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Winter Care
The Camp Hook pool is closed--time to think about how cold weather effects our dogs!

Winter is fun, but takes some special care to keep dogs healthy.
Crucial to your dog's winter comfort and survival:
  • Water: As in summer, change frequently to keep fresh. And just as in summer dogs don't want to drink water that's too warm, in winter they avoid drinking water that's too cold. So just breaking up the ice isn't enough! Who but a Lab wants to stick their muzzle into ice cold water?
  • Shelter: The cedar shavings I keep in my outdoor kennels in summer to repel bugs do not insulate well in cold weather. I stuff my dogloos with straw to make a cozy cave. It surprises me how weather resistant even most short coated dogs are--I let the dog tell me if it's too cold. If a dog looks unhappy or is shivering, he needs relief from the weather NOW.
  • If night temperatures are going to be bitter, I keep 20 crates set up in my shop, with blankets and comforters, and the dogs enjoy a slumber party.
  • If a dog doesn't come here with his own jacket, I have plenty in all sizes. I'm not a Boy Scout, but I stay prepared!
  • Wind Break: The biggest enemy in cold weather is wind. If a dog can stay dry and out of the wind, it can usually stay comfortable in all but the coldest temperatures.
  • Food: Outside dogs needs to consume 30% more calories through the cold months than they need in warmer weather. As I can attest, a layer of fat really insulates! So there is a good reason for our winter padding!
Special Winter Conditions:
Frostbite can be a concern when a dog spends a lot of unprotected time out in the cold and wet.

Outdoor dogs exposed for long periods of freezing temperatures with no way to warm themselves are at even greater risk. The parts of the body that have the least circulation will be affected first--ears and tail tips. Early signs are pain and pale skin. Use warm, moist heat (not hot) and do not rub! The skin turns red and then black in later stages as the skin dies.

Hypothermia is not just a human problem--it can kill dogs as well. Here are some signs of this dangerous condition:
  • Uncontrolled shivering
  • Unsteadiness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
This is an extreme emergency! First warm your dog--if his temperature is below 90 degrees, apply towels soaked in warm water or immerse in warm bath. Have someone call your vet.

Zelle and Meghan in their winter coats.
Don't be embarrassed to put jackets and sweaters on inside dogs when they spend time outside.

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Don't stop your dog's heartworm preventative when winter arrives. Here in NC we get one warm day and the mosquitoes are out hunting. We have no bug-free months!

Above all, make sure your dog stays hydrated!

It is just as important in winter. He should have access to fresh water at all times.


Kipper and Whiskey can't get enough snow!
As much as dogs love to play in the snow, precautions must be taken to protect them!

Kicking back on the couch is a good winter option for Rodeo.