Although dogs do maintain a normal body temperature that’s a couple of degrees higher than a human’s temperature, we still have to give them some help to stay warm in cold weather.
Start with a small, cozy, insulated dog house. Bigger is not better! The house needs to be small to trap and hold your dog’s body heat which will help keep him warm through the night. It should be just large enough for your dog to stand up, turn around and lie down in comfortably. The house can be homemade but new insulated plastic models available today are inexpensive and designed especially for comfort in cold weather.
Put the house in a sheltered location out of the wind. Take advantage of the sun’s warmth by putting it on the east or south side of your home. Placing it on a low platform to keep it off the frozen ground will help, too. The house should have a door or heavy flap over the entrance to keep out drafts.
Try to avoid using blankets and quilts for outside use. They trap moisture that can make your dog damp, chilly and uncomfortable. Fresh clean hay or straw is a better choice. It allows moisture to evaporate, retains warmth, is biodegradable and inexpensive. When buying straw or hay, use your nose! It should smell fresh and pleasant like dried grass clippings. Avoid any that smells strongly of mold or mildew. Spread the bedding generously in the dog house, four-to-five inches thick, and replace as needed.
For more winter tips watch for next months newsletter!