A Fresh Look at a Boring List
It seems each year that the same seasonal pet articles appear. The trouble is, the audience that reads them is the audience that least needs to. In the past I have written them here for this blog, and I continue to write them for different publications at their request, but I have to wonder: who the hell benefits from these lists?
Perhaps someone benefits from the knowledge they provide but I am not sold. Here I present to you a few of my favorite and most obvious things to know about how to endure the bitter cold winter (despite the fact that I am a St. Pete Fl Vet), should you live somewhere that actually still gets a bitter cold winter. If you are experiencing an unseasonably warm season, feel free to skip straight to number one—you need to read it more than anyone.
5.Winter gear for dogs
Personally I find dog clothes a bit embarrassing, but as long as they are on your dog and not mine, I’m all for it. Still, it goes without saying, if you don’t enjoy walking with snow stuck between your toes for 15 minutes, your dog won’t either. Ice is cold and it hurts, and tiny dogs with little body fat or insulating fur will need a winter coat.
4. Antifreeze is anti-life!
Changing the coolant in your car should really be done in an auto shop as it needs to be done via pressured reverse flush. Then there is the whole fact that it is illegal in every state to dump the antifreeze down a drain, on the ground, or send it to the dump in your trash. Still, if you are someone that changes his or her own antifreeze, take note: this colorful liquid is not a superfood smoothie. Antifreeze is incredibly toxic and causes kidney failure in a very short time. Keep away from pets as they do like the smell and taste of it!
3. Apparently some people still keep their pets outside. They probably don’t call them pets actually. Still, if you keep “animals” outside, they need fresh liquid water, NOT THE FROZEN KIND, at all times. They also need a shelter of some sorts. Animals get frost bite! And it hurts! Yes, animals feel pain! Despite some old school folks’ opinions (some vets are amongst that group, shameful and humiliating to the profession, I know), it is decidedly so that pets (animals included) feel pain. I’m pretty sure if you don’t know this, you probably don’t care, and you will definitely never read this article. Animals can live happily and safely outdoors, but If you know people that aren’t aware that winter weather brings additional precautions, educate them! If they are resistant and responsible for a pet’s suffering or neglect, report their ass.
2. Indoor pets (distinctly different from those ordinary outside “animals”) may gain a little weight in the winter if their exercise level decreases.
Really? I never stopped to think that less exercise when the weather is cold and I’m too lazy and wimpy to take my dog on as long or frequent of outdoor walks means that Fido and myself are more likely to plump up a bit. Fascinating stuff! I wonder if I can secure any federal funding for a study to back this up.
1. For the last item, I will offer something useful which many pet parents seem to be unaware of. Don’t assume that cooler weather eliminates the threat of diseases like heartworm, which are spread by infected mosquitoes, or other diseases spread by ticks and fleas. These pets have been known to survive well into the winter months, thanks to indoor havens and protected microclimates existing within larger, cooler climate zones. For this reason, I strongly recommend year-round heartworm protection for dogs (cats are debatable and I see both sides of the argument) and year-round flea/tick prevention for both.
This post is not intended to offend anyone, but is simply a means for me to express my frustration with the repetition of content in the veterinary writing world, especially seasonal topics. Though I will undoubtedly continue to write them once my snarky attitude passes (I’ve got to pay the bills somehow after all), I find it a bit dull to say the least. Pet parents are smarter than this.
If you do have any unique ideas that you think are important or useful to help other pet parents prepare for winter with their pets, do please share. There has to be something new to learn out there!