February 19, 2008

Winter Dog Care Tip #4

Even if your dog never steps a foot outside in the winter, it can still be a miserable time for them right in your home. Cold air drops. Floor temperatures are lower, particularly on tile and hard wood. And since your pooch is considerably lower to the ground than you are, they'll feel it long before it has you reaching for the thermostat. Try walking through the house for an hour or two with bare feet. If you find yourself wanting a pair of socks or slippers, then chances are your pup isn't as comfortable as he wants to be either!
The simple fact is, a dog who may have spent the summer months sprawled comfortably across your living room floor will not likely be so comfy when winter hits if you haven't got the proper sleeping area for him (or her). Now is definitely the time to consider getting a good dog bed, or at least pile up some warm blankets for him to lay on. Be sure to position their bedding away from doorways and drafts and... heat vents. Yep, you read that correctly, keep their bedding away from the heat vents. The reasoning here is twofold: For one, if the bed is near enough for your dog to get overly warm while the furnace is on, the large fluctuations in temperature between running times will not be good for him when he's snoozing. The other reason is, many modern heating systems have a "cool down" cycle where, for a short time, the heating elements shut off and cooler air blows through the vents. This isn't *cold* air so to say, but still cool enough that it could fall into the "draft" category.

February 12, 2008

Winter Dog Care Tip #3

It's a common misconception that all dogs can deal with cold weather "just fine" because they have fur. While it's true that Mother Nature has made certain breeds quite hardy, others have virtually no tolerance for cold and need extra protection to stay safe. The age, size, and physical condition of your dog are all factors to consider. Elderly pets and puppies are particularly succeptible to the cold, as are small breed dogs and dogs with thin fur or certain medical conditions.
So if you find that your pooch just isn't cut out for a job at Snow Patrol, the best thing you can do is to provide them with a warm dog coat or dog sweater before they venture outside. Those made of fleece or wool are the best choices because they help retain heat and carry moisture away from the body as well, and be sure to select a style that covers your dog's belly too!
Do keep in mind though that even if your dog is sporting the best coat or sweater on the market, a truly susceptible pet shouldn't be left outside for any longer than necessary.