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indoors to get warm. Lethargy, decreased respiration (15 to 35 breaths per minute is normal for a healthy dog) and unresponsiveness are all signs of hypothermia that warrant an immediate visit to your vet.

Frostbite is a difficult thing to detect in dogs because the telltale signs don’t show up right away, but a pale and very cold ear, toe or tail can be a hint. If you suspect your dog has frostbite in one of these extremities, soak the suspected area in warm water for 20 minutes and then see a vet for evaluation. It is important that you never rub frostbitten tissue since the friction of the ice crystals inside the tissue can do long-term damage.

Snow and ice, though only occasional players in Triangle weather, create additional concerns for dog owners. Outdoor stairs should be cleared of ice, since dogs can slip and fall down icy steps just as easily as people can. Paths should be cleared for smaller breed dogs that can have a hard time walking through deep snow. Surprisingly, snow can also short-circuit a dog’s powerful sense of smell, so it’s important to keep your dog from wandering off leash after a snowstorm or they might become disoriented and unable to find their way home.

Snow, and the chemicals laid down to melt it, can get stuck in between a dog’s toes. Many dogs lick their

paws to stop this irritation only to ingest the chemicals, which results in inflammation of the digestive tract. To prevent this from happening, check in between Rover’s toes for ice and salt when he comes in from outdoors. You can also wipe the pads of the feet to make sure no chemical residue is left to irritate them.

Long-haired breeds should have the fur on their feet clipped even with the pads to prevent snow and salt from collecting on their feet. It’s not uncommon for dogs to develop cracked, and sometimes bleeding pads, due to the ice and chemicals. A thin layer of Vaseline or baby oil can be applied to the pads to help with this, but be prepared for your pal to lick this salve as well. Booties to protect your dog’s feet from the elements can also be purchased from most pet supply stores.

If you’re simply not a cold weather fan and the local gym is your answer to winter fitness, why not make use of the doggie daycare provided by many pet stores and boarding facilities throughout the Triangle? As long as your pooch is up-to-date on their vaccinations and plays well with other dogs, they can stay fit by playing with their fellow canines in an indoor setting.

Overall, the key to keeping your dog healthy is to provide regular opportunities for exercise all year-long, even when the mercury drops.

Make RESCUE your favorite breed.

Adopt your next best friend from the Animal Protection Society of Durham.

Animal Protection Society of Durham @ The Durham County Animal Shelter

2117 E. Club Blvd., Durham, NC 27704 WWW.APSOFDURHAM.ORG

Isabella - Photo by Bull City Dogs The Triangle Dog T Volume 2 • Issue 1 37

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