Fall & Winter
Fall Feeding Frenzy: Pet Diabetes Awareness Month
November, the month of Thanksgiving, is also Pet Diabetes Awareness month, which is not a coincidence. While you are digesting your own dietary indescretions this thanksgiving, it is a great time to think of your pet’s diet and how it can affect their overall health or predispose them to diseases like diabetes. Interestingly, some cases of diabetes in cats can be resolved by a simple diet change, while dogs with diabetes are predisposed to developing cataracts.
You can be your pet’s greatest advocate. You know your pet better than anyone else, so you know when your pet is not feeling well. Some signs of diabetes include increased thirst and urination, weight loss despite increased appetite, and poor hair coat. If you are suspicious that your pet may have diabetes, please contact us and schedule an appointment. Diabetes is relatively easy to diagnose, and it is very treatable with dedication between you and your veterinarian. Each pet requires frequent reassessment, and treatments are tailored towards your pet’s individual needs.
With your compliance at home with treatments, and guidance from your veterinarian, pets with diabetes can be well managed. Some things that may help you and your pet is keeping a log of insulin doses and feeding times, as well as monitoring your pet’s diet.
Winter Pet Care
Despite your pet’s thick hair coat, winter can be hard on them as well. The following are some guidelines to help keep you and your pet safe this winter:
- Be careful with space heaters and indoor fires. Your pet is attracted to the heat as we are, so make sure they don’t get their tail or other parts caught in the heater or fire. Pets knocking over space heaters can also put you at risk for a house fire.
- Provide your pet with a bed and shelter in a warm room on chilly nights. Many people think that our pets can tolerate the winter better than we can because of their thick coats. However, very cold and wet weather can still put your pet at risk for serious illness.
- For you and your pet’s safety, have your furnace checked for carbon monoxide emissions before turning it on.
- Make sure your pet has access to fresh, non-frozen water at all times. Heated water bowls can be purchased at any pet store and many retail stores.
- Keep in mind that your pet’s overall health can affect how long it can tolerate being outdoors in the cold. Conditions like kidney disease, diabetes, and heart disease can compromise your pet’s ability to regulate their own body temperature. Pets with these conditions should not be left outside in the cold for long periods of time.
- Very young or very old animals are especially sensitive to the cold. The cold can be especially hard on older dogs with arthritis as this can cause the joints to be stiff.
- Pets that go outdoors can pick up ice, rock salt, and other chemical ice melts on their pads, which can cause their paw pads to become dry and chapped. Wipe your pet’s paws off after going outdoors to prevent this.
- Check under your hood, honk, or rap on the hood of your vehicle. Cats will often curl up next to the engine of your vehicle to stay warm in the winter.
- Be careful of ice if you live by a pond or a lake. Pets can easily fall through the ice and it is difficult for them to escape.
- Breeds that deal better with the cold are long-haired breeds like Huskies. Short-haired breeds like Dachshunds will become cold more quickly. Small or toy breeds will also become cold more quickly.
- Clinical signs of cold/exposure: appearing anxious, shivering, whining, slowing down/not moving, and looking for places to burrow. If the animal reaches a state of hypothermia (meaning they can no longer prevent their body temperature from dropping), you may see muscle stiffening, decreased/no response to stimuli, and breathing and heart rate slowing.
- While putting antifreeze in your vehicles for the winter, please keep it out of reach of dogs or cats as ingesting small amounts of this material causes acute kidney failure. Signs of antifreeze toxicity include wobbly/drunk behavior in the first 12 hours, increased drinking, and lethargy. Ingestion of antifreeze can be fatal if not treated within 4 to 8 hours.