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Winterizing Lizzie and Winston
Depending on where you live, winter can be brutal. Blows of snow, ice and wind chills that send the temperature plummeting below zero are not uncommon occurrences. Every year when the holidays fall and the days get shorter, you start winterizing your house and your car. You wrap your windows in plastic, put the snow tires on your car, stock up on hot chocolate, and you’re ready for whatever Old Man Winter throws at you.
However, your dogs, Lizzie and Winston, are another story. Lizzie has to go outside to do her business, and Winston’s kennel enclosure is outside. You, their loving owner, are responsible for their winter well-being.
Coup Winter Gear
First, there is the choice of dog gear. There are all kinds of winter weather clothes for your dogs, from the smallest Chihuahua to the largest Great Dane. From Lizzie’s dewclaws to the tips of her ears, she can be warm and stylish, or ridiculous looking, depending on your views on dog fashion.
Trendy or not, winter clothing for dogs is essential, especially for small breeds like Lizzie. Her extremities are your first concern. Her thin, sensitive ears and bare feet must be covered if at all possible. Many sizes and varieties of dog shoes are available that easily strap her feet. The booties provide warmth and even have grips on the bottom to help Lizzie walk on the ice and navigate snow mountains. They also protect against the salt used by the city to help melt the snow faster.
Her ears can be covered with several varieties of hats, headbands and hoods. If you don’t want to buy something for her ears, there is a remarkably cheap and effective alternative. Take a tube sock and cut off the foot. Pull the remaining “tube” over Lizzie’s head as a neck warmer. Be sure not to pull it down too far. Her ears must remain covered. For larger dogs like Winston, one of your own neck warmers should do the trick.
Then all you have left to worry about is your dog’s bodies. Dog sweaters, coats and sweatshirts are available in every shape, size and color you can think of. There are also different degrees of “heavy duty,” from something that would be comfortable for your pup in a fall wind to something that would withstand a freezing wind.
Bed and Lodging
After Lizzie and Winston are decked out in their winter clothes, the next thing to worry about is where they sleep. Lizzie, who sleeps inside, is less worried. Putting an extra blanket in her kennel or moving her doggy bed closer to the heat vent is a nice way to ensure her comfort.
For Winston, whose kennel is outdoors, fortification against the elements is more essential. You should make sure that inside his kennel enclosure, there is some solid-walled shelter, preferably made of wood. Winston should be able to fit comfortably inside this snug hole to keep out the wind and the snow. You also want to make sure there are plenty of dry blankets in this shelter. This may mean that you need to change them regularly. You could even go so far as to get a heated blanket in the shelter, plugged into an outside outlet.
It’s also a good idea to prepare a small space in your garage or basement with a dog bed that can be available for Winston in the coldest and most severe storms of winter.
The Chub-style Diet
Before the winter starts, and even during the winter, eating Winston and Lizzie a little extra can be healthy. Animals naturally gain weight as the seasons change to cope with the cold. Your dog getting a little heavier before the winter months is encouraged, but you have to be careful. Lizzie and Winston will have fewer opportunities for exercise during the winter. As such, too much extra weight can be unhealthy.
Try to find exercises that your dogs can do even in the winter months. A smaller dog like Lizzie can run around the house, playing fetch or tug of war. Winston is still more suited to outdoor activities, which means you have to gather enough to play with him for a while. You’ll get cold before he does, but exercise, even 10 to 15 minutes a day, will make all the difference in the world to maintaining a healthy weight balance and getting lean.
The Pot Ritual
You must be patient with your dogs in the colder months. While Winston shouldn’t have a problem, Lizzie will find her pot ritual considerably more difficult.
Imagine yourself in Lizzie’s place. You wouldn’t want to do your business in subzero temperatures, and sometimes, neither do they. Being outside is dangerous for a small dog like Lizzie. Don’t try to have some kind of stand and wait for it because you can last longer in the weather than she can. Some days, she’ll pass out or freeze before she pees because it’s so cold.
The best thing you can do to encourage Lizzie to pee outside is to make tracks for her. Deep snow can be painful on her feet and sometimes reaches up to her chest and lower side. She can get too cold or even frostbite. Obviously, then, she won’t feel compelled to go potty outside.
A path, made either with a shovel, snow blower, or even by stomping the snow with your boots, will give Lizzie a place to pee and poop where she is not deep in snow, depending on the place, she may even be blocked from. the wind
Remember that your 2-year-old is much more susceptible to the cold and snow than your 10-year-old, who is seemingly invulnerable. Applying these steps for your older dog that you do for your little one will ensure that your older dog is just as comfortable.
On days when it’s too cold for Lizzie, it’s good to have some pee pads in your house that are available for Lizzie if she needs them. Hopefully during her potty training when she was a puppy, you got her used to peeing pads. If not, and she’s peeing somewhere else, run her to the pads and eventually she’ll get it. But like everything else, you have to be consistent.
Now that Lizzie and Winston are ready for winter, all you have to do is make sure they don’t chase Santa away when he comes to deliver your Christmas presents.
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#Winterizing #Lizzie #Winston