A NEW YEAR AND OUR MONTANA WINTER IS HERE!

sidebar-slideshow-35Winter and the holiday season has arrived.  Enjoy the days in between the cold fronts rolling in.  Here we go for another 4 to 5 months.  Outdoor  activities  become more difficult, especially with ice and extremely low temperatures.  Try to increase indoor activities, stimulation and decrease calories unless your cat or dog is involved in a lot of outdoor time.  Enrich the indoor environment with human play interactions.  Cats enjoy predator/prey toys on a wand such as a feather,  laser pointers, small mice toys or balls they can play with or carry around.  Dogs enjoy balls, squeaker toys,  tug of war toys and toys hidden in treats (just be careful of the number of treats!).  Rotate toys by putting some away for awhile, then bringing them out again.

Make sure the older dogs and smaller dogs go out to urinate, even if it is really cold, to decrease the risk of bladder infections.  Indoor/outdoor cats may use the litter box more, thus more cleaning.  Make sure it is in a private, safe, convenient area with little interruption to avoid house soiling problems from developing.

Many times the things that you have attributed to old age in your cat or dog are problems that you can do something about.  Sometimes it can be totally treated, other times the progression of a problem can be slowed down.  So watch for things like increased urination,  excessive water intake, weight loss, decreased appetite, coughing or breathing problems and growths that have recently appeared on your pet.  If your cat or dog is getting up there in age, an examination and basic blood work is fairly reasonable and an excellent place to start.  These basic tests can provide a lot of information about the health of your four-legged family member.  Every year there are new options for treating  medical issues than existed before.

For many of us, winter is a slower pace and this can be a great time to have that dental or growth removal appointment scheduled on your four legged friend  that you have been putting off.

ENJOY THE SPECIAL BEAUTY OF WINTER IN MONTANA.  PET YOU FURRY FRIEND ON THE HEAD AND STAY WARM AND DRIVE SAFE!