Every year during winter there always seems to be a time of record braking temperatures and this year is no different. Record lows from North to South across the Midwest have left some dogs out in the cold. Unfortunately, these dogs belong to pet owners either inexperienced or uncaring, cannot and do not survive the freezing temperatures winter brings.
What can we do to help these dogs? First would be to educate inexperienced dog owners letting them know that when the temperature dips below the freezing mark to bring their dog in out of the cold. Providing shelter from biting cold either in a dog house or the heated home is the best option.
Wind chill factors affect dogs much the same way they affect their human guardians. Allowing outdoor pets access to shelter increases their chances of survival but, may not be enough if the temperatures fall below the 20 degree mark. At these temps coupled with the wind your dog can be severely affected causing frost bite even death within hours if not minutes depending on how low the thermometer goes.
By adding two very important components to an outdoor dog house will save your dog. Place the dog house opening away from the wind and add a door. Next, add a heated dog mat to the dog house. Both of these additions, provided you have a longhaired dog, offer them the chance they deserve.
If you have a small dog or a member of the hound dog group, they need to be brought in the house allowed access to a heated space with warm dog bed to sleep in. Having a dog sweater available for these dogs will ensure they stay warm on long winter nights.
Be conscientious of the fact walking your dog or letting him/her outside to care of their business the cold will have an effect. Outfitting your dog in a set of dog paw protectors as well as some dog outerwear like a coat or sweater will keep them warm for short periods. It is best to have short more frequent dog walking sessions then a couple of long walks during cold weather.
As dog owners take the initiative and let your conscience, guide you if notice a neighbor leaving their dog outside unprotected from the elements. Try talking with them first and if you do not notice an immediate change call your local authorities. All too often dogs are found dead resulting from freezing and irresponsible owners. In most States, these people can be brought up on animal cruelty charges.
Dogs want nothing but to please their owner. It is our responsibility to raise and protect them giving them a home, a warm place to sleep, food to eat and companionship. Keep your dog safe by providing the dog supplies they need to survive the cold temperatures of winter.