Nebraska Airedale Terrier Association

HOT TOPICS!!!!!

FIRST FROST!

Many predators and parasites have not survived it! (Flies, mosquitoes, ticks, worms, etc.) But...have YOU "winterized" your dog and your dog's environment to survive the vestiges of winter???? Your dog may relish the cooler temperatures but you may have him/her ill-prepared for the onslaught of winter!

SURVIVAL STRATEGIES:

As in the summer months when "humidity" contributes to the "heat index"; so, too, in the winter months, "wind" contributes to the "wind chill factor"! Temperature gauges do not reflect these factors and, therefore, are inadequate in providing a barometer of outdoor "safety" for your pet! (In other words, the "reported" temperature may be 32 degrees but the "wind chill factor" might be 0 degrees; the "reported" temperature may be 91 degrees but the "heat index" may be 105 degrees)!

*Exercise caution--limit your pet's exposure to the elements!!! Any extremes in temperatures (wind chills or heat indices) are potentially life-threatening to your pet!

The Airedale's natural coat is intended to provide a buffer to its environment--protecting it from weather elements and temperature extremes! The Airedale, as a double-coated breed, has the added protection of an "undercoat" which insulates as well as waterproofs! If, however, you compromise this natural protective coat, you may be rendering your Airedale susceptible to frostbite and/or hypothermia!

*(Keep your Airedale's coat appropriate to the elements! Longer coats in colder temperatures, shorter coats in warmer temperatures! Unless you're showing your Airedale in the winter months or live in a "temperate" climate, it might be best not to be too assiduous in removing undercoat or trimming too closely! Leave your Airedale in a little longer coat)!

FROSTBITE: Airedales exposed to the elements in the winter months may suffer from frostbite! Exposed skin (ears, tail, paws, genitalia, and other extremities are most susceptible to frostbite)! Frostbite and hypothermia often go hand-in-hand! Frostbitten skin initially appears a whitish-blue; however, as circulation returns, affected tissue turns bright red. Eventually this tissue may swell and blacken! The blackened (dead) tissue will generally peel off or disintegrate within a few weeks.

*(To treat frostbite: Apply warm (not hot or cold) compresses to the affected tissues in 10 to 20 minute intervals! Your attempt here is to PREVENT FURTHER DAMAGE TO POTENTIALLY AFFECTED TISSUES!!!!! Do not abrade affected or potentially affected tissue(s) by rubbing or massaging--this will only cause more damage! Affected tissue will probably not regenerate!!!)

HYPOTHERMIA: occurs when a dogs' body temperature drops dangerously low (95 degrees or lower)! Hypothermia can occur for a variety of reasons (i.e., it may be anesthesia-induced); however, "temperature/climate-induced" hypothermia may result when your Airedale's coat gets wet in freezing temperatures (swimming or falling in a lake or pond), the successive melting/freezing of accumulated topical precipitation that permeates your Airedale's undercoat, or by prolonged exposure to frigid precipitation and temperatures.

*(To treat hypothermia: remove your Airedale immediately to a warm or heated environment; wrap your dog in towels or blankets; if your dog's coat is wet, towel dry vigorously; place hot packs--insulated hot water bottles, warmed towels, etc., under your dog's armpits and over the chest! If your dog's rectal temperature is below 95 degrees, contact your veterinarian immediately! If your dog's rectal temperature is 95 degrees or above, continue the "warming" procedure, but do not use artificial methods of "warming" which might cause burns (i.e., hair dryers or electric heating pads)! Monitor temperature every 5 minutes! If the temperature is rising, continue this therapy until the temperature reaches the normal range (99.5 to 101)! If the dog is not responding (i.e., the temperature is not rising or has not risen within 10 minutes, consult your veterinarian immediately)!

Remember also that dogs sweat only through their pads/paws--most normal living creatures "sweat" even in colder temperatures! Therefore, if you've not removed the hair between the pads of your dog's paws, that hair may accumulate moisture and that moisture combined with colder temperatures or frigid precipitation may result in literally "freezing your dog in its tracks"!

*(Make sure that you clip or scissor the hair on the underside of your Airedale's paws (it is not necessary to clip the hair between each individual pad! Simply turn the paw so that the underside faces you and scissor off any hair that extends beyond the pad!) To "de-ice", a dog "stuck in its tracks", DON'T PANIC--your dog already has and you won't help your dog by panicking! Use tepid water, hot packs, or a hair dryer to "melt" the offending ice--but keep in mind, refreezing is imminent! Act Quickly! AND BE SURE ONCE YOU'VE FREED THE DOG TO CLIP THE OFFENDING HAIR so that it doesn't happen again!!!!)

Blizzards or heavy snowfall may blunt your Airedale's natural instincts and sense of smell. Dogs often become disoriented and "unable to "scent" normally! Further, dogs off-leash may venture onto unsafe waterways (lakes, ponds, streams, etc.), and fall through the ice, creating the potential for drowning, frostbite, and/or hypothermia!

*(Never allow your dog off-leash or "free to roam" in inclement weather!)

