Now daylight saving has finished there is no denying winter is on its way and it is time to find the electric blanket and get out the woolly hat. Cold weather and dark nights can take their toll on us, well how about our pets? Here are some ways we can help our older dogs get through the winter whilst maintaining optimal health.
Having a high quality diet is essential whatever your dog’s life style. Some dogs especially those that are kenneled will be prone to weight loss as they burn more energy keeping warm on the colder days and nights. If your dog does spend time kenneled it is important to consider the size of the kennel, dogs can curl up to be very small and during the winter months it is best that they fit snugly into their kennel. Kennels can also be insulated and warm beds provided. Use of a well fitting good quality dog coat will also help.
However the majority of older dogs which live inside will actually find themselves becoming less active as winter arrives potentially struggling with weight gain. Stiffness can also be a problem for our older pets and is exacerbated by the cold. Be aware of your pets weight and exercise regime, slim and trim is good as is maintaining a constant amount of regular exercise. Both supplements and diets containing glucosamine and chondroitin are available which will help maintain the health of your pets’ joints. Provision of a soft or raised bed, out of draughts will help prevent pressure points and calluses developing.
If you have any questions regarding your pet’s diet, weight or health please come into one of our clinics and ask our staff. We have a range of ‘Winter” products – call in and see how you can win beds for your pet and a wool underlay for yourself!
One of the more interesting or unusual jobs we are involved in is helping the staff at Kiwi Encounter with some of their Kiwi eggs that are not following ‘the script’ when it comes to hatching.
In some cases we have to xray the egg to help identify where the chick’s bill is to ensure it is pointing into the air sac at the top of the egg. This air sac allows the chicks to breathe as they enter into the hatching phase.
In some cases the bill is not in the correct position (malpositioned) and the staff at Kiwi Encounter have to find where the bill is and place a small hole in the egg shell to allow to chick to breathe. In some cases they may even have to assist the chick to hatch.
The timing of any assistance needs to be very precise because this final stage of incubation is when the chicks ‘internalize’ all the yolk in the egg providing the chicks with energy/food over the first few days of life outside the egg.