Thoughts to Paws over…

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“No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it, it is COLD outside!”   Our dog Lucas, hails from Thunder Bay, Ontario, he is used to a real winter.  Frankly when we moved South, he found the humidity in these parts, oppressive and hard to handle, he much prefers the climate to where he was born.   Lucas doesn’t really have a heavy fur coat, but it does the job and on truly frigid days I put on one of his coats.   We have been having a cold spell for the past eight days, -25 with the wind chill when it is blustery.   This real winter that we have been experiencing,  hasn’t seemed to phase my boy, he starts pacing around the kitchen and up and down the hall if I haven’t gotten him out for his morning walk by ten o’clock.    When I opened the blinds today the sky was clear and the sun was shining, the one thing I learned about gorgeous looking wintry days from our stint in the North, if the sky was blue and the sun was shinning, it was most likely frigid outdoors and one should prepare to dress warmly.   The Weather Network was telling me it was -14 in K-W, but with the wind chill it was feeling more like -23.   We have been out walking every day in similar weather, so we piled on our gear and got Lucas his coat and prepared to face the cold.  When I opened the front door, Lucas’ response was unusual, instead of him bounding out, he just stood there and stared.  Eventually, I nudged him outside, where he then became a fixture on the front porch.   We put him in the car and drove over to get his buddy Diesel and do our little forest walk.  It was evident within about five minutes that according to  my canine friends, today was not fit for man nor beast!  Both kept stopping, they would lift a paw and look back they way we had come, l think they thought we had lost our minds and were trying to do them in.  Both of my canine friends were displaying to me that they were uncomfortable and needed to go back to where it was warm.     A common thing I hear from humans is…”it’s a dog….they have a fur coat, they don’t care about the cold, they are suited for winter.”  People scoff at the concept that our four legged friends can feel the cold and suffer from it’s affects.  It is important to remember, we have coats, boots, hats, and mittens, our gear is engineered for severe weather, we can bundle up to protect ourselves!  Even-though our pets have a fur coat, it isn’t an impenetrable shield from the elements, they can get frost bite!   They can damage their paw pads and they can freeze to death if we leave them outside for too long!   Just like in summer, do not leave your dog in the car for prolonged periods of time while you run in to do some shopping, they may be out of the wind, but when the temps dip below-20 they can die from the cold.   Don’t put them outside to go to the bathroom and leave them without checking on them frequently.  If you are out walking and they are lifting their feet, it’s time to head home (salt is not necessarily the cause for sore feet, if the ground is too cold your dog’s paw pads can become extremely painful, it’s almost like experiencing a burn from the asphalt in the summer).  It’s supposed to get down to -30 tonight, batten down the hatches, keep your pets indoors and make sure you keep them warm!

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