Brrr! The polar vortex has arrived! Looks like we're in for another winter of Nordic temps. Have you "winterized" your Basenji?
Just as you would protect your car from winter's assault, it's crucial to keep your Basenji safe and healthy during cold weather. Below are a some good tips from the American Veterinary Medical Association.
*Schedule a preventative care exam. Cold weather may worsen some medical conditions such as arthritis. Elderly dogs, dogs with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances (such as Cushing’s disease) may have a harder time regulating their body temperature, and may be more susceptible to problems from temperature extremes. Have your vet examine your Basenji to rule out any potential problems.
*Know the limits. A Basenji has little protection from the cold, and tolerance for low temps can vary from dog to dog based on their coat, body fat, activity level, and general health. You will probably need to shorten your daily walks while the weather is severely cold, not only to protect your Basenji, but also to protect YOU!
*Watch out for poisons! During walks, your dog’s feet, legs and belly may pick up de-icers, antifreeze, or other chemicals that could be toxic. When you get back inside, wipe down (or wash) your pet’s feet, legs, and belly to remove these chemicals.
*Protect paws from salt. Salt is a common irritant and is almost impossible to avoid if you walk your Basenji on paved city streets. Doggie booties, or Muttluks, are the best protection (Basenjis usually need a small size); but if these are not an option, then be sure to check your pet's paws after every walk, and use a damp cloth to remove any debris.
*Provide choices. As we all know, Basenjis prefer comfortable sleeping places and may change their location based on their need for more or less warmth. Give them some safe options to allow them to vary their sleeping place to adjust to their preferences.
*Be prepared. Cold weather also brings the risks of severe weather conditions, blizzards, and power outages. Prepare a disaster/emergency kit and include your pet in your plans. Have enough food, water, and medicine (including any prescription medications and heartworm and flea/tick preventives) on hand to get through at least 5 days.
Do you have any other winterizing tips? We'd love to hear your stories and comments. Til next time, keep calm and hug your Basenji!