September 29, 2020

BY KATRINA EDLEFSEN

Just because they have a built-in fur coat doesn’t mean that all animals are equipped to deal with the icy temperatures plaguing Canada this winter.
With weather dipping in and out of negative double digits, Canadians are questioning whether they should be taking their pets outdoors.

According to Tracy Laraway, an agent at the Cambridge and District Humane Society (CDHS), when dogs are taken outside for walks it is important that their paws are given proper protection and care.

One option she suggests is getting a pair of widely available dog boots for your pet even though she admits that many dogs are not a fan of the sensation caused by having their paws covered.

“If your dog will not wear boots – then the best fix is to coat their paws in petroleum jelly before heading out into the cold,” Laraway said. “It helps to keep the salt and ice off their feet and all you have to do is wipe it off with a warm, damp cloth when you return indoors.”

However, not all dogs like being indoors and some are even bred to remain outside. A letter received by the Hamilton Spectator from Jerseyville resident Kathleen Payne, pointed out that some animals are bred to be outside such as her family’s Great Pyrenees.

In the letter, Payne said her dog refuses to come inside due to the fact that it has been bred to remain outdoors to protect the livestock, such as her family’s sheep.

“She has a spot, with dry straw, out of the wind if she chooses to sleep there; normally she does not,” said Payne in the letter. “She can be found outside, bedded down in a pile of hay. I should also mention that she will not come into the house, by her choice, because it is too hot for her.”

Laraway said, “The best insulation for a doghouse is straw – and lots of it, it dries quickly, the dog can fluff it up and burrow in it. Blankets on the other hand – if the dog gets wet then goes and lies down on the blanket – it just transfers the wet to the blanket.”

The doghouse should also be on the smaller size to help maintain warmth.

“If the doghouse is too big, there is a lot of air flow that can get around it, making it very hard to keep warm,” Laraway said.

Of course, it is hard to keep your pets indoors all the time so when they do have to go out remember to warm them up with a towel or blanket after bringing them back indoors. Not only will it help them take the chill off, but it is also a good time to get a few good, warm cuddles in as well.

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