No matter where you live in Australia, temperatures drop during the winter months. So how can you ensure your pet stays warm during the long, cold nights? Here's everything you need to know about setting up a kennel or bed for your pooch.
The kennel you choose will make a very big difference to how protected your pet will be from the cold, wet winter weather. Some dog houses even come insulated and electrically-powered, which can be the best option if you aren't very handy. However, if you opt for a less expensive dog kennel, you'll still need to go through the trouble of insulating and water-proofing it, so it may be a better idea to just bite the bullet and purchase the fully-loaded doghouse from the get-go.
Other things to consider in choosing, or building your dog's kennel, are roof, materials and size. The roof should be angled to encourage rain, hail (and even in some places snow) to fall onto the ground. The material should be waterproof or treated to resist water, and it should be big enough that your dog has room to stand, sit and sleep. You can opt for something large enough to accommodate minimal walking, but keep in mind that a larger kennel will be more difficult to keep warm.
Once you've selected the right doghouse for you, it's time to decide where you want to put it. Do you want it to be a reasonable distance from your property to minimize barking, or next to your home or garage? The closer the kennel is to your property, the easier it will be to run electricity and water to it. Also, if you place the kennel next to your garage or home, it can help deflect cold wind and rain, keeping your pet warm and dry. Wherever you place it, be sure to face the door away from the direction from which the wind is most likely to blow.
Now that you've selected where you'd like the kennel to go, consider keeping it elevated at least a few inches off of the ground. Keeping the kennel elevated will help keep it warm and dry, particularl in the case of rain or frost. Keep in mind that if you do elevate the kennel, you'll want to use wood or tough, plastic flaps to seal the vacant space. This helps keep rodents and moisture out.
Flooring and Bedding
What you place inside the kennel is just as important as the exterior. You'll want to make sure that your pet has a warm bed and blankets for keeping cosy and depending on the kennel, you can even line the floor with hay or wood chips. Some dog beds can be heated electrically, so if you're in a colder region you may want to consider this as an option. Whatever you choose, just be sure it stays dry and clean to ensure your pet's health.
Food and Water
Unless you live in Tasmania, you probably won't have to worry too much about your pet's water bowl freezing. If you do, however, live in a colder region, or if you have a friend that does, this tip may be useful. When temperatures drop below freezing, your pet runs the risk of suffering from dehydration if his water bowl freezes. If you are at risk of such a phenomenon, you can either purchase a heated water bowl or a device that sits in your water bowl, heats the water, and keeps it from freezing. Both options require electricity but are well worth the money (also, be sure to opt for the chew-proof one). And obviously, as a rule, make sure you regular refill their food and water bowls.
Now your pup is ready for warm, cosy winter nights. Do you have tips for winter-proofing your pooch's kennel? Fill us in below.
Dr Ben Willcocks is a Veterinarian and contributor to the pet website Vetico - www.vetico.com.au