27 Dec | Posted by Jelena Ciric | no comments |
Walking across the frozen, white grass, my boots are barely making a print. My hand freezes when I grab the door knob with my ungloved hand to enter the house. Taking out the garbage requires gloves, hat, scarf and a down coat. Baby it is cold outside! Imagine what our canine companions can do prepare to handle these same wicked conditions. Most dogs are not designed to handle these conditions any more than we are. Breed for their dense undercoat and harsh outer coat, the Alaskan Malamute, Bernice Mountain dog, the German Sheperd, the Saint Bernard and the Siberian Husky are well prepared for the elements of winter. However, many breeds need special attention to survive the challenges of mother nature’s wrath. As the providers of comfort to our wet nosed friends, it becomes our responsibility to create adequate protection from the hazards of the cold. Consider some of the following:
1. Providing warmth. Keeping dogs inside during the frosty season is by far safest place for them. A short exercise break or a brisk walk is necessary for healthy minds. If for any reason your buddy needs to left outside, provide some type of shelter out of the elements. Provide cedar shavings, straw or a blanket on a raised floor to keep them off the cold ground. The doorway should be covered with some type of material to block the air yet permit easy access.
a. Extra food is needed to generate additional energy to keep warm.
b. Check water source frequently. It will be frozen.
c. A dog’s wet tongue will stick to a metal dish. Use a plastic or ceramic dish.
2. Frostbite or hypothermia. Dogs lacking a natural fur coat for the weather will need a coat or sweater. Chemicals or salt used to melt snow will irritate and burn paws. Licking their paws will also cause irritation to the tongue and mouth. Wipe paws off after a trip outside or teach them how to wear boots when outside.
3. Be a voice. Sometimes humans don’t understand the needs of our fellow animals. Speak up when a situation presents itself as being unkind to a pet. Talk to the human or call local authorities to check on a possible lack of care.
Our dog friends love us. Part of being in love is attending to each other’s needs. Dogs would never send us out into the cold without proper protection from the elements. Many of us have probably had to coax our dogs to go outside during frigid temperatures. They are just as uncomfortable in the cold as we are. Show some love!