Brrr! It’s getting cold out there! I don’t know about you, but when I go out I really like to bundle up – parka, hat, scarf, and sometimes I even wear two pairs of gloves for my very cold hands. On my feet, when it gets really cold, I invested in a pair of lined Bean boots, which I wear with two pairs of socks at times. And when I get home, I open the door and am grateful for the warmth and shelter from the wind and snow. Hot chocolate, fleece through, soft couch, and the TV remote. I am snug as bug in a rug. And where is my dog?
If I am anybody, my dog could be with me indoors, on the couch with me or on his own bed on the floor. He could also be outside in the backyard or in a kennel or tied out. If your dog spends any time outdoors in the elements there are some things they will need to do to keep them safe and healthy and more comfortable in the cold. This goes for the kitties, too.
First off, your dog or cat will need shelter. A dog house, cat house, access to a shed or barn - anywhere they can get away from the rain, snow, and wind. Take care of any holes or spaces that might let in drafts. Face the opening of the house to the south to avoid the north wind. Raise the house or bed off the ground to keep the cold from going right up to your pet. The best houses will be insulated, draft free, leak free, and raised off the ground. The shelter should be big enough for the animal to stand up and turn completely around. Here are a couple of links on how to make a great house for your pet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJOI0I4gSas and http://www.ehow.com/how_4969749_build-large-insulated-dog-house.html .
For bedding, straw is the best. Blankets and fabric get wet when your animals come in from the rain or snow and won’t dry well. It can then become moldy and gross. It also isn’t very good as insulation from the cold. So, you’ll want to stock up on some straw for the season. I got some at Orcshelns in Trenton. Try to get what you need right from the beginning, because it can be hard to find later in the season. Store it somewhere dry. Fill your dog or cat’s house half way up with straw. It will seem like more than you need, but the animals don’t just lay on it, they like to burrow in, nice and cozy. You should periodically check the straw to see if it is still dry and clean and if you need to add more.
Now, about food and water. You may need to feed your animal more than you do in the warm months because they are burning more calories just keeping warm. It is just as important to make sure your animal has adequate water in the winter as it is in the summer. If you cannot use an electric heated water bowl then make sure you give them drinkable water 2 to 3 times a day. Dark, rubber bowls are best. They don’t freeze as fast. Metal and shallow bowls freeze quickest.
Young puppies and kittens, elderly animals, underweight or sick animals, or small breeds should not be left outside in the cold. They are simply not equipped for it and could succumb to the elements quickly. If your animal is old, underweight, or a small breed such as a Chihuahua or Yorkie, you may want to invest in a little coat or sweater for warmth. Or you can make one with a sweatshirt arm. Just cut it off, make holes for the dog’s arms and the wrist cuff is the neck.
A few other tips –
Cats like to sleep in the warm engine of your car. Bang on your hood before starting your engine.
More dogs are lost during the winter than during any other season, so make sure yours always wears ID tags.
Avoid walking your dog on rock salt, it can damage their paw pads.
Antifreeze is sweet to the taste, but poisonous. Clean up any spills.
Have your dog on a leash around frozen ponds and lakes so he can’t run off and fall through.
Avoid leaving your animal in the car. Without heat your car can act like a refrigerator, and leaving the heat on can lead to monoxide poisoning.
Winter Games : Fun Indoor Ideas For You and Your Dog
It's winter in Missouri. If freezing cold winds won't keeping you from playing with your pooch outdoors, the warmer, muddy days will. So, what do you do to break away from the inevitable cabin fever? The restless dog barking out the window, chewing on the furniture, turboing through the living room, bored to the brink of insanity...
Here are some ideas. There's something for every dog here, whether they be toy driven, food driven, socially oriented, scent hounds, herding breed, smart-as-a-whip mutt, or lazy couch warmer.
1. Play hide and seek. Put your dog in a sit stay or have another family member hold them and go hide. Call your dog and when he finds you reward him with a little treat and a lot of praise.
2. Play the shell game. Put a tasty treat under a cup or bowl while your dog watches. Add a couple more cups and move the cups around. Let your dog find the cup with the treat under it.
3. Play a tracking game. Leave a trail of very small treats leading to a larger, more smelly treat hidden somewhere.
4. Put your dog's dry dog food meal into an empty plastic juice or sports drink or soda bottle to make a treat dispenser. Remove the plastic and ring at the top. What size you use depends on the size of your dog. Smaller openings on soda bottles are more challenging, so start with the juice ones with the wider opening.
