Friday, December 11, 2009
Puppies and Winter
Here in the Northeast, a week ago we had 50 degree temps, a very mild December. Two days later we had our first snow fall. Four days later we had 8 inches of snow fall and the temps spiraled downward. Today it is sunny, mid-20s but with the wind it feels much colder.
Puppy Melissa has a dense plush coat. She is a Borzoi, but despite her heritage I take caution in the winter with my dogs, especially young pups. I avoid walking her anyplace where salt has been spread. If I am unable to avoid salted areas, I make sure she walks thru some fresh clean snow before she is put back in my car, and when she comes in the house I rinse off her feet. Salt can burn, it can irritate. I do not leave Melissa outdoors for extended periods of time. I dry her coat off when she comes indoors. Snow melts, her coat is saturated with water within a few minutes of entering the house, I do not want a young puppy to get chilled.
Fresh fallen snow is soft, she runs through it, she rolls in it, she tries to catch the snow flakes. She attempts to play with her outdoor toys but most of them are frozen! This makes it hard on her mouth due to her teething. The best toy I have found is the Hol-ee Roller Ball. http://www.jbpet.com/Hol-ee-Roller-Ball,1813.html Our Hol-ee Roller Balls stays outdoors 24/7, they last about 4 to 5 years with a good amount of tugging. It has become one of Melissa's favorite toys. She rolls it, she carries it, she tosses it. Great exercise!
I play games with Melissa, she also has an imaginary 'friend' in the woods that she chases and stalks. I have yet to see this 'friend' but watching her play, she surely does act like she is playing with someone! I find appropriate dog friends for Melissa to play with. There is nothing like a good run and tug with another dog to burn off energy while developing muscle which is so important for a growing puppy.
I am cautious of Melissa's developing joints. I do not allow her to run on ice or any other slippery surface. She also has plenty of time to rest/sleep, which is very important for growing puppies. Once she is tired from playing outdoors, she is ready for a nap. We are still supervising her every move indoors, she is just 15 weeks old and we have a lot to teach her about manners in the house. Until she knows what is, and what is not, appropriate we are monitor her whereabouts at all times. And yes we do allow our dogs on the furniture!