Friday, December 3, 2010
The temperatures are dropping, and if your dog spends time outdoors in winter, it’s important to make sure his doghouse is properly winterized. Responsible pet owners have no problem spending an afternoon making sure their pet will have a nice warm place to spend the winter. It is advisable that if possible you prepare a space for your dog in your garage or basement, but if that is not feasible you can still make sure your dog will be warm and safe throughout the winter.
Doghouses come in all shapes and sizes; there are igloo shaped houses, large kennel type houses, and even homemade wooden doghouses. When choosing a doghouse, keep in mind that for winter you need something that will block the wind. The smaller the entrance or the longer the entrance to the dog house extends, the better for keeping your dog warm and cozy inside. It is pretty easy to affix an extension tunnel entrance to nearly every type of doghouse that doesn’t already have one. It may take your dog a few days to get used to moving through a longer space before being in his house, but he will quickly adjust and appreciate the warmth.
Because fleas and ticks aren’t quite as prevalent in the winter, many pet owners forget to treat the bedding and doghouse for these pests. Linda Cole’s article explains why winter is the ideal time to fight fleas. Fleas and ticks are also looking for somewhere warm with lots of food for the winter, so what better place than your dog’s bedding? All bedding should be removed from the doghouse and cleaned thoroughly or replaced before winter begins. There are several ways to treat your dog’s bedding, using purchased products or natural additives to repel fleas and ticks.
Straw makes an excellent warm padding and mud preventive. Simply surround your doghouse with a thick layer of straw to keep your dog from standing in cold mud or tracking mud inside the doghouse. Your dog’s paws may also require some extra care during the cold season; read our Winter Paw Care article to learn just what to do.
If you happen to have a homemade wooden doghouse, you can make it nearly as warm and draft free as your own home. The easiest way I’ve found is to use spray insulation. It fills the cracks and crevices that allow cold air to seep in. You can also apply roof shingles to prevent leaks and water damage throughout the winter.
Although it may be cold outside, your dog isn’t going to want to spend all winter in his doghouse. By affixing a simple tarp to your fence and covering the whole area where the doghouse sits, you are providing an area for your dog to sit, lay, walk and eat that doesn’t send him out into the wind.
Be sure to check your dog’s food and water a few times each day; water freezes and food can become soggy if there’s snow or rain. You also need to make sure your dog has fresh water that is not covered with a layer of ice at all times.
The winter doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable season for an outdoor dog. By spending just a few hours winterizing the doghouse, you can keep your canine buddy warm and cozy on even the coldest nights. Keep in mind that in times of extreme cold weather and sub zero temperatures, it is always best to bring your dog inside.
Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie