By Abe Lerner
Keeping Pets Warm During the Winter Season
Not being particularly athletic, an NFL career did not seem to be in the works for Jimmy. As a rambunctious 7 year old though, he needed an outlet to release his abundant supply of energy. Throughout the warmer months he schmoozed outdoors with friends after returning home from school. The winter months were challenging however, as shooting the breeze in sub-freezing temperatures was painful. Last winter had developed into a nightmare, as he found himself literally climbing the walls inside his house, driving his parents absolutely bonkers in the process. Bored 7 year olds are generally a catastrophe waiting to happen!
Jimmy insisted though, that this year would be different. He was determined to be preoccupied with an alternate form of entertainment throughout this winter. Someone suggested purchasing a pet. Although pets had never been Jimmy’s passion, caring for a dog, he thought, would help him get through the winter. Uncertain how his parents would react to his request, he broached the subject with Mom and Dad during supper (a full stomach yields better results, no?) Mom and Dad listened attentively as Jimmy made his case for buying a dog. They complimented him for being proactive, and promised that they would give it some thought.
As kids, Mom and Dad had not been exposed to pets, but Jimmy’s request was a legitimate one, and vivid memories of last year’s torrid battles with him still lingered in their minds. The idea had merit, but they had one concern though. Jimmy had described the significance of pet ownership, as a means to, “get through the winter.” When spring arrived, what would happen with the dog? Would Jimmy abandon him to rejoin his friends? Weighing their options, they concluded that the resolution to this issue would be contingent on Jimmy’s taking permanent responsibility for the pet and its proper care. Educating himself in pet “maintenance” would be a prerequisite for purchasing the dog.
Mom and Dad presented their plan to Jimmy-they would indeed buy a dog, provided that Jimmy would become proficient in pet care. Additionally, tending to the dog’s needs would be solely his responsibility, and he wouldn’t be able to relinquish that role in May! Now it was Jimmy’s turn to think things through. Ultimately Jimmy bought in, and the crash course began. Gleaning information from pet owners as well as the Internet (Mom and Dad helped him surf the Web), he began jotting down notes with his crayon. A thought entered his mind. “If I’m remaining indoors due to the weather conditions, what about my dog?” Furthermore, do they even need to stay warm or are they innately equipped to brave the elements, as so many believe? With these questions in mind, he shifted the focus of his research to winter pet care.
Jimmy learned that most dogs are only able to withstand limited exposure to the cold. Essentially, if you’re cold, there’s a good chance that your dog is somewhat cold as well. Older dogs and those afflicted with arthritis are more susceptible to the negative effects of the wintery climate. According to Petplace.com, while remaining indoors is ideal, when outdoors they should be outfitted with booties and a sweater. Aside from fending off the cold, protecting their legs from tracking in salt crystals, antifreeze liquid, and other harmful toxins is paramount.
If they will remain outdoors for any length of time, it is highly recommended to insulate their doghouse to provide extra warmth. Raising their bedding off the floor is necessary, to prevent any moisture (snow or rain) from seeping into their mattresses. Providing more food than usual and maintaining a fresh supply of warm water is essential, as they burn more energy to stay warm, and water left to freeze outdoors is obviously not drinkable. Aside from these basic tips, a winter vet checkup is highly suggested, to ascertain that the pet doesn’t have any health issues that may be exacerbated by the cold.
Jimmy documented all of his research in a notebook dedicated to pet care, with an emphasis on the winter season. As only a 7 year old can, he pasted a sticker of a frankfurter in a bun on the cover of his notebook (tilted a drop to the left!), and appropriately titled it, “Hot Dog.”
As they say, the rest is history…
Abe Lerner is a member of the pack at NutralifePet, a division of Nutralife Health Products, Inc., which has been selling high quality dietary supplements since 1996. NutralifePet, the manufacturer of Ultra Joint & Liver Support with SAM-e for dogs and cats, caters to the individual needs of each pet. NutralifePet…caring about animals, one pet at a time…