Cold Weather for Dogs, Part 1: Coats

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It’s getting chilly out and sweater weather is here.  Pet stores know it, and while we’re buying new sweatshirts and boots for ourselves, it’s time to stock up for our pets, too.  So what do dogs need for winter in NYC?  We’ll be writing a series of posts on cold weather gear and considerations for your urban pup.  Part one today discusses coats and jackets.  Next week we’ll discuss paw protectors.

Jackets/Coats

Does your dog need a coat?  She’ll probably let you know — if she’s shivering on a normal walk, it is worth trying one!  If you aren’t sure, take a look at her normal fur.  If she has a thick undercoat, she is unlikely to need any manmade insulation.  If, however, she has a short coat with no undercoat, and large areas of thin fur or exposed skin, a coat is a good idea.  Many small breeds also need a little extra warmth!

A couple of our favorite coats are below:

Ruffwear brand makes a huge range of utilitarian jackets, harnesses, and packs for dogs to use year round.  This brand focuses on active dogs, and their clothes are designed to still allow pets to play and run.  They have excellent instructions on measuring for fit, and most coats include reflective strips and water resistant layers for versatile use.  Their overcoat is one good option.

Full body fleece suits are necessary for some smaller breeds, especially if they are less active when outside.  Italian greyhounds are the classic breed we think of, but some other thin-coated breeds may benefit from this option when polar vortex temperatures hit!

Horse blanket style coats are boxier, and usually have a strap under the chest to secure them.  They are easy to fit to a range of body types, and provide a lot of warmth on walks without too much fuss.  Weatherbeeta makes a wide range of options.

On a budget?  Overstock.com carries a lot of pet supplies, and often has good deals on pet apparel (as well at crates, beds, toys, etc.).

Be mindful of how long your winter walks are, too.  During inclement or very cold weather, not all dogs do well with long walks.  Northern breeds (think Huskies, Akitas, Samoyeds) are more likely to enjoy this weather, while short coated dogs (e.g. Pitties, Dobermans, Vizslas)  may need shorter excursions.

Still not sure whether your dog needs a coat, or if the one you have is the right option?  Contact us for personalized advice for your pet.

Check back next week for information on booties, and the week after for options to keep your pet seen and safe in darker seasons.

Uptown Vets   –   295 West 112th St, New York, NY

(212) 222-1221   –   info@uptownvetsnyc.com

Pet Care While You Are Away

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Lets face it — boarding options for dogs and cats in New York City are limited, and often expensive.  As the holiday season approaches, it’s time to start making arrangements for your four legged family members.  Below are a few of the pet care options members of the Uptown Vets family have used, and the pros/cons we saw with each:

(1) Boarding facility: we’ve had our pets stay at boarding facilities where we know the staff well and feel comfortable that our pets will receive the best care possible.

Pros — if your dog is animal friendly, some offer play time to help keep them stimulated, professionals are caring for your pet, so if something goes wrong they have experience handling it.

Cons — your pet is in an unknown environment and his routine is disrupted, some facilities don’t have staff on site overnight, sometimes the most expensive option.

(2) House and Pet Sitters: if you can find someone to stay at your home, you can kill two birds with one stone.  Especially if you have a nice apartment, this can be a mini vacation for animal friendly friends, family, or others (we’ve had clients hire grad students, and other people who would love to relax in a place of their own for a few days!).

Pros — less stressful for some pets, your home is also watched, and you can arrange a personalized schedule, often best for cats.

Cons — you need to find someone you feel extra secure leaving in charge, and make sure their schedule suits your pets’ needs.

(3) In-home Boarding: some dog walkers and individuals offer boarding in their own homes (check out Dog Vacay to find independent people).

Pros — your dog is staying with someone excited to pet sit, for a pre-arranged fee.

Cons — make sure you are comfortable with the environment and the person before leaving your pets!

 

Ultimately, make sure you are happy with the level of experience, care, and personalized attention your pet(s) will receive.  When making your decision, be sure to consider your pet’s needs — are they stressed by a change in routine?  Would they be happy in a kennel for large portions of the day?  Do they like strangers?

Be sure you are aware of any vaccines, preventatives, or paperwork required by your chosen boarding pet care option.  Let us know if you need anything so we can prepare it in advance of your travel!

 

Uptown Vets   –   295 West 112th St, New York, NY

(212) 222-1221   –   info@uptownvetsnyc.com

Tick Preventative: Your Concerns and FAQs Answered

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At Uptown Vets, we talk with you (our wonderful clients!) a lot about parasite preventatives.  Tick prevention is one of our passions, and never more so than in the Autumn, when weather is cooling off, but ticks are still out!  Below are the most common concerns we hear, and Drs. Sullivan and Obernesser’s responses.  If you have other worries about ticks, parasites in general, or preventatives, don’t hesitate to get in touch.  We’re here to answer them all!

 

Concern:  My dog doesn’t leave the city.

Answer: Even if your dog lives exclusively in the city, ticks can be found in parks, brush, and on other animals.  1 in 10 dogs in the five boroughs tests positive for lyme disease, and other diseases are on the rise.

 

Concern: My dog is vaccinated for lyme disease, so doesn’t need preventative.

Answer: The lyme vaccine greatly reduces the risk of lyme disease, but cannot completely prevent every case, and there is no vaccine available for other diseases spread by ticks.  A combined approach to prevention is important — vaccination, tick prevention, and monitoring your dog for bites.

 

Concern: I’ve never seen a tick on my dog.

Answer: If only we saw every tick!  We often have patients testing positive for tick borne disease, with no history of tick bites.  We know they were bitten (there’s no other way to spread these diseases), we just missed the tick.

 

Concern: I don’t like putting chemicals on my dog, and the greasy residue bothers me.

Answer:  There are several different preparations of preventatives; some are oral and some are topical.  There are even some highly effective collars now available!  If you don’t like using a liquid topical, call us and we can recommend an appropriate alternative based on your pet’s lifestyle and your specific concerns.  In some cases a combination of the three options may even be appropriate.

 

Concern: Preventatives are expensive.

Answer:  We were curious about this issue  as well!  We priced out a year of preventative versus treating a straightforward lyme infection, and it was about 300% more expensive to treat lyme than to use a year of preventative and vaccinate.  If finances are an issue, it’s much cheaper to prevent tick-borne illness than treat it.

 

Do you have other questions or concerns?  We want to hear them!  Email or call us and we can help decide what option(s) are best for your individual dog.

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Uptown Vets   –   295 West 112th St, New York, NY

(212) 222-1221   –   info@uptownvetsnyc.com