Holiday Safety Tips
1. If you live in cold weather areas, your Frenchie needs a coat or AND sweater to keep him warm when he goes outside. If he doesn't want to walk or cries during your walks, you may think about adding boots—your Frenchie's feet may be too cold, and it takes time to toughen up those pawpads for winter walking.
2. Do not leave your dog outside alone in sub-freezing temps for any length of time. This includes the car! Leave your Frenchie at home while you do your gift shopping and errands. He'll be happier in the warm indoors, and you'll be more relaxed knowing he's safe at home.
3. If you walk your dog in an area that uses road salt to keep the streets clear of ice, be sure to wash your dog's feet when you get home (a 9x11 jelly roll or cake pan with a quarter inch of warm, lightly soapy water is all you need. Have your dog walk through the water and dry his paws). Or use a very wet cloth and wash his feet. FBRN's holiday shopping mall is offering a product to protect your frog's feet: Pawz Guard.
4. Do not, under any circumstances, allow your dog to get near the anti-freeze! Anti-freeze has a sweet taste and is appealing to pets, but it is deadly, even in very small amounts. We recommend you let the people at the oil change shop put in the anti-freeze: don't even keep it at your home.
5. If you are entertaining this holiday season, keep your pets away from the treats, especially chocolate- and alcohol-laden goodies. Never give a dog cooked bones, and limit table scraps. Too much fat can cause pancreatitis.
6. Winter plants like mistletoe and holly can cause intestinal distress and other problems.
7. Don't decorate with tinsel strands on the tree, unless you have a couple of thousand dollars for a linear foreign body surgery to save your dog's life. Be sure to keep breakable ornaments on the higher branches. Don't leave anything edible in the tree or under it, even if it's wrapped. And don't leave your dog unattended with the tree--your idea of what's edible and his idea of what's edible may be two different things!
Just a reminder about the perils that the upcoming holidays pose to Frenchies. A dog tragedy will spoil your fun for sure, and many can be avoided if you exercise some caution.
More obvious dangers are turkey bones or any poultry bones, which can splinter and injure the dog's mouth, throat, or gastrointestinal tract, or cause an obstruction. Less obvious is turkey skin, or anything fatty. Excess fat in the diet is the #1 cause of pancreatitis in dogs, and that can be fatal. So ignore those pleading looks on Thanksgiving and give your dog a dog treat instead. And of course, chocolate (way too available at holiday time) is a big no-no.
Another overlooked danger at the holidays is tinsel, ribbon, yarn, string... any "linear foreign body." If a dog (or cat, as they tend to go for those more than dogs do) eats a string or anything similar (dental floss is a killer), it will stretch out in the intestinal tract and if one end of it becomes anchored somewhere, movements of the gut will cause it to "saw" through the intestinal wall. The resulting spillage of gut contents into the body cavity can be rapidly fatal.
Styrofoam packing peanuts or a chunk of styrofoam cup or plate, especially something that's had something tasty in it, can get stuck in the airway and kill a Frenchie. If it gets down into the gut, it can cause a blockage.
Plants like mistletoe, amaryllis, holly are very toxic, but poinsettia (while it can irritate a dog's mouth and stomach) is not as toxic as it's been described.
The little disc batteries that are used in watches, hearing aids, and some blinking jewelry and games are irresistable to dogs, but are potentially deadly. If swallowed it can very quickly start leaking caustic materials that will burn the stomach or gut. Get to the vet or emergency clinic immediately.
Just be extra vigilant, and you can keep your Frenchie safe until the new year. Jan Grebe
Winter Tips for Your Frenchie
If you walk before sunrise or after sunset, carry a flashlight and wear clothes with reflecting qualities. There are devices that flash like bicycle warning lights for dogs' collars or you can put them on their leash. Be visible.
For Frenchies in cold climates:
Invest in a good quality coat for your Frenchie. Frenchies don't have much undercoat to keep them warm and some literally don't have the sense to come in out of the cold, so it's your job to protect them.