5. Teach your dog basic obedience commands. You either read up on it or watch videos on the internet. It takes consistency, patience, & practice but once your dog the hang of learning how to learn things come to them quicker. Just go to YouTube and type in "how to train your dog to" & whatever you want to teach them. Watch me or Look, Sit, Stand, Down, Stay, Heel are the basic commands. Here is one example - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfAPyaNz0Uc
6. Makeshift agility equipment in a basement can be lots of fun. A cardboard tunnel, a few boards & bricks to make a ramp or teeter totter, a row of clothes baskets can be a hurdle. Use your imagination. Lead or lure your dog through the equipment with a reward after each one. This is real agility - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggsIU8rXubk%20 and this is makeshift agility - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjeEZFyiCYU&feature=related
7. Another sport you can improvise is flyball. You'll need some toys, a long space for a dog to run, and two people. Have a person at each end with toys the dog likes to carry. Give one to the dog and have the person at the other end call the dog VERY enthusiastically. Trade toys when the dog gets to the other end. Then the person on the other end calls the dog. See how fast your dog can go without dropping the toys. Add hurdles to make it more difficult. This is real flyball - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X64NC0oQdPI
8. If your dog is likes to exercise his mind AND body, try Treibball. Or a variation of it. This sport is actually for herding competitions where there are no sheep. The dogs herd yoga balls, so it can be done indoors. Your dog isn't a herding breed, you say? Well, neither is my Min Pin and she gets REALLY excited when she sees her red ball. First I taught her to tap her nose against my hand, then the ball. She enjoys the treat she gets when she does it. She doesn't really herd the ball anywhere yet, but she has lots of fun. This is my dog doing a home version of Treibball - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SoSkL6baIc This is how to train it - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFpH_WLC4qs This is a competition - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFoocvOaVBY
9. Is your dog more the mellow type? Or maybe an older dog that isn't as playful? Try yoga...with your dog. It's called Doga. It's good for you and your dog.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3HzrKzkDgQ&feature=related & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRvJ2MCiO30
Adoption fee includes current yearly vaccinations, rabies tag & certificate, de-worming, heartworm/feline leukemia testing and spay/neuter.
Above and Beyond Adoptions
Never Say Never - Jamie's Story
"Who's going to adopt a dog like that?...No one's going to adopt a dog like that...That dog will never get adopted."I know we all said it, or at least thought it, even if for just a moment. But it was true, sort of. Jamie had so much going against her, it was sometimes hard to believe there was a home out there for her. But we trudged on, hoping against hope that it was true, all dogs have a home - somewhere, when the right time comes...http://meghanmg.blog.com/never-say-never-jamies-story/
Could you go above and beyond for an animal with special needs or consideration?
Meet Mariah, a 1 year old Blue Heeler/Border Collie that is waiting for that one of a kind person to take her home.
This is Mariah. She is a young Border Collie/Blue Heeler (Australian Cattle Dog) mix. She is sweet-natured, curious, loyal, and playful. Her origins are a mystery. She found by some folks in their garage foraging for food. She had a good body condition, but seemed very fearful and had to be trapped. Once she was brought to the animal shelter, it became apparent that Mariah hadn't been socialized to people and things very well. Here at the shelter, she has undergone some intense rehabilitation and, although she has some work left to go, she barely resembles the frightened girl she was when she arrived. Learn more about Mariah...
TWO Dog Obedience Training Options Available NOW from Volunteers at the Shelter
NOVICE DOG OBEDIENCE CLASSES
Group Obedience Classes are held twice a year, usually in the Fall and Spring.
The next series of classes will begin in September 2013. Classes meet once a week for eight weeks. Dogs and their owners learn the basics of teaching the dog to sit, stay and come, as well as other fun activities in the hope that this will help your dog become a better and closer companion to your family.
S & P 1:1 Dog Obedience Course
Is your dog nervous around strangers? Does he bark excessively at other dogs? Or maybe you are uncomfortable in group settings? A 1:1 basic obedience course is now available for owners that are unable to take advantage of our group class due to pet or owner special consideration. The cost is the same as the basic obedience class the shelter holds twice a year - $80 for an 8 week course. Just you, your dog and the instructor. There is a 10% discount for dogs adopted from our shelter. Dogs must be 6 months or older. Handlers must be 16 years or older. Slots are limited. To see if you qualify, contact Instructor Meghan Giacopelli at Green Hills Animal Shelter at (660) 359-2700 or drop by the shelter to talk with her on M-W-Sa 1-5 pm.
It takes a rare, special person to take on a geriatric dog that may need medication daily, but the rewards can't be beat. Questions about adopting a senior/geriatric dog? - http://www.srdogs.com/Pages/adopt.html
We Were Saved!
See the faces of wonderful pets that have already found their forever home -
The Mission of the Green Hills Animal Shelter is to provide a comprehensive community-based animal care, education and adoption program by providing a safe haven for abandoned, abused and neglected animals; educating the public on responsible pet ownership and the importance of spaying and neutering animals; and encouraging and facilitating the adoption of available animals by appropriate and responsible community members.