What happens when it drops under 20oC?
Dogs in temperatures below 20-25oC will require more energy to increase and maintain a normal body temperature. If they are not provided extra energy in the form of a high quality food, they will burn off their body fat and lose condition. In terms of how much extra energy, consider that dogs can burn 5 kcals per kg more for each degree under their critical temperature. So, a 30kg dog in 15oC may be burning 750kcal more just to keep themselves warm!
Kiwi’s love a DIY so here are some recommendations for stepping up your working dog kennels:
- Provide weather protection: Plastic is easy to clean and will keep the kennel dry.
- Keep the kennels dry: Raise the kennels off the ground and provide draining
- Add insulation to the kennel walls: You have many options but avoid toxic and flammable materials.
- Provide a wind break: Angle the kennels or place them behind a shed or wall.
- Provide comfortable, clean bedding: fresh straw, foam beds or old duvets. Keep them in plastic covering or you will need to wash them to avoid growing mold.
CAREFUL WITH HEAT SOURCES: Do not leave animals unattended with heat lamps, electric blankets or other artificial heat sources. If you are considering adding heating to your kennels make sure they are not getting too hot and that they are regularly maintained by an electrician. Don’t risk a fire.
Have a perfect kennel already? Awesome, consider these additions as well:
- Feed more high-quality food to give your dogs the extra energy they need to keep warm.
- Check to make sure water is always available and not frozen!
- Make sure dogs have enough room to stand up and turn completely around.
- Put on a coat! A weather-proof, insulated dog coat can make all the difference.
Remember: Senior animals need extra care, they have earned it! Consider taking extra measures for your experienced senior dogs (7 years and older). Working dogs often have painful arthritis from previous injuries and chronic use. Joint pain can worsen in cold and damp weather. Talk to your veterinarian about treatment options for arthritis including joint friendly diets, pain medications, long acting joint supplements and alternative treatments.