Keep your Labrador Happy and Healthy this Winter
Although Labs are hardy animals with a coat that provides great resistance to cold weather, we still need to keep an eye on them during the winter. So, with that in mind, here are a few tips for keeping your Lab happy, safe and healthy during the colder months.
Dogs, like people, tend to want to eat more during colder weather. This is because they’ll need to burn more calories to stay warm. Whilst it’s fine to increase his food intake slightly, don’t overdo it.
Salt and products used for de-icing pavements and roads can cause your dogs paws to become cracked and sore. You can help prevent this by washing your Labs paws with warm water after his walk. Dry them thoroughly with a soft towel afterwards.
Perform thorough checks on your dogs paws regularly. Look for cracked pads and redness between the toes.
One way to prevent paw problems during cold weather is to massage petroleum jelly into their paw pads. This helps to stop salt and chemicals getting into the pads and causing damage.
Alternatively, you could try using dog booties. Many dogs don’t like wearing these though. When I first put a set of booties on my Lab, Monty, he walked like he had four wooden legs for a while. He soon got used to them though.
Yup, even Labs, a breed that has been bred to swim in icy waters are susceptible to frostbite in extreme temperatures. Frostbite is difficult to spot in dogs because the affected area is usually covered in fur.
Areas most likely to be affected are the ears, tail and feet.
SIGNS TO LOOK OUT FOR:
- Skin discoloration. A frostbitten area may appear pale or grey in colour. It will feel cold and hard to touch.
- As the skin warms, the area will redden, swell and become painful.
- After a few days the affected area will become dry and scaly. In severe cases, the skin will turn black and fall off.
If you suspect that your dog has frostbite, resist the urge to rub or massage the affected area. This can do more harm than good. Take your dog to a vet as soon as possible.