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So you've purchased your kennel and you're finally ready to head out hunting with your dog by your side. Now, most of the time you're going to be just fine, but as temperatures change you're going to want to know how to keep your dog warm or cool in that kennel.
Of course, many of the best hunting dog kennels on the market are built to protect your dog from the outside environment, but at times you're going to have to step in and make a few adjustments.
The blog below is going to walk you through a few ways to keep your dog both warm and cool as temperatures change, and I'm even going to share a few additional facts about how dogs regulate temperatures to arm you with some more information.
I hope you enjoy the blog and just in case I missed anything, add any feedback to the comments sections below.
Most hunters are going to spend a lot of time with their dog hunting in cold weather conditions. Both upland and duck hunters will experience freezing temperatures, and will have to keep an eye out on their dog and how they're reacting as the day gets colder. If things start to get worse and you need to kennel your dog, take a look at these suggestions below as they'll put your companion in the best possible position to stay comfortable:
1. Added extra bedding or straw to their kennel.
2. Provide the dog with some water and food to balance the extra calories being burned.
3. Purchase an insulated kennel cover.
4. Make sure the kennel is off the ground and away from any water.
5. Remove your kennel from direct wind exposure.
It's important to know these particular cold weather temperatures ranges to understand how your dog might be feeling:
- At 45 degrees Fahrenheit, cold-adverse dogs become uncomfortable.
- At or below 32 degrees F, smaller, very young, very old, or dogs with thin coats should not be left outside for very long.
- At 20 degrees F, frostbite and hypothermia potential increases.
Additionally, if your dog begins to whine or shiver excessively, or begins slowing down or starts to look weak it could be time to call it a day.
As a result, I would avoid putting your dog in a kennel without any additional insulation or bedding if temperatures begin to drop below 45 degrees. Furthermore, if your dog is hunting in extremely cold rain or water make sure to dry him or her off as best as possible before putting them back in their kennel.
According to Dog Discoveries, dogs have the ability to raise the hairs on their neck, back, and tail to increase warmth. This process is known as pilorection, and allows insulated air to get trapped between the hair and skin - thus keeping cold air away from the dog's body.
Not everyone hunts or trains their dogs in cool temperatures, and as a result you're going to have to be ready for those hot days. While traveling, training, or kenneling your dog on a hunt, take a look at a few of the suggestion below. Taking these precautionary steps will only help your companion:
1. Keep water in the kennel on hot days.
2. Wet your dogs coat with cool water before putting your dog in a kennel.
3. Make sure the dog has access to moving air while in the kennel.
4. Make sure the kennel is shaded.
5. Add an exterior fan to increase air circulation while cooling off the dog.
Temperatures inside cars or within covered truck beds can increase at a faster rate than standard outside environments. According to King5 Weather, "when the outside temperature is 80 degrees, it only takes 10 minutes, for the temperature inside the car to heat up to 99 degrees". This is a result of the energy being re-radiated due to surrounding surfaces. That's very scary!
As a result, I would not recommend leaving your dog in a kennel in a closed car/truck or in the back of a covered truck bed. Exposing your dog to this environment, with limited airflow, may result in heat stroke. Furthermore, leaving your dog in a kennel while exposed to direct sunlight may exacerbate the situation.
Additionally, do not put your dog in their hunting kennel if they are already showing signs of heat stroke.
As noted by BlueCross, dogs can't sweat. To combat increasing body temperatures, dogs begin to pant while also releasing heat through their pads and nose. It's important to know that dogs with short faces have a more difficult time regulating changing temperatures as a result of this process.
In case you're curious how professional kennels keep their dogs protected against the elements, I found this interesting video which showcases a few steps to take in case temperatures begin to drop.
Knowing the information above and taking the necessary additional steps will only help your dog next time you're out in the field. Yes, dogs are tough and they are well equipped to handle hard environments, but that doesn't mean we can't step in and help.
And don't forget after any hunting trip, it's important to clean your hunting dog kennel so you and your partner are ready to go next time. If your kennel is clean and performing as it should be, you can spend time focusing on how to keep your dog warm or cold, rather than fixing something that's already not working.
For our blog about the Best Duck Hunting States, we have that too!