While we don’t have snow storms or White walkers up in sunny Queensland during Winter, we can sure feel that cold bite on most days. As I write this, it is currently 7 degrees outside, I sit here at my computer with a warm cup of hot chocolate, a blanket around me and Luna the 15 week old Rottweiler (pictured) rugged up on her couch. Why am I writing at this time of the hour? Well, story time –
Last night, we played the final game of our touch season. Luna is a new addition to our family, and with her vaccinations up to date, I thought it was an excellent idea to take her out for a night out to socialise her with people and other dogs. I put her harness and winter coat on, and drove her to our touch football fields, it was freezing. We watched another game of touch before ours even began, Luna loved the attention from others and had a few runs around. But during our own game, I started to notice something. I came off the field, and despite having a winter jacket on, Luna was shivering, a lot.
Luckily, we had a bag filled with extra playing singlets, so we were able to rug her up, but it did raise an issue with me that I’ve never had before. We got our previous Rottweiler, Theia, during summer, so when winter came she had a thick coat and was quite large, she still had a winter coat, but she was more resistant to the cold. Luna was born in January, and while large for her age, she had neither the size or the coat that was suitable for that kind of cold weather, even with a coat on. I was mortified with this and naturally asked my colleagues to some possible solutions to safeguard against this from the future.
So rule of thumb, if your dog doesn’t have thick fur (Like a husky, or Shepard), get your dog a winter coat, but if you have a puppy as old as my own, regardless of their current coat, you should probably buy them additional coating. My mistake with Luna was that her Winter Coat we bought didn’t protect her stomach from the cold. I have researched some alternatives, and purchased a Hurrta Body Warmer so she can keep warm this winter. Why this design? It features coverage from the neck to the base of the tail, has protection for the belly and the legs without restricting movement.
Our home is also quite cold, and Luna retreats to her usual chair while I work, but how does she sleep and keep warm? I firmly believe that dogs should sleep indoors, especially in winter, but I also believe that dogs should be with the pack, and with that, they sleep in my bedroom. Luna is at an age that she wants to sleep with us, and our bed is large enough that we can accommodate her (she sleeps like a human, head above the sheets on a pillow) but Theia often chose to stay in her own bed (which was next to our own) for a few good reasons:
- Her bed is a hard plastic deep dish design, which was large enough to allow a fully grown Rottweiler to spread out, but encouraged her to curl up.
- The mattress is a Premium Orthopedic Memory Foam Dog Bed, which has many features to help her be comfortable and warm.
- She has a small fluffy pillow that smells like us to prop her head up on.
- And finally, she has a fleece blanket that she would often wear in Winter.
Yes, we spent a lot on the comfort of our dog, but I also consider Theia to be family and I wouldn’t treat another human being with anything less than what I had. In time, Luna will come to use that bed as well, but for now, I enjoy hugging her at night.
This is only my own experience with Winter as an owner who was unprepared, and I hope you all never experience what Luna, or I did, however there are many other helpful tips from various agencies that will help you give your pet the best possible care in winter, such as this guide by the RSPCA.
Please enjoy the cold weather while it’s here, and remember, stay safe, stay warm!
~ Mark Constable