Winter Walks

Sarah Bird, DVM





Winter is here again and we’d like to share some tips to keep your furry friends safe and warm during those frosty winter walks.

Be aware of your pet’s tolerance for cold weather. Pets’ cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet based on type of coat, body fat stores, activity level, overall health and underlying diseases. You may need to shorten your dog’s walks in very cold weather to protect you both from weather-associated health risks. Arthritic and elderly pets (just like humans) may have more difficulty walking on snow and ice, and may be more prone to slipping and falling. Cold weather may also worsen arthritis pain so your dog may need shorter walks or pain control during the winter. Pets with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances (such as Cushing’s disease) may have a harder time regulating body temperature, and may be more susceptible to problems from temperature extremes. The same precautions apply for both very young and very old pets.

Sarah A’s Jax and Zeeko

Bundle up. Short-haired pets feel the cold faster because they have less protection, and short-legged pets may become cold faster because their bellies and bodies are more likely to come into contact with snow-covered ground.  If your dog has a short coat or seems bothered by the cold weather, consider a sweater or dog coat.  Have several on hand, so you can use a dry sweater or coat each time your dog goes outside.  Wet sweaters or coats can actually make your dog colder.


Sylvie, owned by Janice Rising and Wendy Caro

Keep their paws healthy. Check your dog’s paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury or damage, such as cracked paw pads or bleeding. During a walk, sudden limping may be due to an injury or may be due to ice accumulation between his or her toes. You may be able to reduce the  chance of iceball accumulation by clipping the hair between the toes. You can also use booties to protect your dog’s feet, but make sure they fit properly to avoid formation of sores caused by rubbing.


Recognize problems early. If your pet is whining, shivering, seems anxious, slows down or stops moving, seems weak, or starts looking for warm places to burrow, get your pet back inside quickly because he or she may be showing signs of hypothermia. Frostbite is harder to detect, and may not be fully recognized until a few days after the damage is done. If you suspect your pet has hypothermia or frostbite, call our office immediately to make an appointment with one of our veterinarians.

Wipe down your pet when you get home. During walks, your dog’s feet, legs and belly may pick up deicers, antifreeze, or other chemicals that could be toxic. When you get back inside, wipe down (or wash) your pet’s feet, legs and belly to remove these chemicals and reduce the risk that your dog may be poisoned after licking his or her feet or fur. Consider using pet-safe deicers on your property to protect your pets and the other animals in your neighborhood.

Now that you have these handy tips, get out and enjoy beautiful Central Oregon safely in the winter!

Sarah A’s Zeeko

Quick Bites

  • Dr. Sarah Bird will be leaving Cinder Rock Veterinary Clinic on January 11, 2019 for a new opportunity as the medical director for Bend Spay and Neuter Project.  She is very excited about this new position, but will truly miss working for the wonderful clients here.  We are sure you will see her around the community and Cinder Rock wishes her the very best.  Dr. Angie Untisz will be filling the void left by Dr. Sarah.  She has been doing relief work for us and has done an excellent job.  We are very excited to have her as part of our team on a regular basis.
  • We would like to introduce two new members of our kennel staff.  The first is Jessica who is originally from Sunnyside, WA and now lives in Terrebonne.  She is a senior at Ridgeview High School and came to work at Cinder Rock in April, 2018.  After graduation, she plans to attend Washington State University, and her career goal is to become a veterinarian.  One of the things that especially interests Jessica working in our kennel is that it is an excellent place to learn about how a veterinary practice is organized and run.
  • Kylee started working at Cinder Rock in May, 2018.  Originally from Damascus, OR she lives in Redmond and is presently a student at Central Oregon Community College studying to become a certified veterinary technician.  Kylee is gaining experience at our office, and is throughly enjoying learning to take care of all of the needs of the cats and dogs who are hospitalized or are boarding with us, and she knows that everything she learns here is invaluable towards her own professional goals.
  • We are pleased to announce that that both Moriah and Courtney G have successfully completed the training and are now certified in ultrasound technology.
  • Dr. Keith hiked the Grand Canyon this past fall with his college friend and had a fantastic time.
  • Drs. Keith and Holly are enjoying grandparenthood with their SIX-month old grandson!
  • And last, but certainly not least, we have birth announcements:  Dr. Sarah has had TEN kids this fall and all are happy, playful and doing well.  Amy is glad to share her news that she had four little piggies born on her farm and all are healthy and a completely adorable.

    Pia’s Sage, Sarah A’s Zeeko and Jax (left to right)