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Winter Is Coming!

As winter approaches and the night draws in, we all start to feel the cold. Layering up with our thermals, settling down in front of a nice warm fire with a nice hot chocolate or wacking the thermostat up are all ways that we deal with the cold and although I'm sure Teddy wouldn't say no to a hot chocolate if he managed to get his paws on it, what can we do to help our furry friends that might be more appropriate?

People with arthritis often state that they feel more pain on those days where it is wet, damp or cold so why wouldn't this be the same with our dogs?

When cold, supporting structures such as muscles, tendons and ligaments are all more prone to injury thus, leading to more pain.

Firstly, ensuring your dogs joints remain warm is key. It is best to buy a good quality coat or fleece. For Teddy, we use his Back on Track mesh sheet at night and refer to it as his Pajamas! Back on Track uses a ceramic infused material that reflects the wearer's body heat as FAR infared energy ensuring that the muscles and connective tissue stay warm thus, assisting in lessening the risk of strains/injury, promoting healing and recovery from injuries, increasing circulation and reducing swelling/inflammation. For more information on Back on Track products, visit their website or contact me to place an order.

It is also important to keep your dogs dry - not forgetting their feet! This will reduce the chances of sliding across slippery floors such as laminate or tiled flooring (I will write another blog soon on the dangers of slippery floors so watch this space!).

As it is getting dark so early now, make sure your turn on a light for your dogs evening toilet break in the garden. There are lots of trip hazards in the garden and those golden oldies who may be losing their sight, may struggle to navigate their way around the garden in low level lighting.

If it is really cold out, consider changing your form of exercise. Exercise isn't all about charging around chasing after a ball. There are many other ways to stimulate your dog. Consider playing hide and seek with your dog or filling up a kong to keep them entertained. Stimulating your dogs mind can be just as tiring as going out for a walk. Imagine having to sit down and write a 2000 word essay, it can be very mentally exhausting! This is the same for our dogs. Incorporating games that get them thinking often allows me to have a peaceful afternoon! Teaching your dogs new tricks or completing exercises I may have given you indoors, will keep your dog fit and healthy without them having to brace the cold. Remember, when it comes to exercise, little and often is key!

Now, I couldn't leave this blog without mentioning the benefits of veterinary physiotherapy and hydrotherapy during the winter months. Hydrotherapy is a great way to exercise your dogs in the winter months - particularly those dogs that love water but may not want to swim in a lake at this time of year. I know I wouldn't! Treating your dogs to a session in our underwater treadmill allows your dog to undergo a low impact form of exercise that helps to strengthen muscles and encourage a natural even gait. Not to mention that the water is a lovely therapeutic temperature of 30 degrees! A nice massage can also help to relieve aches and pains and lubricate stiff joints, making your dog feel much more comfortable in these winter months.

Now I must leave you here, my hot chocolate is waiting...

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