Brrr. Even if you live in balmier states such as Florida and California, the temperatures in the winter months dip. In some parts of the country, they can be downright freezing! Here are some health hazards for your dog in winter.
If the temperatures dip below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, your dog could be susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite occurs when blood vessels near the skin constrict, reduce blood flow to certain areas of the body, causing those tissues to freeze. Some signs of frostbite in dogs include:
- Discoloration of the skin – becomes bluish, pale or gray
- Brittleness to the area when touched
- Pain when you touch the body part
- Blisters or skin ulcers
- Blackened or dead skin
Does the hair on your arm, neck or head ever go up involuntarily when you are stressed or overexcited? In humans it is called “goosebumps” but in dogs it’s called “hackles”. The medical term in dogs is piloerection, with pilo meaning hair. Hair doesn’t talk yet it does tell the emotional state of a dog. It is a dog’s way of communicating his feelings. Cats, rats, birds and humans all share the same reaction. Porcupines use this for protection to scare off predators.
A dog’s hackles run down its neck, backbone, shoulder and to the base of its tail. All dogs have hackles, but it is more obvious in certain breeds than others. You can’t see hackling as easily in breeds with longer and fluffier hair, while breeds with short hair tend to show their piloerection more clearly.