This is a repost of an article we printed in 2011. The info is still important to remember each and every winter – Enjoy!
One of my cousins lives in Fairbanks, Alaska, where her Air Force husband is currently stationed, and she was joking to me recently how a 35 degree day felt like a heat wave. In Austin, we’re more used to worrying about the heat than the cold, and for good reason: it can hit the 90s or higher in May and usually stays there in October. But as news of recent ice storms and our own chilly days and sub-freezing nights have reminded us, we can get cold here too, especially in January and February.
As they do in the summer, DogBoys’ dedicated and tireless kennel staff are on watch to make sure no dog is suffering in the cold while they come for boarding or daycare. Many of our regulars feel extra-frisky on nice crisp mornings and you can see them running and playing in our many playgroups. And if you can’t see them, you can certainly hear them! These dogs are having a great time. But just as some dogs are particularly vulnerable to the heat, others feel the cold more. Questions about warmth in our kennel buildings is a common question this time of year. Rest assured—both of our kennels are heated and our larger, newer kennel building even has radiant heating in the floors. The older kennel has sliding doors in each of the runs that we shut at night to keep the heat in, and we put down blankets for everyone. Both kennels are fully climate controlled as well. With all that, the dogs stay nice and toasty!
Many owners of short-haired breeds like Weimaraners, Viszlas, Greyhounds and Pointers will bring specially-made dog jackets on very cold days, and we welcome them. You can purchase them in many pet stores like our local Tomlinson’s or online; if you’re handy with a crochet hook or knitting needles, you can even make your own! (Knitting Pattern Central has a great selection of free dog sweater patterns available for download). Either way, we are happy to put them on your dog but be warned—those sweaters can take a beating in playgroup!
What about when they’re at home? If your dogs are mostly indoor dogs, they’ll be fine. However, if we get snow, sleet or ice you will want to check between your dog’s pads to make sure none of that is stuck in there. Even more importantly, salt and chemicals used to melt ice on roads and sidewalks can burn dogs’ pads, so you will want to wipe your dog’s feet off right away if you need to take a walk on any salted surfaces. You will also want to make sure antifreeze is stored where your dog can’t get at it, as that can be deadly if they ingest it.
If you have an outdoor dog, take care. If you have a cold weather breed like a husky or Malamute with a thick coat, they’ll probably be fine even on Austin’s coldest days. In fact, a husky who’s a daycare regular at DogBoy’s even prefers sleeping outside on chilly nights! Short-coated dogs, or older dogs with arthritis or other health issues should spend chilly nights indoors, as they will be more prone to hypothermia and, in extreme cold, frostbite.
As with Austin’s hot summers, dogs are vulnerable to the same effects of cold as we are. Odds are good that if you need to take precautions when the temperatures plunge, your dog will need them too. If you are coming for boarding or daycare, take a moment with us to warm yourself by the fire and have some hot chocolate or cider before going out again. Bundle up!
If you have questions about other ways to keep your dog warm in the winter, or how we do that here at DogBoy’s, feel free to contact us. We love to help when it comes to your dogs!
Thanks to Jay Robison, DogBoy’s Receptionist for this blog post.