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Rugby vet offers winter tips for pets

December 8, 2017
Bonnie Remmick - Tribune Reporter , Pierce County Tribune

Keeping your pet safe this winter and holiday season requires just a few things. Keeping them indoors and dry before going outside is important. Wet animals are more prone to developing hypothermia. Make sure your pet is thoroughly dry before going outside after a bath.

Pierce County's Rick Lagasse, DVM from the Rugby Veterinarian Clinic gave recommendations for the winter care for pets. He advised dogs need to be considered on a case by case basis. "Small and medium size dogs should not be outside for extended periods of time. Vaccinations should be current, and a heated water bowl outside for animals to have access to, that stay outside for any length of time, along with a dry bed to keep them up off the frozen ground," he said.

Lagasse said winter dogs like Huskies can tolerate very cold weather. Husky dogs actually do well in -20 to -30 degree weather in Alaska when they are running the Iditarod race. Locally here, long haired larger dogs, with the exceptions of Labrador Retrievers do quite well. Every dog should have access to water and a dry bed. Smaller dogs and medium dogs should not stay outside, and walks should be of shorter lengths than summer walks. Finding an indoor way to exercise is better.

For Ice Melt that is put on driveways and walkways, wipe down the pet's paws when coming back into the house. The product is caustic to the animals feet. Normally the pet will not eat enough of it to harm itself, but the paws can have chemical irritations if left on.

One thing Lagasse wanted to warn people about is that at this time of year, cats in particular will climb into the engine area for warmth. "Its a good idea to tap your horn and wait before starting your engine. Several animals have already been hurt this year," he said.

Just as in summer when temperatures get hot, remember that winter weather in the car is not suitable for small and medium size animals for very long periods. Do not leave pets in the car. Protect them from wind, so leave the windows up in the car if you must leave them at all.



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