Brrrrr… A Word From Doc about Cold Weather
As Mother Nature has set the thermostat at an abnormally low temperature, I have been asked by clients, “How cold is too cold? When should I bring my pets in?” First, let’s understand something: The majority of DOGS in our lives are not of God’s design. They are custom made, designed by man, mostly for characteristics that are desired my man, not nature. Yes an Alaskan Malamute, or a Husky, can sleep buried in snow, but a breed such as a beagle, pit bull, or dachshund, cannot. Most of the breeds of dogs we have created are not “built” for the rugged outdoors, they are built for the couch.
The length and type of hair coat are things that need to be considered. Other important considerations are the health and age of the animal. A dog with heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, or other metabolic illnesses, would be affected by the cold temperature much more. There is also the consideration of how quickly the water source for this pet freezes. Even when not frozen, the water may be too cold for your pet to drink.
So, to answer my original question, I have no answer. There isn’t one, because there are too many variables. So, instead ask yourself, “would you take your pets place?”. If you must leave your dog outside, here are a few tips:
- Protect them from the wind. This doesn’t mean by using a make-shift, plywood box. A dog deserves a true house with a floor, walls, and a roof. The opening should be away from the direction of the wind. The house should also be in an area where it is exposed to the sun during the day, providing a source of thermal warming. (The same house might need be moved during the summer months).
- Use straw bedding (or something similar for insulation) and line the floor of the house.
- Provide warm water multiple times a day, and warm the dog’s food.
- When there is prolonged cold temperatures, it is still best to bring the dog inside.
- If you must get “an outdoor” dog, please consider the type of dog and it’s natural ability to deal with both the cold of winter, and the heat of summer.