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Tuesday, 21 October 2008 18:28

Winters chills affect working dogs

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There are too many dogs housed in cold damp kennels and a few unfortunate dogs have no shelter at all.  Animals suffer just as much in cold damp winter condition as humans do. 

Ignorance is a poor excuse for what is cruel neglect of animals in winter.  It takes little extra time to give a dog a dry insulated kennel.  It may mean only a bit of carpentry to repair holes and leaks and provide an insulated bed such as straw that can be changed every week. 

Like humans, dogs are better able to face winters chills if they are well fed.  Dogs are often fed once a day.  In winter it would be much better if they were fed with half their daily allowance in the morning and the other half at night.  Remember that they should have more feed in winter because of the extra energy needed to keep warm. 

Most farmers do appreciate the value of their working dogs, but sadly some could spend a bit more on housing and feeding of a balanced diet.   There's an excellent range of good value dog housing available these days.   A lump of frozen mutton thrown into a dirty draughty kennel is not the way to reward a dog for a winter day’s work.


Dr Clive Dalton

Clive did a Ph.D. in sheep breeding at the University of North Wales at Bangor. After lecturing at Leeds University, he came to New Zealand to do research with MAF. Because of his communication skills, he moved to the Ruakura Agricultural Research Centre to be fully involved in interpreting science for practical application by farmers.

After 14 years he moved to teach at the Waikato Polytechnic where he taught young future farmers. He won the 1993 Landcorp Communicator of the Year award and the 1999 Sir Arthur Ward award for agricultural communication.