It's been a harsh winter in many parts of the country. Here's our advice on keeping kenneled dogs comfortable and cosy.
Moving house dogs outside
Q: With the recent addition of twin babies into the home it is now not practical or sensible for my three gundogs to live inside. We have a good-sized barn and were wondering if they would be all right out there day and night until the children are older. Would dog beds and some straw be sufficient?
A: Though your dogs have been used to the comforts of the family home they should soon acclimatise to life outdoors, even if this time of year is not the ideal time to start the acclimatisation process. Most dogs that are kept in a social group enjoy snuggling up together but others prefer to be on their own; you should know what your dogs do at present and provide for them accordingly. A covered-in box or dog bed just big enough for them to curl up in is much cosier and warmer than an open bed.
Bedding comes in many forms and because of harbouring vermin, straw should be avoided. A reusable and washable Vetbed is designed to let moisture pass through away from a damp dog. It is expensive but well worth the investment and though not indestructible it is very resilient to wear and tear. Bales of shredded paper are probably the best type of loose bedding material. It can be easily disposed of when it gets dirty and does not harbour insects and vermin as straw would.
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Your dogs should be cared for well through the winter. After shooting, when they are likely to be dirty and wet, besides towelling off after washing, a heat lamp is ideal for getting them completely dry. They can then settle down into a well-covered, warm bed and come to no harm even on the coldest of winter nights.