Don't allow your dog to stay outside very long. No unaccompanied time in the yard. If it's too cold for you to stand outside without a coat, it's too cold for your Frenchie to be out there--even with a coat on. Of course, it goes without saying that Frenchies are not outside dogs in even balmy weather.
The colder the weather, the shorter the walk should be.
Frenchies' ears are very susceptible to frostbite. Yes, your dog will look a little silly, but if it is under 30 degrees and there is a breeze then that doggy needs a hat.
If your area salts the roads and sidewalks, be sure to wash your dog's feet when you get home. A povidone-iodine wash is great--povidone is the generic for Betadine and it will clean your dog's feet as well as disinfect them in case he got any small cuts or scrapes on the ice. You can get it inexpensively at any drugstore. To use it, blend 1 part povidone-iodine to 10 parts water (or until it is about the color of iced tea.) Put some in a plastic container (a 16 oz cottage cheese tub works well) and soak your dog's foot for about 20 seconds. Wipe the foot carefully, dry it, and repeat with the other feet. If your dog will accept it, some people have their dogs stand in a dish pan or even a 9x13 cake pan. The kitchen sink works if you have a little Frenchie. An even faster way to rinse toxins off is to just put him in the tub and use the shower head on his feet. Be sure to dry between the toes. At the very least, a wipe with a warm, wet washcloth will help remove salt and other toxins from your dog's feet and legs. If you have a dog that will tolerate them, you can also use protective boots or rubber booties.
Moisturize! Your dog's skin, nose, and paws can get just as dry and cracked as your own skin. Invest in a good nose butter for your dog's nose if it looks crusty. Paws can be moistened with a little coconut oil, and ask your vet about a good moisturizing shampoo if your Frenchie's skin starts to flake. Some vets suggest adding a bit of coconut oil to a dog's meals, but make it a small amount to avoid gastrointestinal upset and weight gain.
Older Frenchies might really feel their aches and pains in colder weather. If your dog has had any back problems or suffers from arthritis or joint conditions, be especially careful to avoid icy stretches.
Even if your Frenchie is a snow lover, there is a limit to how much cold weather exercise even healthy young Frenchies can take. Keep an eye on your dog's breathing, and if they seem to be having a hard time, call it a day.
Florida Frenchie Owners:
Beware the Cane Toad!
Most Florida residents are well-aware of the invasive species of toad that can grow to nearly a foot in size and which spews a poisonous white fluid that can sicken people and pets alike.
The downpours this spring have resulted in larger than usual numbers of toads in multiple breeding cycles, the most recent just this week.
Some Floridians, particularly those near the Miami area, can barely walk in their yards without stepping on the toads or encountering them in near-misses.
If your Florida Frenchie has a strong prey drive – or can't resist taste-testing things they find in the yard - consider fitting them with a special basket-type muzzle meant for brachycephalic dogs. If your dog does encounter a cane toad and gets some of the toxin in his mouth, immediately and thoroughly rinse his mouth out and either call your vet or hie thee and your frogdog to the ER vet right away. Time is of the essence! Rinsing the toxin out of his mouth can buy you time to seek medical advice but might not be enough on its own to prevent illness -- or worse.
An Orlando Weekly article from March 22, citing the University of Florida, advises residents to humanely euthanize as many toads as possible. Dog owners would be wise to patrol their yards at least once a day wearing gloves and prepared to euthanize these invasive creatures. Another option is to call a trapper (https://public.myfwc.com/HGM/NWT/NWTSearch.aspx) . “If you see a cane toad, you're most definitely encouraged to destroy it. According to the University of Florida, the most humane way to euthanize a cane toad is to ‘rub or spray 20 percent benzocaine toothache gel or sunburn spray (not 5 percent lidocaine) on the toad's lower belly.’ This will apparently make it become unconscious, which at that point UF says to put it in a plastic bag and place it in the freezer for 24-48 hours. A cold peaceful death. Just be sure to wear gloves.”
Be careful to leave ordinary, harmless toads alone! The photo below will help you identify the differences—apart from enormous size—between the cane toad and the native southern toad, a friend that consumes lots of bugs and does not poison our pets or even cause warts. Here’s a photo from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to help you correctly identify the visitors you come across.
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