Spaying, Cold Weather and Sidewalk Salt

Question: When should I have my pet spayed?

People often ask, "Should my dog/cat have a litter or go through one heat cycle before I have her spayed? Will that make her a friendlier, happier pet?" No medical advice exists that would indicate there is a benefit from having a litter or going through a heat cycle. Dogs and cats that are spayed at six months of age (prior to the first heat cycle) are just as friendly as dogs and cats spayed later in life. Early spaying has some distinct medical advantages. Dogs that are spayed prior to their first heat have a lower incidence of mammary gland tumors. Early spaying of cats will prevent unwanted pregnancies that may result from mating prior to the cat showing overt estrus behavior.

Question: How can I keep my small dog or puppy warm when he's outside?

Small breed dogs and young puppies may have difficulty in the snow and cold. You can help keep them warm and comfortable when they are outdoors. Keep these tips in mind:
Puppies and small dogs lose heat faster than we do. They may get cold faster than a human, so leave them out only for brief periods. Wind chill affects animals too. You should let them out only in wind-sheltered areas. A dense sweater or pet coat will help retain body heat. Ice and snow can pack in between toes and cause pain. Feel between their toes and pads and remove any ice or snow.

Question: Is sidewalk salt hard on dog' feet?

Salt, applied to city streets and sidewalks to melt ice can be very irritating to a dog's feet. This irritation may be evidenced by dogs licking their feet excessively, by red, oozing skin between the pads, or by dry, cracked and bleeding pads. Left untreated, infection may set in. If you walk your dog on city streets or sidewalks, clean your dog's feet with warm water and dry them after walking. Protective boots are also available at your pet store and may be necessary for dogs that already have damaged foot pads.