long winter months to protect them from painful joints, arthritis, and other cold weather ailments. Here are some winter pet tips from Dr. Hillary Cook, a holistic veterinarian who works with NHV Natural
Pet Products, makers of veterinarian-approved and formulated plant-based natural supplements from organically grown and wild crafted herbs, to keep your pet safe and happy this winter.
Winter Walks – After walking your dog during the winter months, make sure to towel dry them completely. Take extra care around paw pads. Wipe this area with a wet clean cloth to remove any salt or chemicals from the road. Rub NHV Heal Care Ointment on cleaned paw pads to protect and soothe. Without proper care, pet paw pads can become dry, cracked and very painful. For other pets, like cats, outside time should be limited, since they may seek warmth in unsafe places, such as a car radiator.
Shake Off Those Winter Blues – Most pet owners tend not to take dogs and other pets out for long periods of time during the winter, because it’s understandably too cold even for us humans. However, pets need still need exercise and mental stimulation. A lack of both these needs may cause stress, anxiety, and destructive behaviors. There are plenty of indoor games that can keep pets occupied and out of trouble. Try treat dispensing toys, puzzle toys, tread mills, exercise balls… which can keep dogs occupied for hours; for cats, a motorized mouse would work. To ease restlessness and stress from being indoors, use NHV Lesstress for dogs or NHV Matricalm for cats. These formulas help calm the nerves without affecting moods and personality, and are safe for long term use.
Happy Pets Have Healthy Skin – As the cold weather begins to blow, dogs and cats are prone to dry skin. To improve overall coat condition, and help with skin issues from the inside-out, add omega-3 fatty acids to their diet. Studies show that dogs and cats given omega 3 fatty acids (try NHV PetOmega 3) had improvement in clinical signs of pruitis, self trauma, coat character, and alopecia (loss of hair).
Staying Cozy – Cats and dogs feel the chill of winter extra deep in their bones (just like us people!). Be sure to give them more blankets during the winter months. If taking small dogs outside, dress them in a sweater or jacket as they are unable to generate the heat they need themselves. Larger dogs tend to suffer the effects of stiff joints and arthritic pain, and as they need all their muscles to support their weight, keeping them limber and pain free is important. There are plenty of orthopedic beds for larger dog breeds that will help. In addition, supplement their diet with NHV Yucca and NHV Old Timer, which will aid with joint pain, soothe inflammation, and help pets suffering from arthritis. Remember to keep arthritic dogs and cats moving in the winter especially, if joints are not mobile arthritis is compounded.
Don’t Hold It! In the winter, I see an increase in UTI’s from animals holding in urine because it’s too cold outside. Make sure dogs get enough time outside to do their business. If a UTI develops see your veterinarian. You may also want to try NHV Tripsy, a natural supplement that will help support the health of the kidneys and bladder throughout the winter months.
Watch That Winter Weight: Less exercise means less calories are expended, and is true for any indoor dog who is not going out for their regular walks. Follow recommended feeding guidelines for your dog, but do not over feed. However, if dogs are housed outside, they need more calories. Studies suggest that dogs who are exposed to low temperatures need three times the normal calories as they would need in moderate temperature. Use NHV Multi Essentials, a herbal multivitamin to fill nutritional gaps for outdoor and indoor pets. Both NHV and myself as a veterinary practioners strongly recommend that pets be housed indoors, especially in the winter.
Don’t Get Close To The Heat – In an effort to stay warm, pets may get too close to heat sources, which can be dangerous. Be sure to keep fireplaces gated or closed, and heat sources like baseboard heaters and radiators out of reach from pets. Should pets accidentally burn themselves, take the animal to the vet right away. For after emergency care of burns use NHV All Clear Ointment and NHV Ouch Away Spray to help heal external trauma, fight infections, and reduce inflammation.
Dr. Hillary Cook, NHV's lead holistic vet, is a graduate of Virginia Maryland Regional Veterinary Medical school. She has been practicing holistic and integrative veterinary medicine for fifteen years. She certified in Veterinary acupuncture and is fully qualified in Western and Chinese herbalism. She is the owner of Animal Wellness Center, an integrative veterinary clinic in Crozet, VA.
NVH NATURAL PET PRODUCTS provides veterinarian-formulated supplements derived from natural botanicals to support the health and well-being of pets including dogs, cats and small animals. In addition to the safe and effective manufacture of a full-line of Veterinarian-approved pet supplements that contain organically grown and cultivated herbs and botanicals, NHV also offers vet consultations to provide professional support and guidance for disease prevention and treatment for over 43 conditions. For more tips, visit www.nhvnaturalpetproducts.com.