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Keep pets protected in winter months

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Winter, with its bitter wind, rain and snow, is rapidly approaching.

Don't wait too long to prepare for outdoor animals' needs.

Dogs really need to be near their human caregivers. They are usually calmer and happier if they are allowed to live in your home with you.

Sometimes this may not be possible, and a dog must be kepy outside in a fenced enclosure.

Short-haired, very young or old dogs should never be left outdoors in cold weather. Law required outdoor dogs to have adequate shelter.

They need a draft-proof doghouse with a door facing away from the wind.

The house should be large enough to allow the animal to sit and lie down, comfortably, but small enough to hold his body heat.

The floor should be raised a few inches off the ground. Putting a board along the bottom of the door opening will help keep bedding inside.

Bedding can be shredded newspaper, straw etc.

Carpeting or blankets can be used if the dog does not pull it out, and must be checked often to be sure that the animal is not lying on frozen ice.

Eighteen different doghouse plans, including an insulated doghouse, can be found online at doghouse-plans.com/doghouse-plans.html.

Another site, toolcrib.com/...24-free-dog-house-plans-peaked-roof-a-frams-dog-shelters-kennels-and-more/, features 24 free doghouse plans.

Use heated bowls for water if possible. If not, then be sure the water is changed several times a day if it becomes frozen.

Dogs drink a lot of water. Insufficient water can lead to dehydration, hypothermia and death.

High quality food is very important, and adding a tablespoon of corn oil can provide extra calories and warmth.

Outdoor dogs and cats should be given 25 percent more food in winter.

Cats should live indoors with you. An outdoor cat's life expectancy improves to more than twice that of a cat forced to live outdoors due to the many hazards of being made to stay outdoors.

But if this is not possible then the animal, like all domesticated creatures, should be provided with a warm, dry, draft-free shelter.

Outdoor dogs should be given the same consideration you would give id the dog lived in the house with you.

They should be walked and brushed daily and given plenty of love and attention.

You are your companion animal's whole world.

Make her the devoted family member she so wishes to be.

Inherit the Earth is a Greencastle-based organization.

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Great article!!!

One thing I might add...rather than use a blanket for bedding, consider straw.

Blankets / carpet retain water & mud from paws, so the dog winds up on a soggy, flat piece of cloth. Straw would allow the dog to snuggle up & help reduce drafts.

Also, postition the dog house so that it faces south, to get as much sun in winter as possible, & buffer the winds from the north & west.

TSC & Big R have those heated water bowls- they're great for dogs that HAVE to be outside.

-- Posted by Essie on Thu, Nov 18, 2010, at 1:16 PM

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