Keeping Pets Healthy This Winter
by Shawn Messonnier
Winter can be fun and safe for pets with proper planning and disease prevention. Even though they don’t get the same colds, flu, and coronavirus infections we get, they can still become sick with infectious diseases (especially kennel cough when boarding, playing at day care or getting groomed.) Additionally, they also face challenges from the environment if left outdoors. Here are some tips for winterizing our pets.
1. Maximize a pet’s vitamin D levels. As with people, high levels of vitamin D are critical to minimize infectious diseases. A simple and inexpensive blood test will let tell how much vitamin D to give your pet (they don’t make vitamin D from sunlight and need supplementation.) More than 90 percent of pets in North Texas have low levels of vitamin D, predisposing them to infections and cancer.
2. Minimize time outdoors. If it’s too cold for us it’s too cold for our pets.
3. Have titer testing done. Titer testing replaces most vaccines and ensures your pet has immunity against most common infectious diseases.
4. Be careful with holidays. Holidays pose risks to pets, including overeating, eating “people” food and treats, noise and anxiety, and toxicity from holiday decorations and chocolate. Talk with a veterinarian about ensuring a safe holiday for pets.
5. Don’t neglect a pet’s care this winter. Even though we’re usually busy with holiday tasks, don’t forget to take time to update a pet’s preventive care. Titer testing, refilling supplements and having necessary procedures such as dental treatment are best done when we have free time, and the holidays usually offer a break from work and more time to take care of our own health needs, as well as our pets’.
Shawn Messonnier, DVM, is the award-winning author of The Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats, The Natural Vet's Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs, and Breast Choices for the Best Chances: Your Breasts, Your Life, and How YouCan Win The Battle!