Where Did the Time Go?

by Berit Mason | November 4, 2020 | Ask Roxie

Some Thoughts on Having a Happy, Healthy Winter

I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is right around the corner.

2020 has been a rough ride, but hey, I like rides! 

In this season, a friend says that she heard about a run on the stores—not grocery stores, but the yarn and knitting stores. It seems like people are sitting in to remain safe and to relax. A contentious election, and a pandemic, makes a body want to do just that.

South Texas winters are only a few months long. Nonetheless, frigid days, dry air, and freezes affect us animals, too.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the ASPCA, has suggestions on the “winterizing” of your pet. You winterize your car, don’t you?

Underneath our fur is skin. But, taking Fido out into the cold, then back into a heated house, then out into the cold for another walk, and in again, the swift changes in temperature aggravates the skin.

“Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells,” advises the ASPCA. “Washing too often can remove essential oils,” Savee Dalgo is Communications Coordinator for the ASPCA. He suggests using moisturizing shampoos and rinses to comfort winter skin. And while you’re at it, pick up a home humidifier. These inexpensive steam-spouters will help the whole family to be more comfortable.

Summers are blistering here, and some people shave pups. But don’t do it! Our coats keep us warm. If you insist, give your dog a trim. For the Chihuahuas or Dachshunds out there, ASPCA highly recommends doggy outerwear and sweaters, especially ones with high collars or turtlenecks. This gear should cover from the base of the tail to the belly.

Like people, dogs and cats are more peckish when it’s cold. Why? Because bodies burn more energy to keep us warm.

Turkey leftovers? Sautéed vegetables? A roll? Throw them in our bowl! The extra food will have us licking our chops, offers a calorie-dense boost, and may earn you an extra snuggle. Fresh water is just as important when it’s cold, as proper hydration moistens our skin. 

You like a soft, cozy bed on a cold winter’s night—and we do too.

“Make sure that your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off of the floor and away from drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect,” says Dalgo.

Some people think that animals should not be in the house. But: “If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside.”

Pups hate being separated from their “pack.”

If you think it’s ok to isolate a dog from the family, please, don’t get a dog.

Neighbors have the legal right to call the authorities if they feel a dog lacks proper care. “If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed,” warns the ASPCA. There are laws against such treatment.

It is natural to bring Fido on errands in the winter because it is so much cooler. But it can get too cold.

“Cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold, and cause animals to freeze to death.” Yikes!

If you want Fido to have a ride, throw a big blanket in the back.

Until next month!

Woof, woof!


By Berit Mason

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Berit Mason was born in Greenwich Village, New York, the daughter of a Random House author. Her mother was an artist from Norway. She grew up abroad, before her family settled in San Antonio, where she attended St. Mary’s Hall, and Alamo Heights schools. She attended Mary Baldwin College, graduating from Austin College, in Sherman, Texas, with a B.A. in Political Science. She interned at CNN Washington, covering the US Supreme Court, and was a TV anchor and reporter in Waco, and in San Angelo. Berit was a radio reporter for Texas Public Radio and WOAI 1200 AM, and she was a select RIAS Berlin Commission German American Exchange Journalist. Berit is a freelance journalist, working for NPR, has written for the San Antonio Business Journal, “SA Scene”, now writing for “78209” and “SA Woman”.
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