"Ice" is a major hazard to your Airedale! For older pets with arthritic joints as well as puppies with formative joints, spills on ice can be, literally, crippling!!!! Spills on hills may be particularly traumatic! (Your pet may "roll" down the hill increasing the risk of injury AND you may have difficulty accessing your pet to provide assistance!) Shards of ice can penetrate pads or other tissue creating a painful, and potentially crippling, experience for your dog!

*(Whenever possible, remove snow from your dog's "outside" environment to prevent "icing"! Be PRUDENT!!! Grass provides better traction than gravel or cement and is less likely to "ice over"! Snow provides better traction than ice!!!! An "ice-rink" is far less desirable footing than a "snow-pack"!!!!! If your dog's "outside" environment slopes, block off the slope to confine your pet to more level terrain! Make sure your pet's nails are trimmed--long nails reduce traction on ice! Finally, use sand, hay, or straw to provide traction on ice rather than potentially toxic salts or chemical deicers!)

Ensure that your pet has adequate nutrition and hydration! Many dogs expend more energy in cooler weather than in warmer! Don't assume that "snow" is a substitute for water! It takes approximately 12" of snow to equal 1" of rain/water!!!! Always provide fresh water for your pet, summer or winter...and in the winter months make sure that the water and food sources are accessible!

*(Increase food rations when your Airedale is more active to ensure adequate nutrition for energy expended--less, generally, in the summer months, when energy expenditure is lower; more in the winter months, when energy expenditure is higher! ALWAYS ensure an ample water supply! Any mammal, humans included, can live without food for an extended period of time...but they can live without water for only a short period of time!!!)

If "outside" is your dog's primary "exercise mode" develop "inside" alternatives for play and recreation when the weather is particularly inhospitable! Though throwing frisbees might not be efficacious, bouncing tennis balls off walls, providing "recycled shipping box tunnels" or cardboard sandboxes, or creating an obstacle course might be! Be creative!

*(Limit outdoor excursions: more frequent intervals but of shorter duration!)

Be Prepared!!!! Do you have "winter" contingencies in place? If you live in the country and you have a "well-pump" that's electric, have you prepared for losing power? You not only won't have the use of your phones and appliances, you won't have water either!!! (Store Ice-cubes in your freezer to provide "water" for your pets!) If you don't have a generator for power, have you provided a "substitute" heat source? (Candles placed in tin cans can provide a welcome source of heat!)

*Insure that you have alternate sources of water, food, and heat available for you and your pet!

FOR YOUR GERIATRIC PET: Colder temperatures may be extremely difficult for your aging pet to tolerate and may exacerbate the symptoms of arthritis in older dogs! Please see: "Your Geriatric Pet"!

The Toxic Environment!

Antifreeze: Sweet surrender...of your pet's life! Antifreeze is both appealing to your pet because of its sweet taste and extremely toxic to your pet! (Unless you use a nontoxic alternative to antifreeze (such as Sierra), do not allow your pet anywhere near where your vehicles are parked or stored nor where any "run-off" of antifreeze may occur! If you use machinery to maintain your dog's outside area, make sure that it is antifreeze-free!)

Deicers and Salts: Contain chemical additives that are potentially toxic to your pet! Should your pet "walk through" treated areas and lick their paws, they may have ingested potentially lethal toxins! Be sure to check labels on any deicers you use and clean paws anytime you take your pet out and about! You can "cleanse" paws by swabbing them with a "neutralizing/sterilizing" solution of vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, or rubbing alcohol, and water)! PLEASE NOTE: many of the "ultra" bleaches now contain LYE WHICH IS ALSO POTENTIALLY TOXIC TO YOUR PET!!!!! Be Careful!!!!

Rodenticides and Pesticides: If it kills something....it's TOXIC! Of all the currently available rodenticides and pesticides on the market, there is not one, I've found, that DOES NOT POSE A POTENTIAL HEALTH PROBLEM TO YOUR PET!!!!! These "prescriptions" for rodent/pest control might include anticoagulants, hypercalcemic agents, strychnine, sodium fluoroacetate, metaldehyde, zinc phosphide or phosphorous as poison baits for rodents (insecticides are not included in this list)! And all of them have potentially lethal to toxic (i.e., they may not kill them, but they may make them very ill) implications for your pet! Your pet may suffer toxic effects by directly ingesting these poisons or by ingesting rodents exposed to these poisons!

Outdoor Pets:

The Airedale Terrier is a "rough and tumble" dog; however, it was bred in England, a country with milder climes than the USA! NATA does not endorse the premise that the Airedale Terrier is an "outdoor" dog. NATA recognizes that many conscientious breeders will not place Airedales in strictly "outdoor" environments! NATA, however, also recognizes that many of our beloved Airedales are treated as "outdoor" dogs! To that end, we recommend for ANY DOG KEPT AS AN OUTDOOR DOG:

A safe, secure, weatherproof enclosure: A structure, built off-the-ground with weatherproof insulated flooring and side walls:

Further, any dog kept out of doors should be provided:

Finally, any dog kept out-of-doors should be monitored frequently for:

Checklist:


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