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Will Your Dog Go in the Snow?

We deal with snow every winter at Kitchen Dog’s Michigan headquarters.  Newly fallen snow can be beautiful to look at, but it can present problems for our dogs if they need to squat in it. If you’ve ever had to sit on a freezing cold toilet seat you know why!

Snow Can Pose a Potty Problem

Some dogs have elimination issues when the weather turns cold and snowy, for reasons including:

  • It’s not familiar, dogs like routine and their favorite elimination spot is hidden from view
  • They don’t realize it’s OK to eliminate in the snow if it’s the first time they’ve seen it
  • The cold is distracting them from other body signals

If Your Dog Refuses to Go Outside in the Snow

Dogs that won’t potty outside in the snow are a problem! If they hold it too long, constipation and bladder infections can result.  Dogs will eliminate indoors when they feel there is no other option. Dogs appreciate a clear path to follow when they need to potty in snowy weather.

Digging a Path to Poop

Kitchen Dog recommends you think of your dog’s comfort and cleanliness when they venture out in the snow. When you have accumulated snowfall, make sure they have a clear path to a potty area. Some reasons digging paths is a good idea:

  • Dogs are more likely to eliminate outdoors when they can move freely to stimulate their bowels
  • Avoid chilling vital organs by avoiding direct contact with the snow
  • Less snow tracked into the house
  • Poop is easier to find when you know where to look!

Where and How to Dig a Path

The Kitchen Dog backyard has potty spots cleared down to the grass

Start on the steps or landing so the dog can step out onto a familiar surface. Then clear a path that ends with a larger cleared area so your dog has room to circle around to stimulate their bowels.  Dig deep enough that your dog can squat without sticking their sensitive areas into the snow. Remove enough snow to uncover some grass so the dog sees the potty surface they are familiar with.

Make Winter Clean Up Easier

Don’t forget to also dig a path so you can access your cleanup equipment. Having a path dug makes it easy to find and remove waste.  Please don’t wait until spring! Poop doesn’t melt in the snow, it will just leach into the groundwater, so remove it now.

Combat Cabin fever

You can go a step farther and build a snow maze, especially if you have a large, busy, or agile dog that enjoys racing around in cold weather.  Clear a path that circles part of the yard, including favorite spots to sniff, run, or visit the neighbors.  Dogs who have a chance to run and explore outside will have less energy for mischief inside.  Pay attention to the temperature and your dog’s comfort so they don’t stay out too long.  If they are picking up their feet with ice trapped between the pads or getting leg cramps, bring them in to warm up.

Your Dog’s Comfort is Important!

by Cleo Parker

Cleo has been working with dogs since she was a teenager and has spent her professional career working in marketing insights and analytics.  She blogs about marketing for dog events, products, and services at the Dog Marketing Blog. 

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Plants and Pets: Know the Risks

As gardening season is underway, it is important to consider the safety of your pets when choosing your landscape.  Sometimes the Curious Cat or Dog Detective get to investigating their turf and the outcome is not always rosy.  Here is a list of plants that can be poisonous to your dog or cat:


Crocus
Azaleas
Cyclamen
Kalanchoe
Lilies
Oleander
Dieffenbachia
Daffodils
Lily of the Valley
Sago Palm
Tulips
Hyacinth

Please note that these are all very common and popular outdoor plants.  Chances are, you may already have some of these in your backyard.  Some of the side effects of ingesting poisonous plants are excessive drooling, kidney failure, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach damage and in some cases, death.  Please be sure to do your research before planting any new landscaping.  Know what is already existing in your yard before you bring a new little furry member home to the family.

Reference

Pet Poison Helpline. (n.d.). Top 10 Plants Poisonous to Pets. Retrieved June 18, 2018, from petpoisonhelpline.com: http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/pet-owners/basics/top-10-plants-poisonous-to-pets/

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Protect Your Dog from the Summer Heat

Summer is a great time for a dog and its owner.  Walks, beach runs, swimming, slobbery car rides with the window down—all fun times for our furry BFF.  Summer is here and outdoor temperatures have already hit record highs.  Just as we take measures to stay cool during the hot months, it is equally important to keep our pets cool as well.  Dogs can become overheated quickly and sometimes without much warning.  Here are some signs of overheating to watch for as you partake in summer festivities:

?  Heavy and/or Excessive Panting
?  Increased pulse
?  Drooling
?  Lethargy
?  Diarrhea
?  Pale, dry gums
?  Glassy eyes
?  Vomiting
?  Staggering
?  Weakness

Any of these symptoms or a combination of means trouble for your dog.  Bring them indoors immediately and give them cold water.  Wiping their torso down with a cool towel can help decrease their body temperature.  As always, use your best judgment and take your dog to the nearest vet if they do not show immediate signs of improvement.

Taking precautionary steps to keep your dog cool is essential to prevent overheating.  Do not leave dogs in a hot car under any circumstances.  Be sure your dog has access to a shady, cooler space outdoors and provide access to water in that area.  Be extra attentive to older dogs and those with special needs as they can be more susceptible to problems resulting from weather changes.  Lastly, be aware of taking pups for walks on hot pavement.  A good rule of paw:  if the pavement is too hot for your bare feet, it is too hot for your dog as well.

Reference:

N., K. (2018). Dog Overheating Symptoms, Risk Factors and What to do to Cool Overheated Dogs. Retrieved June 8, 2018, from Dogs, Cats, Pets: http://www.dogscatspets.org/dogs/dog-overheating/dog-overheating-symptoms-risk-factors-cool-overheated-dogs/