The following is a guest post from Ashley Spade. Ashley, in addition to being Sir Winston Pugsalot the First’s favorite human, is a blogger and law student. She volunteers at her local pug rescue in between studying and training for triathlons (sometimes at the same time).
Moving to Chicago was one of the best decisions I ever made, but I quickly learned I had a few things to tick off my checklist as I prepared for my first winter in the Windy City. I made an effort to stock up on warm clothes and insulate the house but I also had to make sure my dog, Sir Winston Pugsalot (Sir WP), would also make it through the cold season. Sir WP is an outdoor dog and can’t bundle up like I can, nor can he beat the winter cold and blues by spending a few minutes in a tanning bed like I do. I started doing some research to make sure my sweet pug wouldn’t turn into a dog-sicle while he was outdoors.
I will readily admit that Sir WP is a little spoiled, but the extra little things I do for him really come in handy in the winter. I usually buy him a new sweater each year, which is one way to remind him about and prepare him for colder weather. He also gets booties that protect his paws from snow and ice. The purchase of his winter ensemble is a great reason to take a picture that I can use in the event that he gets out of the yard and gets lost, although he also wears identification tags. I always make sure Sir WP is clean and dry when we get back from a walk so that he doesn’t accidentally ingest salt or any other chemicals that may have spilled on the ground, like antifreeze.
Outfitting Sir WP’s doghouse was the next step. He already had a cushy dog bed on which to sleep but I also invested in keeping his doghouse warm with a heater. Doing so provides him with a warm and dry place to rest. I also made sure to set Sir WP’s house atop a platform that a carpenter friend and fellow dog lover built for me, which helps keep his home warmer. Above all, I pay close attention to the weather so that I can bring him inside in the event of severe conditions.
As I mentioned, Sir WP is a little spoiled but investing in a heated water bowl was a safety measure as much as it was a special purchase. I wanted to make sure he wouldn’t be trying to drink from a bowl of ice, knowing that animals need fresh water as much as humans do. I also up his caloric intake as Sir WP’s little body uses more energy in the winter so he can stay warm. Giving him wet food along with his normal dry kibble is a special treat and another way to signal that winter is on its way.
Clearly, I love and care for my dear pug but all animals deserve to be treated as kindly. I know I’m not alone in this opinion; Sir WP made a friend of a local stray cat who kept coming over to hang out in his doghouse. She disappeared as soon as the weather got warm again, but I’m glad to know that preparing my outdoor dog for winter benefited more than just Sir WP.