Well old man winter is upon us, lots of snow, high winds and frigid temperatures. It is blowing strong as I write this, I can hear the wind howling outside my window. How anything survives up here is beyond me. Song birds, fragile finches….I must remember to top up my feeders and clear away the snow from them again today.
Of course “Fiddle” was in tow:
It is very important that LOKI gets his meals at least twice a day if not more. The process of digesting food produces body heat, good nutrition also maintains a thick healthy coat and body mass, all of which are needed especially during these cold long winter months. Fresh water is also needed, eting snow will dehydrate an animal just as it will a human.
Loki is lucky, with his dense undercoat and long guard hairs, he has insulation against the extreme cold, but even with all of that I have watched him lift his paws, his feet being cold, the soft foot pads can easily freeze and ice can build up between the pads and toes.
One must also remember that short haired dogs cannot be left out for long in this frigid weather, even if they have a doghouse. Insulated shelters are of course the best. Ears, tails, noses, feet can all freeze..we all know the severe pain when our fingers and toes start to freeze up…imagine what the dog feels. Severe frostbite can result in the loss of ear tips, tail and even a limp, gangrene can set in resulting in the need for amputation. Hemi for example loves to be outside but not for long. His coat is short and dense and he does have undercoat, but his feet freeze up quickly and his ears do not have the thick hair needed to withstand these temps.
Philly, while he looks as if he has a thick coat he actually has no undercoat. It is his top coat (guard hair) that is curly and gives the appearance of thickness. He cannot tolerate the cold nor hot days.
Cats too, should not be left outside for long. Personally none of my cats are allowed outside period and are perfectly happy about it. Luna has a really long thick coat which would easily cake with ice. She would also be exposed to many air born diseases that cats can get outside as well as internal parasites if she were hunting mice and birds. Keeping your cat indoors ensures health and a long life, also protection from predators.
Rule of thumb…if your skin will freeze in seconds….if it is too cold for you to be out there…then it is too cold for your pet to be out there!!!
I will continue to keep an ever watchful eye on LOKI, ensuring he gets as much warm food as he wants, no matter what the weather or the temperature. If I must look for him out there I will, he sometimes does not always come to the backyard, so putting on my snow suit and bundling up is all part of it. He is very special and will continue to get a fighting chance as long as I am alive. My hopes to have him decide to join my family are still alive and well.