I wish to introduce you all to Philly’s Corner: Dedicated to the health and welfare of companion animals. These are a series of articles which I am priveledged to write and have published in my local newspaper, their purpose is to educate and to improve the plight of animals in the Canadian North.
Philly and his Bud
The “Five Freedoms”
Five Part series: Part 1
Hearty congratulations to those who have taken the plunge, made the commitment and now have your ‘fur ball’ home. Life as you once knew it will be changed forever, you are about to enjoy enthusiastic boundless energy, curiosity and the mischief of youth. In the coming years you will watch in awe the unique ‘personality plus’ that will develop each and every day. You will experience the thrills of sheer joy, laughter and amazement and best of all you will be the recipient of unconditional love. You will also worry when they become sick, you will feel helpless when they are injured or just not their playful self, just as you may be to a child, you are a parent to your new companion. Just as a child does, your dog or cat will look solely to you to provide for their every need. They will turn to you for comfort, security, nutrition, medical care, companionship, exercise, interaction and love.
You will and should want the very best for your new family member.
Which now brings forward the following provisions as excerpted from the B.C. SPCA Charter and which pertain to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
These Five Freedoms are contained in the BC SPCA Charter and express the dedication of the BC SPCA ensuring that all animals are healthy, happy and cared for.
An excellent policy which I am hoping will be adopted by the NWT in the coming Animal Protection Act and the interim Amended Dog Act.
“Adequate care is defined as making provision that enable the animal to experience Five Freedoms” (BC SPCA Charter)
“Freedom from thirst, hunger and malnutrition
Freedom from discomfort
Freedom from pain, injury and disease
Freedom from distress
Freedom to express behaviour that promotes well-being”
“The PCA Act defines Distress as follows: if an animal is:
a) Deprived of adequate food, water or shelter,
b) Injured, in pain, sick or suffering
c) Abused or neglected”
By Definition, the term “Well-Being includes both emotional and physical health”
“Physical Well Being: the animal is free from clinical symptoms of disease and does not show evidence of current or old injuries left untreated;
Emotional Well-Being: the animal shows evidence of normal behaviour and an absence of abnormal behaviour (specific to the species).”
The Five Freedoms will be discussed in a series of articles; the first one addressed here is one that due to the harsh climate conditions of the NWT is close to all of us.
“Freedom from discomfort: from thermal and physical discomfort”: by ensuring that an appropriate environment (shelter) is provided for your animal, a shelter which provides warmth and protection from the elements. (extreme cold, snow, ice, heat and rain).
All outdoor dogs must have access to a shelter, one that is built to take into consideration the weather conditions of the particular region, the health, age, coat and body condition of the animals is an important factor. Breed type must be considered. Not all breeds have the thick layer of undercoat needed and while clipping or shaving an animal down may be a convenient method to save on grooming time, the clipped animal has NO protection against the elements be it the rains, heat and sun of summer or the snow, ice and cold of winter.
In the northern climates dry bedding is essential particularly in the winter, (hay is excellent and should be provided as well as changed when damp or soiled) the doghouse should be placed preferably in a protected area, with a windbreak, shade, be draft and waterproof. “The doghouse should be large enough to allow the dog to stand, turn and lie down but not so big that their own body heat cannot be trapped to warm the interior space in cold weather.” Here in the NWT doghouses should be insulated and raised off the cold ground.
The following Internet Links will provide you with FREE doghouse patterns in order that you may build that perfect shelter for your companion.
Always remember that in adopting your pet, you have made a commitment for life, the life of that animal. It is your responsibility to provide for every need of that animal. Your dog may have a thick luxurious coat and you may feel that the animal will become acclimatized to the harsh weather conditions faced here in the North, however always remember that tails, noses, ears, footpads and eyes that are exposed to pounding frigid winds and subzero temperatures WILL freeze. No animal should be left outside in extreme cold and subjected to these dangers.
In addition to proper shelter, body condition is just as essential to your dog to help him/her fight the effects of extreme cold. A thick fur coat is not enough. The dog requires proper nutrition to maintain body and muscle mass, a layer of protective fat to ward off the cold. The fur coat needs to be free of mats, clean and thick to protect from the cold. The essential oils which are produced by the animal and which protects the fur providing waterproofing and thermal insulation increase through proper nutrition and grooming will distribute these natural oils throughout the fur.
An underweight animal has no protection against the cold, a matted fur coat is not only uncomfortable and can lead to skin problems, it does not provide the necessary thermal protection to the animal.
Pregnant and nursing females and pups, injured and sick animals, should not be left outside to face extreme weather conditions. Nor should the Senior dog as these older animals face many health complications and many may be suffering from arthritis, rheumatism, loss of weight and other underlying issues. Comfort, warmth and special consideration needs to be given to your Senior companion at all times.
Free Insulated Dog House Plans by: WayneOfTheWoods@yahoo.com : a detailed picture, plans, description of materials is provided for a basic insulated doghouse at this site.
Other excellent sites include: