Bobbi Pack (Dec. 9, 2013) During the cold winter months many of our four-legged Military Brats are just as cold as their humans. This is especially true with animals that are not habituated to the cold nor have specific cold weather traits. It’s very important to keep your animals warm during this cold weather as it can affect their health. It does not take much effort to ensure there are warm and snug, here are a few tips to help make sure your four-legged Military Brats are warm and healthy throughout winter.
1. Make sure you understand the breed of your animal. For example many dog breeds are more prone to the cold while others adapt well in colder weather. If you are stationed in a cold environment dogs you should consider are Alaskan Malamutes or Siberian Huskies. If you are stationed where the weather is warm you can look into the toy bread or hairless dogs such as greyhounds.
2. Provide appropriate shelter for your four-legged family members. It is vital that your four-legged Military Brats remain indoors throughout the cold months; you should however let them out to do their business. Young little guys should never be left outdoors in the cold as they do not have the ability to keep themselves warm like the older guys do. I know not everyone has the capability to keep their animals indoors all the time so to ensure they are warm when left outdoors make sure there is a proper shelter to go to when it is raining or snowing. Also, make sure you supply them with a blanket to snuggle in when they are under the shelter (it is vital to change the blanket as they get wet). The Exchange has good prices on doggy and cat beds.
3. Bedding for our little guys. Make sure all the bedding you give your little guy has enough padding to keep their belly’s warm. This is where the dog or cat bed will come in handy as it basically will lift them off the cold ground. For our older four-legged Military Brats you might want to consider using a heated bed. Don’t forget to change their bedding to reduce germs, mess and nasty things like fleas.
4. Use clothing for your Military Brats. It is okay to use clothing for your little guys. It can help keep the animals warm that are not used to the cold weather. A good example of this is the toy breads or hairless dogs. You can pick up a dog jacket or sweater for under $20 and they are machine washable. If you are stationed at a wet place such as Alaska you may want to get your guy a waterproof jacket.
5. Use doggy booties if needed. Yes they make doggy booties and they are so cute. You can get booties to fit your doggy perfectly at http://www.woofwoofscustomdogboots.net/. This will help to keep the snow from getting in between their paws and if your dog has an allergy it will help to reduce the itching. Your dog will walk a little silly at first but they will get used to them and not even know they are wearing them. Most booties are machine washable which is wonderful as they will get dirty. Also, remember most cities put salt down to help melt the ice and snow, the booties will keep their paws safe from the chemicals in the salt and it will not become an irritant.
6. Brushing your guy when they come in from playing outdoors. Make sure you brush and wipe your four-legged Military Brat down when they come in from playing in the snow or rain. This is very important as long haired dogs can get matted and snow can stick to their fur. This will help reduce dander problems through the dry winters too. Even though it is winter and your doggy may not be swimming in the ocean, lakes or ponds they still need regular baths. Trimming their nails and brushing their teeth will also help to keep them healthy and get them ready for the warmer months.
7. Don’t take hour walks in the winter. I suggest you take shorter walks in the winter months. Yes, it is very important to walk your guys but a shorter walk can accomplish enough exercise and your dog will not become too cold. Make sure you still maintain your dog’s exercise plan just cut in a little. Playing indoor games can help make up for the time you lost on your walk. Make sure you always have your guys on a leash as they see things during the winter months that can startle them such as snow plows and the sound of falling ice.
8. No your four-legged Military Brats don’t need to be double fed. Many people think they need to double their dogs when it is cold, this is not true. Your guys will be indoors most of the day therefore they do not need extra food to keep warm. Over feeding your dog will only result in an overweight dog. Adjusting your dog’s food intake is only important for dogs that are kept outside during the winter months. Make sure your guys have constant access to clean water indoors and out. Heated bowls can be purchased and are not too pricey.
9. Infections during the cold months. Our guys can get sick during the cold months and this is another reason why keeping them indoors is important. They can get a respiratory infection in damp climates just as humans can. Keeping your dog warm is the first step to reducing cold weather infections such as kennel cough. Kennel cough is what human refer to as the common cold. If your four-legged Military Brat gets an infection seek veterinary attention right away. Also, our guys can get frostbite not only on their paws but the tips of their tails as well.
10. Keep winter time toxins away. There are many toxins we use during the winter months and we need to remember to keep them out of the reach of children and four-legged Military Brats. These include anti-freeze and salt to melt the ice and snow.
It is so important to keep our four-legged Military Brats healthy during the winter months. We have to remember if we as humans are cold then them as animals are cold too. Don’t forget to keep them safe and warm while we enjoy the snow. If you have to leave your guys in a vehicle don’t be gone for longer than 15 minutes, as it gets cold in a vehicle very fast.
Bobbi is the proud wife of Mike, an active duty Army Soldier and mother of two amazing Army kiddos and two loving four-legged Army kiddos as well. Bobbi is currently stationed with her family in North Carolina and is loving it. You can check out more of Bobbi’s blogs, military deals and discounts at http://www.mymilitarysavings.com .
(Photo by Barras, Wikipedia Commons)