Pets and Chilly Weather
(Courtesy of the Kent County SPCA)
The Dog House
By law, dogs need to be provided with proper shelter to protect them against inclement weather, preserve their body heat and allow them to remain dry during rain or snow. A soundly constructed dog house keeps the dog dry and comfortable in all weather. Commercial dog houses can be purchased from various pet stores or farm and garden stores. If you are handy with a hammer and saw, a dog house can be a fun weekend project.
Maybe let the kids get in on the building of the dog house and make it a fun family project! Exterior plywood is suitable building material; the thickness of the wood depends on the climate in which the house is used. The floors and wall so the structure should be constructed so that they are substantially impervious to moisture and may be readily sanitized. It is recommended to paint or treat the wood with a weather resistant finisher.
A door attached to the front of the dog house or a partition wall built inside the dog house will help kept he cold wind from entering. When the outside temperatures drop to thirty five degrees or below, extra bedding such as straw must be provided to help keep the animal warm.
The Dog’s Water
The dog’s water during the winter can also be an issue. During the freezing temperatures, your dog’s water will quickly freeze. Owners will have to check and replace water frequently to insure the animal has fresh drinking water. There are electric type water bowl heaters designed to keep the water from freezing. These can be found at pet supply or farm and garden supply stores.
During cold weather, outside dogs burn up twice the calories as an inside dog, in order to stay warm. By giving your dog an extra meal or extra food when it is time to feed will help keep an extra pound or two on the dog.
On days when temperatures are extremely cold, the animal should be taken inside. Inside the residence, a garage, or some other type of indoor shelter is recommended. This is for the safety of the animal.
Remember, owning an animal is not a right, it is a privilege. The ideal situation is where the animal lives and sleeps inside with the owner. Dogs will learn, bond and become a better companion if kept inside and the owner takes the time to train them.