The temperature can be very deceiving at this time of year because the sun has now got some power in it, yet the ground and the wind can be rather freezing. If you keep your dogs in a kennel outside and if the dog beds are directly on a concrete floor, you need to make sure that the base of the dog beds are really good and thick so that the sneaking cold from the floor does not chill the dog. The concrete will take months to warm up during the spring and summer along with the soil underneath it, so it’s worth checking with your hand to see if it is acting like a fridge inside the kennel, keeping the kennel too cold for too long. Of course you can’t really do much about the kennel construction, but you can ensure that your choice of dog beds is the right one for the kennel. Find a type and quality of dog beds that are really thick with a futon mattress inside to make sure that the insulation is perfect and even along the bed. It is also hugely important that you use waterproof dog beds so that you don’t find your beds slowly getting soggy and damp inside. If they are damp, they are cold for your dog.
If, in addition to a cold floor, your kennels are a little less than draught proof, you could also consider dog beds with sides on to give total draught exclusion. You may pop your head inside the kennel and decide that it’s reasonably warm in there, but if you stay for a bit longer, and at night, you might find that there is in fact a sneaking draught, which would be eliminated if you had nest beds. Imagine the difference between lying on a mattress only, against lying tucked in with soft, insulating sides right round you. Big difference.
You could also consider raised dog beds, but most of these are without sides and they are really very cold. I don’t know if you have ever fallen asleep on the kids’ trampoline, but I can tell you, it’s really cold from underneath. In a kennel this is also a problem.
When you come out to your dogs in the morning, they might look happy as anything, but they can’t tell you that they were bitterly cold during the night. One good check, I find, is to go out late at night when they have been out for some time, and see if they have cold ears. If the ears are freezing, it is because the blood has been taken back from the extremities to keep the body warm. Your dogs are cold and they need warm dog beds.
Lastly, if you are struggling to keep the temperature up in the kennel, you could consider the entrance. The wind on the doorway can be a source of much heat exchange. I have got some lovely kennels with total insulation right round the walls, floor and ceiling, but it doesn’t matter if I put in the best dog beds, there will still be a lot of heat loss. So I made some curtains for the door way and sewed in some stones in the bottom. That way they don’t swing in the wind, but the dogs can push them aside to walk in. It works really well.
Check the ears regularly…..