My human mom is fashion-hound when it comes to her own clothes, and now I think she’s lost her mind. At the pet store the other day she was trying doggie sweaters on me!! Fortunately, she didn’t find any she liked, but I’m afraid it won’t be long before she finds the perfect pullover. Or two! I’ll be the laughing stock of my doggie day care! Do I really need a sweater?
Be thankful your human mom doesn’t assume dogs never get cold because we have fur coats!
You didn’t mention what type of dog you are so determining whether you need a sweater or not is tough. Most dogs have the luxury of living indoors and only brave the cold when going out for walkies. For those dogs who must live outdoors, it’s imperative your humans give you adequate covered shelter, including heating pads under your dog bed and heated water bowls to prevent freezing.
If you are a big Malamute sled dog in Alaska, genetics gives you a thick natural coat that’s better insulation than a miniature dachshund living in Florida would have. Wearing a sweater when it’s cold won’t hurt you physically … just wound your ego. Keep your paws crossed that your mom’s good taste in human clothing will extend to canine couture.
Here are a few other things your humans should keep in mind when Old Man Winter strikes:
- I know this is a touchy subject for you, Bear, but dog booties can protect your paws from sharp objects lurking under the snow as well as from harsh de-icing chemicals. While they may look and feel funky, booties can give you better traction on ice and keep you from slipping. Your mom can apply non-toxic de-icers to the pavement around your house. They don’t contain ingredients like salt and chloride that can be rough on our paws or make you sick.
- Speaking of ice, it may seem obvious, but never walk on frozen bodies of water, no matter how sturdy it looks. Falling through thin ice into frigid water is not good for you or your human.
- Snow can be lots of fun to play in, but it hampers our normally keen sense of smell. Because ice and snow can cause you to lose your scent, more pooches get lost in the winter than any other time of the year.
- Most humans are smart enough to never leave dogs alone in the car during the hot summer months, but winter can be just as deadly. The family car traps in the cold temps and you could actually freeze to death. Brrrrr!
- Even though it may look tempting, don’t eat snow or anything you find in it. Eating snow (yellow or not) can give you a barfy tummy or hypothermia. You could even wind up scarfing down dangerous objects, like a rusty nail. OUCH!
- The most common item to avoid during the winter is also one of the deadliest: antifreeze coolants containing ethylene glycol! Animals are attracted to antifreeze because it smells and tastes so yummy, but even drinking a little bit or licking some off your paws or fur could have you soon polishing your halo! Get to a veterinarian immediately if you even suspect you’ve had a tangle with antifreeze! (Coolants made from propylene glycol are safer and still keep your human’s car from freezing.)
I hope you and your humans will keep these tips in mind whenever going out into cold weather. Tell your mom that a dog’s normal body temperature is just a few degrees higher than hers so this is a good Rule of Paw: if she feels cold outside, so do you!
The other day I straddled my mom’s votive candle and burned a couple of bald spots on my belly. It’s so embarrassing; I can’t even roll over on my side cuz everyone thinks I have ringworm. Nobody wants to touch me and humans are always washing their hands after I get chin scratches. Any suggestions?
Beam me up Spotty,
Maybe you could shave a few more places and convince everyone you’re a Dalmatian. The downside of that is that they’ll put a leash on you and want to take you for a drag.
Other than that, your mom needs to deep six her candles. Sometimes we kitties are so involved with world domination that we don’t pay a lot of attention to things that could hurt us. So if your mom feels she must burn stinky candles to mask your wonderful scent, she needs to keep them out of your reach. We don’t want you to hurt yourself or burn the house to the ground.
Everyone knows that if you tangle with the business end of a candle, you’re going to get hurt. But not many moms know those liquid potpourris aren’t your friend either. Humans cook the oily scented liquids in a crock pot to make the house smell more like spring linens and less like a litter pan. While they can’t ignite the curtains like an unattended candle, they can still make us cats smell like daisies (from the root-side.) Those scented oils can burn our mouths, skin, and eyes and make us real sick as a dog. Liquid potpourris are as dangerous as candles, but more insidious because they seem safer than an open flame.
People shouldn’t assume just cuz we’re too smart to drink it right out of the pot that we’re safe. If it spills on the counter, we might walk through it and then lick it off of our paws. Brushing up against the pot or a leaky bottle can burn your skin. Then you complicate it by taking a bath to clean off. Liquid potpourri contains essential oils and cationic detergent. It’s got nothing to do with either cats or laundry soaps.
Licking or swallowing these catty detergents can cause burns to the mouth and esophagus, stomatitis and mouth ulcers. Those ugly oral sores appear just a couple of hours after your close encounter of the oral kind.
Cationic kitties may drool, have fever, vomit, develop mouth sores, have problems breathing, and act depressed, but who wouldn’t? How sick you get depends on how concentrated the liquid is and how long you have it on or in you.
That stuff will hurt dogs, but they don’t tend to get into this kind of trouble cuz they aren’t limber enough to jump up on counters and tables where people cook it.
Even dried potpourri could cause you problems, but it’s usually not as dangerous as the liquid stuff. Anything containing lilies could ruin your day in the big way.
If you manage to get into that liquid potpourri, your mom should immediately give you a bath with mild dish soap (like she uses for hand washing your food and water bowls) or a non-insecticidal pet shampoo. Regardless of whether you get the stuff on you or inside you, a trip to the vet is in order. You could spend several days in the cat hospital having people shoving medicine in all your orifices. Where there aren’t openings, they’ll make their own with those pointy things. Drinking milk will help dilute it, but don’t drink the oil just to get a saucer of the white stuff.
Mom’s best bet is to drop a little oil on a light bulb out of your reach. That will make the house smell like flowers and keep you out of harm’s way. If your mom just likes the looking at the flicker of the flame, she can try some of those new flameless candles.
If she’s afraid you’ve come in contact with liquid potpourri, Mom should call ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435. It’s not a free call, but it could save your life.
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