JackRussellDaily

WALKING YOUR JRT IN THE ELEMENTS

When we take or companions for a walk, in most cases the elements only come into play with how hot or how cold the air is.  Most owners do not stop to consider there are other factors that impact your JRT that may not come to mind when you go on your walks.

In this article, we will examine some of the issues that arise when you take your JRT for a walk in the elements, from season to season.            

The first season we will examine is summer.


There are several things to keep in mind when enjoying the outdoors with your JRT during this time.                                  

Best time for activity is early morning or late at night—these are the best times of the day for the coolest weather.  Keep this in mind, especially during the hottest part of the season, and take advantage of the cooler hours so that both you and your JRT can better enjoy your outside activities.

 Use doggie boots—JRT’s, like most canines, absorb and expel heat through their feet.  If they are walking on the hot pavement or sidewalks, they are at risk of absorbing significant amounts of heat, which and lead to all kinds of health problems.  The use of doggie booties will add a layer of insulation and protection when walking on hot surfaces.

Watch for signs of dehydration—make sure you keep an eye on your JRT for signs of dehydration.  Dehydration is a serious problem and in some case become a matter of life and death.  Always have water available during the hot months, and make sure to take some along on your walks in case you do not have access to any.  Better to be safe than sorry.      

Keep your JRT cool—other than having water readily available, other methods of keeping your JRT cool are: walking during the cooler hours, letting your JRT take a swim, or taking a walk break and sitting under a shade tree.                                  

Let your JRT dig—in nature canines dig for a multitude of reasons: for fun, for exercise, for hunting, for making a den to give birth—but they also dig so that they can use the earth to keep cool.  So, on your next walk, if your JRT indicates a need to dig, allow them too. It is their nature, and they know it is a way of cooling them off.


 Stay close to home—when the temperature is high, it is best to take a route that keeps you close to home.  Short, little walks are much better in hot weather rather than long, strenuous walks.  If you stay close to home, then when you and your JRT begin to feel tired, and even overheated, you will not have as far to go to get into a much cooler, relaxed environment.

The winter season can pose various problems for your JRT as well.                          Trim their nails—make sure that you keep your JRT’s nails trimmed.  When walking well-trimmed nails will give your JRT more traction, and thus make their walking experience safer.
          Use a backpack—a very un-thought of but useful trick is to put a backpack on your JRT.  This will provide a slight bit of extra added incentive to not dawdle and goof off during potty breaks.  It will also help to *burn off* some of that extra energy that the winter time months seem to produce.
          Check their paws—make sure that you check all four paws very often.  With the winter dry months they have a tendency crack and become tender just like our hands and fingers do.  Also, when walking avoid areas that have been salted, as this will aid in the drying out and cracking of the paws.

Prevent pulling—anytime you walk your JRT you want to prevent the habit of them pulling on the leash.  However, during the winter time walks, this is even more important.  If your JRT is pulling on the leash and hits a patch of ice, the result could prove painful for them, as well as possibly to you.  Avoid pulling to begin with, for safety sake.                     Wear a sweater—many JRT’s tend to get cold easy and as result may rush their potty break to get in out of the cold.  The use of a pet sweater may help to prevent the shortening of outside jaunts, and on your winter walks will more than aid in keeping the chilly weather out.
          Don’t push—know your JRT’s limits.  It is best not to push them and try to get them to do more than they are comfortable with.  They will let you know when they have reached their limit, and it is best to know the signs and abide by them

As long as you follow the above suggestions and allow common sense to prevail, your walks with your JRT should be a pleasurable and enjoyable experience for you both.

10 WAYS TO TELL IF YOUR JRT IS HEALTHY

Spending time with your companion as you do, it is possible to take it for granted whether or not your JRT is healthy.  However, this is very important part of being your companion’s caregiver and should be one of the questions that you think about more often than not.  There are signs, symptoms and subtle tells that will let you know if they are healthy or if a problem is brewing.  A few of them are listed below:

Eating habits JRT’s can be finicky eaters—any JRT owner can attest to that.  However, your companion is usually a big eater, or is finicky more so than usual there may be cause for concern. Also, if your JRT has gone of their food or water for more than 24 hours it is definitely time to contact your veterinarian.  This is usually a good indication of a problem.


    Full Body Checks Once a month, while grooming or just loving on your JRT, you should run your hands over every part of their body.  You are checking for any noticeable changes such as cuts, lumps, growths or displays of discomfort when a certain area is touch or rubbed.


  Changes in their Gait When you and your JRT are out for a walk, watch and notice how your companion carries themselves.  Do they walk stiff?  Drag their toes? Limp?  Also, do you notice more panting than usual or perhaps a cough?  If so then there is definitely a need to see your veterinarian and follow up.

Watch their Weight        Obesity and being overweight can cause a multitude of physical as well as health problems for your JRT.  Although most JRT’s are very active, a lot can have to do with their environment and their exposure to the chance to exercise.   Make it a priority to keep your JRT on a well-balance, healthy diet, and if things begin to get out of control it is better to handle them sooner than later.


 Monitor their Potty Habits This is one area that is helpful in detecting a problem with your JRT.  There are several warning signs to be on the lookout for such as: diarrhea, constipation, blood or even mucus are the four top warning indicators that may be in your companions stool.  Their urine can be a signal as well if it is dark, cloudy or contains blood.  The key word to remember is that everything is consistent.  If not, then see your veterinarian as soon as possible.


      Check their Teeth As with us, your JRT’s teeth can tell you a lot about how they are doing health-wise.  You should make it a routine to check your companion’s teeth at least every month.  If you notice any change in their teeth and make sure none are loose or cracked.  Check their breath noting if there is an odor.  An odor can indicate anything from digestive issues to tooth and gum infection.  Finally check their gums as healthy gums should appear pink; if they appear dark red or dark in general make sure to have them looked over by a veterinarian.

Look them in the Eyes Look your JRT directly in the eyes and make sure they are clear and the pupils are round and even.  Also, check for any ingrown eyelashes that may come to pose a problem, and make there is no excessive discharge or signs of redness or irritation.  If any of these symptoms are visible, make sure to get them to the veterinarian as soon as possible.


Don’t forget the Nose In most cases your JRT’s nose should be moist and cool, will be free of visible discharge, no evidence of sneezing and no sounds of obstructed breathing.


Check out those Feet Make sure when you do our monthly checks that you include your companions feet in that routing check.  Make sure there are no cuts, scrapes, or sores either on the pads of the feet or between the toes.  Also make sure that your companions toenails are kept as short as possible as long nails can cause problems and discomfort.  Caution: when trimming the nails make sure to be extra careful because if they are trimmed too short, you may hit the quick causing both pain and bleeding.

Lastly, check their Ears Look in your JRT’s ears and make sure there is no wax build-up or swelling.  Smell them as well, because if there is an infection starting you will smell it before you see physical signs of it.  You may clean around the outer area of your companion’s ears, but at no time do you insert anything into the ear canal itself.  If you find anything unusual make sure you see the veterinarian to have it checked out.
If you make sure to do a monthly routine checking these areas, if a problem were to crop up you will notice it well in advance of it becoming a major problem.  It is all about being diligent and keeping the best interest of your JRT in mind.  A healthy companion is a healthy and long living companion which is a win-win situation all the way around.  

 

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