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In this article, we have simple pet care tips to help keep your dogs safe and warm this winter season on Vancouver Island. As a dog and cat boarding kennel in Victoria, BC, we love working with pets every day, in all kinds of weather! 

At our Puppy Love Pet Care Centre, we care a great deal for our clients’ furry family members; so much so that we feel it’s important to share our knowledge of optimal pet care practices.

Read further for winter care tips for your pooch from our well-loved pet boarding kennel in Victoria.

How should I care for my dog in winter, on Vancouver Island?

Caring for your dog during the winter months in the Victoria area is important despite not having the harsh conditions found elsewhere in BC. Winter dog care in Victoria is about keeping your dog safe from risky environmental conditions found from November to March. Continuous rainfall, freezing temperatures, and strong winds can create conditions that lead to the following health risks for our dogs:

  • hypothermia 
  • injured paws 
  • flea infestations
  • disease contraction

How can I protect my dog from hypothermia?

Pet owners near our Victoria dog boarding kennel may not realize how our local winters, although mild compared to other parts of Canada, can cause our pets to suffer the effects of hypothermia. The combination of rain, cool temperatures, and biting winds are enough to cause our furry friends to freeze.

To prevent your dog from becoming at risk for hypothermia in winter, we suggest the following:

  • Keep Dry. For winter walks and outdoor playtime, dress your dog in rain gear! If your pup prefers to show off his natural best be sure to dry their body well after returning from a trip to the trail or dog park. Additionally, let them stay in a heated, dry location until they’re warmed up.
  • Keep Warm. Bundle up your furry bestie in a dog jacket and don’t stay out too long. On especially cold days, keep your dog inside as much as possible. 

What are the signs of hypothermia in dogs?

  • Shivering. Prolonged shivering is a sign your dog is cold and needs to get warm. If you find your dog is curled up while continuously shivering, those are indicators your may require hypothermia treatment.
  • Cold fur and skin. An animal’s fur and skin that is cold to the touch likely is a result of hypothermia.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Lowered body temperature.
  • Pale colored gums or eyelids.

Should I protect my dog’s paws this winter on Vancouver Island?

Exposure to the wet, cold, and windy conditions can cause the pup’s paws to become chapped, irritated, and itchy. These symptoms, usually not serious, can lead to further health issues once your dog gets to work on their DIY-pedicure. Excessive licking and chewing of paws can further aggravate the condition.

Caring for a dog’s paws in a Pacific West Coast winter environment focuses on keeping paws warm, clean, and dry. This is important to maintain the overall health and well-being of your canine companion. 

Snow and ice doesn’t occur in Victoria very often, but, it does happen! And, when it does, tender paws can get hurt. Slippery surfaces, sharp ice, and snow accumulation between fluffy toes can be irritating and abrasive.

To keep your pet’s paws safe this winter, try the following tips:

  • Keep a towel at the entryway or in your car to dry your dog’s paws as soon as possible.
  • Use a pet-safe de-icer to prevent problems if your pet licks their paws.
  • If brine, salt, or other de-icers are used in your dog’s walking areas, wash their paws with gentle soap and warm water to prevent them from licking the contaminants.
  • Use water-proof dog booties to keep your pup’s paws clean and safe.

Can my dog get fleas and ticks in winter in Victoria?

Yes. Every season is flea and tick season in Victoria. 

Mild temperatures, high humidity, and lots of lush vegetation make it easy for fleas to flourish in the Greater Victoria area.

Keeping fleas in check is important for your dog’s health and should be addressed year-round if you live on the west coast of BC. If your pet spends any time with a professional groomer or Victoria dog boarding kennel, they’ll need to be flea free to access the services. 

For flea and tick prevention consult your veterinarian. For more information on how to protect your dog from fleas and ticks, learn the 4 Signs Your Pet May Have Been Bitten by a Tick.

Can my dog catch a disease in the winter?

Heavy amounts of rainfall in Victoria during the winter means there are lots of puddles to splash in and mud to roll in! Those puddles and fields of muck can be more than just a nuisance to pet owners left to clean up the mess; they can be sources of disease for our dogs.

Standing water contaminated with fecal matter from diseased animals, like raccoons or other dogs, present serious health risks to our dogs. Serious infections like Leptospirosis and canine parvovirus can be transmitted by contact with contaminated water. It’s important to take preventative measures to ensure the health of your pet.

How can I protect my dog from illness in Victoria this winter? 

  • Vaccinate. Keep your dog’s vaccinations up to date. Routine vaccinations keep your dog healthy and happy. Additionally, they are a requirement when booking a vacation for your pup at dog boarding kennels in Victoria.
  • Keep them away from standing water.
  • Don’t let your dog drink from puddles.
  • Wash and dry muddy and wet dogs after exposure to potentially contaminated water.

At Puppy Love Pet Care, we want all our Vancouver Island clients to be well-informed on pet care best practices, regardless of the season. We also practice what we preach! When we care for your animals, we provide top-level dog boarding kennel services in Victoria to all of our furry clients (and great customer service for their two-legged owners too)! 

Are you in the Greater Victoria Area and looking for the best home away from home for your furry friend? We’d love to show you and your pet our Puppy Love facilities. Come for a visit to our sprawling acreage in Saanich and see why we stand out in Victoria and the surrounding area. Give us a call at 1-250-652-2301 any time of the week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. or send us an e-mail at info@puppylove.ca to get started. 

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