Cesar Milan has earned shedloads of money telling dog owners that they need to be a calm, assertive pack leader. The reason he’s so popular, apart from his dazzling smile and twinkly eyes, is that he’s right. Lots of dog owners have taken his advice and reclaimed the sofa from their pet, and other have gone further and chucked out the dog basket in favour of a kennel in the back garden.
This has its advantages – he is able to go to the toilet whenever he wants, for a start – but it has disadvantages too, with the most notable being the plummeting temperatures that we experience during winter.
If your pet lives mostly outside, you need to invest in the best quality kennel that you can afford. It is important that your dog kennel protects your dog from the elements such as wind, rain and snow. The positioning of the kennel is also vital – you need to make sure that it is not placed in a draughty area, and its opening faces away from the wind.
Your dog will be exposed to the cold if the ground is frozen, so it is a good idea to protect him from this – lay down plenty of straw or a few blankets to shield him from the cold. However, you must be sure to change it regularly, as blankets and straw can become mouldy when wet, which could cause respiratory or skin infections.
It may be tempting to have a small electric heater in his kennel, but this must be avoided at all costs. The consequences of your dog chewing through a live cable don’t bear thinking about. Some pet shops can supply you with beds that can be heated by a disc that is placed in the microwave.
Whatever you do, you owe it to your dog to keep him as warm and dry as possible if he’s staying outside this winter.