Dog Days of Winter

Is your dog snuggling by the fire, dreaming of fresh grass, alpine meadows and sunny days at the lake? Not all dogs are built for Rocky Mountain winter weather and by this time of year, some are feeling the effects of the long cold days. Take this good looking trio for example. Kyara and Chance are Rhodesian Ridgebacks, they have some of the shortest hair of any dog. The little one is Gemma and although she carries thicker fur, she’s originally from the streets of India. All three are very active dogs and sure, you can dress them up all you want with fleece liners, puffy jackets and boots, but ultimately, their seemingly naked bodies just don’t match up to our harsh conditions. And that’s ok! They've got some cures for the winter blues that they’re willing to share.

If your dog is social and friendly like Kyara, make the most of indoor fun by visiting some pet-friendly locations right here in Fernie. Bring your dog along to run errands at Canadian Tire and Home Hardware. On the way home, stop in for a treat at BARKSiDE. Each time you visit a public place, be courteous by keeping your dog on a short leash and enable their curiosity by letting them sniff around outside and relieve themselves before going in.

Chance likes to enjoy his favourite activity year round - a good old day at the beach! Don’t forget we have easy access to the other side of the tunnel, where the temperature is often a little warmer with more sunshine and a much lighter snowpack. Take advantage of it and hit the road for a day trip.

For homebodies like Gemma, give your dog a bone while they curl up on their favourite blanket. A daily opportunity for chewing helps your dog’s natural urge to gnaw all while fighting boredom and practicing healthy mental exercise. With so many chews on the market, nothing is as healthy and durable as a natural raw bone. A dog's digestive tract is designed to consume raw bones, never feed them cooked and only give them when you are home under supervision. There are two types of raw bones - meaty and recreational. Meaty ones are soft, non-weight bearing, and usually from small animals, like chicken wings, quail carcasses and turkey necks. Your dog can safely consume the entire portion, which means you can feed it as a meal, and it only takes a few minutes to chow down. Recreational bones are the hard weight-bearing kind like beef femur with marrow or elk knuckle. They are intended for chewing, not eating and they can keep your dog busy for hours. They are solid bones that are just as hard as your dog's teeth and should not be given daily. When the piece gets worn down, take it away. 

Meaty and recreational bones can be given two to three days a week and in between, give your dog a frozen rubber Kong or Toppl toy for unlimited fun ways to keep them chewing. Make mealtime more challenging by replacing their food bowl or giving them as a separate snack. Avoid commercial, artificial chews and rawhides, they are not usually safe, natural or healthy. Once again, check out BARKSiDE for some great ideas.

If you have a backyard, do your dog a favour and shovel some areas to make it more enjoyable for them, plus they’ll track less snow in the house. Be creative and do whatever you feel will help your dog enjoy the most out of six months of the year. They deserve it.