Yesterday we published some tips for Pet Safety at Halloween, an event still a week away. Here at our Dog Hotel Barrie, we have snow. Not just a little snow but 2-3 inches of wet and heavy snow on the ground. There are a lot of snow safety considerations for your pet, both dog and cat. In fact it is a large and long list of considerations, and as winter here in the greater Toronto area is a long season. We’ll deal with the issues one at a time. The first consideration will will have for today at the dog hotel, will be paying particular attention too with our dog boarding today.
When dealing with heavy snow we find it is actually more of a worry when it is only a couple inches vs a good 6-12 inches. This is an issue with both our little dogs and our seniors. When it is really deep, they don’t try to just walk normally through it, they make allowances. Senior Dogs and our little ones (tea cup poodles, chihuahuas, yorkies, Shih Tzu etc) will do the adorable little bunny hops and/or consider each move. When it is only a couple inches deep they often make the mistake of misjudging the resistance and power forward trying to push the snow with their feet rather than clearing it.
For our tea cup breeds this is an issue as many often have luxating patellas. The kneecap moves up and down in a groove. Ridges hold the kneecap in place, and as long as the ridges are deep (picture a pea in a peapod), the kneecap can only move up and down as nature intended.
Unfortunately, some dog breeds have a patella ridge that’s a little too smooth. This means the kneecap doesn’t sit snugly in the groove and it can pop out to the side. This can happen with all sizes and breeds, we just know that a lot of our dog boarding guests who are teacup size are prone.
Often a dog with this problem appears fine. He has no history of a traumatic injury to the leg, and he’s very active – running and playing normally. Then all of a sudden he picks up a back leg. He might yelp or cry while holding the leg off the ground.
Just as suddenly, your dog lowers his leg and starts walking or running around again as though nothing ever happened. What occurred, unbeknownst to you, was that his kneecap popped out of place, stopping him in his tracks and causing him to hold his leg up. Then the kneecap returned to its original position, he was able to put his foot back down, and off he went.
Obviously the repeated popping is not good for your pup. Here at the dog hotel we keep our paths clear always and clear the yards if more than 2 inches of fluffy or any amount of heavy snow falls. We often talk about the risks of ice, don’t forget about the potential risks of snow.
Enjoy this first snow fall, it is now late in the afternoon and whilst much wetter than when the day began, there is still a little too much snow on the ground for October.
…Jenn Dahinten has been involved in health and pet care for over 20 years and is currently a part of the caring team at The Royal Pets Hotel & Spa, a 5 star Pet Hotel just north of Toronto in Barrie, Ontario.