How to protect our dog from the cold

How many times do we think: “With wet weather all my body hurts!”, Or “Does the weather influences my joints? “This is also true for our dog. We should not underestimate the influence of weather and temperature on his well-being, and on the effect that has on his musculature, on the joints or on old traumas or wounds.
Whether it is a dog that is no longer young, an athlete or a puppy, it is important to preserve it from sudden changes in temperature. He lives in the house with us, where radiators and maybe the stove on, we set the inside temperature quite warm and then go out for a walk under the rain or snow at temperatures decrease around zero.

The dog has fur, undercoat and layer, but cold and wet over time, can cause problems in muscle and joint, or in the extremities or exacerbate old traumas.

If our dog is no longer very young, or disabled, it may be appropriate, when we go out, to protect it with a coat. The legs will be not covered, but the back and neck of your dog will be protected. Walking properly covered, allows the muscles to maintain the temperature of their body and avoid contractures. If the pace is not safely, take it for a walk with a harness to support it better and avoid slipping or make sudden movements that they could cause contractures or more serious injuries, such as dislocations.

The constant and correct movement is the first rule to keep the musculoskeletal system healthy. For example, daily walks on flat grounds at different speeds. For the puppy it is important to experiment with different surfaces with obstacles to improve their proprioceptive capabilities and to have a prompt response of the movement mechanism. This exercise, with the necessary precautions, is also useful to keep active mind and reflexes of those dog that are no longer young.

After a walking (or after a race) it is of great help to use heat therapy: it is enough to place a hot water bag on the part that tends to contract for 10-15 minutes. The heat induces the increase in local blood flow, the decrease in pain, my relaxation and the greater extensibility of the tissues.

The temperature of the skin and subcutaneous tissue increases by 5 ° C after 6 minutes and is maintained for 30 minutes. The only contraindication is in case of malignant neoplasms or edema.(A)(E)

NIn season changes and in the winter period, for dogs that live in special conditions (elderly, disabled, traumatized, sport anvironment) it is important a balanced diet and integration with nutraceuticals aimed at the protection of joints and the maintenance of joint mobility. These products contain substances that can slow down or counteract the degeneration of joint cartilages (B) and counteract free radicals that are harmful to cells.

Where painful manifestations occurr (eg lameness), physical therapy (manual and instrumental therapy) contributes to the reduction of medication administration and to the improvement of the dog’s well-being. Massaging the part, stretching and passive movements, laser therapy, tecartherapy, magnetotherapy and electrostimulation help to maintain the tone. muscle and joint movement and above all have an excellent efficacy on the reduction of inflammation and therefore pain. (A)(E)

Prevention starts with the attentions to your dog during its youth, it will guarantee him a life in “better movement”.

(A) Dragone L., Fisioterapia riabilitativa del cane e del gatto, Elsevier

(B) Panichi E., Dragone L., Colpo R., Vezzoni A., La displasia dell’anca del cane dalla diagnosi alla terapia

(C) Zink M.C., Van Dyke J.B., canine Sports medicine and Rehabilitation, Wiley-Blackwell

(D) Grandjean D., Pratical guide for sporting & working dogs

(E) Della Rocca G., Bufalari A., Terapia del dolore negli animali da compagnia, Poletto Ed.