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Protect Your Dog During Winter

With the first winter storm of 2014 in our midst, it’s not only time to start thinking salt, shovels and sleds, it’s time to start thinking of your four legged family member. Your family dog needs proper winter care and preventative maintenance too. Having a cozy jacket or booties on hand is great, so is having pet safe ice melt. But the essential to keeping your dog at optimum health during the winter is proper skin care and that starts with the basics.

Think about how dry our human skin gets during winter, with the constant lack of humidity, the temperature changes between inside and out coupled with the fact that we live in New England wreaks havoc on our skin. It also wreaks havoc on your dogs! Their skin and coat react very similarly to ours, it gets dry, cracked, itchy and sometimes painful.  Add in some snow, ice and below freezing temperatures (plus some good old New England dirt) and your family pet can easily turn into a stinky, itchy, sick dog.

So how do you prevent it? The obvious step, especially with today’s temperatures is to avoid or limit exposure to the elements. If your dog is going to be outside, make sure it is for small amounts of time, taking into account your dogs breed, size and coat.

Next is to make sure that your dog has proper winter attire if he is going to be playing or walking in the snow. The snow has hidden dangers such as sharp objects that may be masked by the snow, booties can help protect your dog’s feet and pads against stepping on something sharp. Another plus to booties is that you don’t have to worry about salt or ice melt exposure. If you don’t have booties, take care to walk in safe areas and if your dog steps in salt or ice melt be sure to wash his paws with luke warm water and then pat them dry once you return inside.  Remember when using ice melt or salt on your own property, the pet safe version is best. If you have a small or thin dog, it is recommended that you have a sweater or coat on hand for trips outside. If your dog is going to be outside for extended periods of time, be sure to have a heated shelter with food and a heated water bowl. However with temperatures as they are today if your dog cannot come in your home I recommend taking him to be boarded to avoid hypothermic situations.

Finally, what about that dry, itchy winter skin? Winter skin conditions in Dogs can not only be itchy and painful for your dog, but they can increase dander in your home creating bigger problems, especially if you have someone who has even a slight allergy around your home. It is best to groom your dog periodically through the winter to prevent these conditions, keeping your dog happy and healthy. Most dog owners will attempt to bathe their pet during the winter to alleviate this problem and hopefully he fits in your bath tub and you doing it effectively by using the correct treatments for your dog’s specific condition. The optimum situation is to take your dog to a groomer, one that has expertise in treating common winter skin ailments. Taking your dog to a reputable, experienced groomer is easier and more cost effective than you think. An experienced groomer such as myself has the ability to identify your dog’s skin condition and select proper treatments that will be the most effective to alleviate or help prevent further damage.

Newly opened to our community, Bark N Bubbles is located at 154 Riverlin Street in Millbury, just over the Grafton town line. At Bark N Bubbles you can bring your family dog for professional, quality and affordable Grooming, Boarding and Daycare. For more information on our services and how we can help your dog this winter call us at (508) 865-8155 or go to: www.facebook.com/BarkNBubblesMillbury .

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