Filed under: General
, Canine Health
Posted by: The Gundogdoc
@ 6:40 am
We’ve had a stretch of weather here in South Dakota that has been unbelievable…or should I say unbearable. I get extremely concerned about outside dogs in conditions like we have been experiencing. With temperatures and wind chills well below zero it just isn’t conducive to being outdoors.
I realize that all of us don’t have the luxury of having our pups inside full time; however, for those of you with outdoor dogs I’m posting this as a reminder to be extra vigilant with your outdoor dogs. Its to easy to throw some food and water in the kennel, make sure they’re still alive and head back to the warmth of the house. I’d ask you to take a little more time to evaluate your hunting partner:
- Ensure your housing set-up is adequate. I’ve seen some kennel set-ups
that I wouldn’t mind living in, and unfortunately, I’ve seen some I
couldn’t believe people ask their dogs to live in. In the northern part
of the country, winter is not the time for open-ended barrels. Your dog’s
housing needs to be insulated in order to trap heat, and almost as important, wind-proof. It’s my
opinion that some of these old dogs that “just didn’t make it through
the winter” either suffered from dehydration or hypothermia, and in
some cases both. Otherwise healthy dogs very, very rarely, “just die,” it may take the sting away to think so, but the truth in most cases is that a lack of adequate housing killed the dog.
- I know making sure food and water are available is a pretty obvious statement. With the temperatures the way they’ve been, the non-frozen water part is vitally important. Many, many, many health conditions we see in veterinary medicine are triggered by dehydration…make sure the water is clean, fresh and not frozen, and that your dog is drinking normal amounts.
- Make sure they are actually eating the food you are putting out AND that they are passing normal stools and urination. Too little urination may indicate dehydration. Loose stools can be a sign of internal issues. No stools is also a warning sign. Many of these highly intelligent dogs become VERY bored with laying in a dog house all day. This can lead to destructive chewing, which can result in foreign bodies.
- Provide mental stimulation. Just because it is cold out doesn’t mean the dog deserves a stretch of solitary confinement. These canines are extremely intelligent animals….treat them as such.
- Keep the runs clean. I know this is a tough one. It is important to keep the runs clean to keep the dogs clean. It’s important at all times during the year; however, it is especially important during this time of year to keep it from causing issues with the dog.
- Take the time to go over the dog, looking for any issues that may have cropped up. Almost all of our hunting dogs are prone to “hot spots” or moist, skin infections. Most people think of this as a summer condition of wet dogs. We will see a fair number of these issues in the winter months as well. The dog goes out in the snow, has it stick to the coat, goes back into the warm dog house, snow melts, coat gets wet, skin gets irritated and voila, hot spot.
That list is pretty simple, and most of the items are no more than a little common sense. However, because they are so simple, I think they are also pretty easy to forget. This is the time of year to be extra vigilant with your outdoor dogs. While your family is celebrating the joy of this Holiday Season, don’t forget about your hunting buddy out in his run.