Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful

dog wearing a sweaterOh the weather outside is frightful, but it’s your job to keep your pup delightful!

Dogs might have a shaggy winter coat (some breeds, at least) but this doesn’t mean they’re OK outside in cold weather. If you’re cold, so it your pooch.

If you can, let your pet stay inside during cold times. Make sure their bed or crate is away from a drafty area. If they must stay outside during the day, an insulated doghouse  filled with clean, dry hay will help them find refuge from the cold. It’s even better if it has a door to block wind.

If you’re at risk of frostbite, so is your pup! Don’t allow them to be exposed to extremely cold temperatures for long  periods of time. If you do go for a romp through the snow, knock snow and ice off their feet as soon as you come back inside. The pads of their feet are very sensitive to extreme temperatures.  Make sure you dry off their coat, especially any hair that hangs down close to the ground.

Another good reason to wipe your pet thoroughly after they come inside is that some chemicals used for snow removal can be toxic to your dog. Salt and other de-icers can irritate their feet and skin and should be wiped off immediately.

‘Tis the season for antifreeze, but make sure it stays in your car. Your pup might like to lick it because it has a sweet taste, but it can be fatal to pets, causing kidney failure.

Another cold weather car hazard is its warm engine. Pets might seek shelter in the mechanical areas of a recently driven car. Honk your horn before driving off to startle any sleeping pet out of the car engine.

Finally, in the cold months, check to make sure your dog’s water bowl isn’t frozen over and you may have to adjust their food intake to help them regulate their body heat. Ask your vet about appropriate amounts of food and how to adjust it.

TIP: Just as you have to be careful of your dog in cold weather, you have to be just as careful with indoor space heaters and fire places. Sometimes your pet can’t control that wagging tail. Keep heaters away from places where pets can knock them over or get their tails caught and keep fireplaces well protected as well.

Published 2/04/20

Pet Club: Vaccines

Dog and CatIt’s time to go back to school and you know what that means: school supplies, new clothes, vaccinations.

It’s not just your kids who need their annual vaccinations to be healthy, happy and able to be around their classmates.  Your pets need their annual vaccinations as well.

Vaccines protect your dog and cat against contagious and possibly fatal diseases, vets say.  They also help build immunity and help your pet fight future infections.

Vaccinations for your dog and cat include those to guard against rabies, feline leukemia and canine parovirus. Many of these vaccines are giving initially when your pet is very young, then boosters are administered as scheduled as they age.

Staying on schedule with vaccines is important to help your pet life a long, healthy life .Check with your veterinarian to see what your pet requires.

TIP: Heartguard, available at your local Brookshire’s, helps protect your pet against heartworms. In addition to vaccines, use these OTC medications, at the appropriate weight for your pet, monthly to keep your furry friend in optimal health. 

Published 9/6/19

Pet Club: Pets and Allergies

Dog and CatAchoo!

If springtime pollen has you sneezing, it might be affecting your dogs and cats too! Did you know pets can have allergies, too?

Yep! Your cat and dog can be allergic to foods, dust, plants, molds and pollens just like us.

Common symptoms of pet allergies include itching, sniffling and sneezing. Allergies can also disrupt your pets’ sleep and make his disposition unpleasant.

There are ways to combat seasonal allergies in pets. First, visit your vet for a proper diagnosis.

Then, wipe down your pet with a damp cloth when he comes in from outside, removing pollens and grasses that could linger on his fur.

Keep doors closed as often as possible and always keep windows shut. You might upgrade the filter in your air conditioning unit to one that helps remove airborne allergens more effectively.

You can also run a HEPA air filter in your home if you feel allergies are severe.

Pets CAN take some over the counter antihistamines, but check with your vet before giving your pet any kind of medication.

Published 5/6/19

Baby Club: Relax Baby with Massage

A friend of mine had her first baby about two weeks ago, and her response to my first post-partum text was, “No one EVER told me it was going to be like this.”

Her baby, like every baby, cries. A lot. She doesn’t always know why. Even when she’s fed, dry and comfortable, sometimes she cries.

That’s just the way it goes.

Unless your baby has an underlying medical condition, it’s going to cry for reasons we can’t always figure out.

There are some nice ways to soothe baby, though, and I suggested infant massage.

Johnson’s Bedtime Baby Lotion is a lavender-infused, hydrating lotion which is good for baby’s skin and promotes calm.  Lavender has long been used to help induce sleep and relaxation, and now it’s blended with the baby-friendly properties of Johnson’s lotions.

If you’re going to try baby massage, be sure to be very gentle. Start near baby’s torso and work your way out. You can start with baby on her tummy and gently massage her back, moving to her legs and arms, neck, shoulders and head. Then flip her over and massage her front, using light, circular movements of your thumbs, to do her tummy, arms and legs. You probably want to warm the lotion in your hands rather than squirting it directly on her skin.

After you’re finished, swaddle your baby in a soft blanket and hold her close to you until she’s drowsy, then place her in her bed and wish her sweet dreams!

TIP: Johnson’s also makes a Lavender Bath Wash. Start with that, and bathe your baby in warm water, before doing baby massage for the ultimate baby relaxation experience.

Published 02/28/19

Kids and Colds

Cold and flu season is in full swing, and it’s hard to escape without a sniffle, especially if your little one is exposed to other kids at day care, school or church.

Really, they can pick up a cold anywhere, even riding in the cart with you at the grocery store!

There are plenty of ways to mitigate cold and flu season without hibernating all winter long.

If your baby is 6 months or older, he’s eligible to get the flu vaccine. You can a get a shot at Brookshire’s pharmacy, or take him to his pediatrician for the flu mist (call ahead, not all providers offer flu mist). This not only reduces his chances of contracting the flu, but also lessens the risk of severe ramifications if he does contract the illness.

Wash hands. Wash hands a lot, using warm water and soap. Scrub for a minute.

This one is obvious, but avoid contact with people who are clearly sick themselves. In the meantime, as parents, keep yourselves healthy, so you can take care of your kids the best you can.

If your little one DOES get sick, alternating doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen can help bring down a fever (check with your pediatrician or a Brookshire’s pharmacist for exact dosage), while warm baths can help loosen congestion. Sometimes a humidifier or sitting in a steamy bathroom can also help alleviate a cough or labored breathing. If congestion becomes too severe, seek medical attention.

Bulb syringes or other suction apparatus and saline drops can help clear stuffy noses. Stock up on soft tissues to help wipe your little one’s sensitive nose.

If your child has symptoms of a cold or cough or runs fever for more than 48 hours that you can’t break, bring him in to see his pediatrician.

Published 11/29/18