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For the love of you pet: Protect your dog during cold weather

By John Beck
Jan. 24, 2013 at midnight
Updated Jan. 23, 2013 at 7:24 p.m.

Can you give us some good information on protecting our dogs from this cold weather?

Dogs can struggle through this cold snap as much as we do. We are lucky enough to be able to hide out inside our warm house or put on extra clothes or jackets to stay warm. Dogs do not have these options unless their owners make it available for them. If your pet usually stays inside and only goes out to use the restroom or stretch their legs, then doggy clothing might be a great option for you.

A lot of different places around town and the Internet offer great coats that are water resistant and have cut outs in the proper places. These provide extra protection in the cold and wet weather but still allow your pets to do their business. If your pets normally stay outside, dog clothing is probably not the best option. The better option is to provide adequate shelter during extreme colds. Having a dog house or hutch where your pet can get some relief from the wind is very important.

If you already have a doghouse, make sure the opening is being directly penetrated by the north winds. If it is, try turning the house the opposite direction. If that isn't an option, nail or staple a towel or sheet over the opening to try and block some of the wind. Another good option is to let your dog stay in your garage or laundry room overnight and for a little while the next morning. If this is a good option for you, be sure to double-check the room/garage for any hazardous materials (i.e. antifreeze, trash, motor oil) which could cause your pet harm.

Another couple reminders: Pets tend to drink more water in the colder months. Make sure you are checking their water supply on a regular basis. If the water bowl is kept outside, make sure it isn't frozen in the mornings. Cats like to hide under hoods in warm engines during the cold time. Bang on the hood and/or honk your horn before starting your engine.

If you have any other veterinary questions, please feel free to contact me.

Dr. John Beck has a veterinary practice at Hillcrest Animal Hospital in Victoria. Submit questions to Dr. Beck at



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