Winter Kennelling

Working dog lying down

Winter is approaching and it is time to make sure you have stored enough firewood, put a woollen underlay back on your bed and dug out your raincoat from behind the seat in the ute. It is great to come home after a day out in the cold, perhaps out in the rain, to a blazing fire, dry clothes and a warm bed – but do your dogs receive similar comforts after a day’s work in winter weather?

I am not suggesting that you bring your team of dogs inside the house, but there are small things for very little cost you can do to look after your dogs’ welfare in the winter months.

Best practice would be covering your dogs, some type of bedding, increasing food levels slightly, checking the roof and flooring of all kennels for leaks or draughts and making repairs.

If all you do is make your own woollen sack mats or even lay straw for bedding, it is a good start.  These also alleviate sores and bare patches on leg joints and help older, arthritic dogs get moving on colder mornings. For those dogs who, out of boredom, pull all the bedding out of their kennel, you can put straw, or preferably wool for its insulating qualities even when damp, inside a sack or bag and nail it to the floor of the kennel.

Here are some other ideas to help keep your working dogs warmer and more comfortable during the winter months. Trying to keep warm is wasted energy which you need to replace with more food or:

  • Attach a swinging flap to their kennel door – Perspex, plywood or similar.
  • Defrost meat from the freezer.
  • Cover dogs at night or while travelling on the back of the farm truck or trailer.
  • Inspect kennels for holes and gaps which let in cold air, and make repairs.
  • Break the ice on any frozen water supplies – bowls, troughs etc.
  • Supply bedding of some type – you may need to try a few before finding one your dog prefers.
  • Shift kennels to a sunny, sheltered area.

We have a good supply of energy-dense working dog food, dog covers and bedding available – visit your Vetlife clinic and check these out. Your dogs will appreciate it.

By Helen Williamson – Vetlife

Working dog in coat