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It doesn’t matter if you have one dog or many, the fact remains there are walks and work to be done, and it is likely water will be involved. Wet, cold and freezing conditions make it more challenging and time-consuming to get daily tasks completed.
Here are quick products and tips to help make the wet winter chores a bit more enjoyable, warmer and safer for you and your pets. We all know if the “Head Maintenance and Sanitation Engineer” is happy then the dogs are happy!
1. There is nothing better than a nice warm pair of thermal and waterproof gloves! That is right I said thermal, waterproof, and gloves in the same sentence.
2. The next essential item is a good pair of comfortable, insulated and waterproof boots with a no-slip bottom or good tread. Taking care of dogs properly is hard work, and you are on your feet a lot. It is always good to spend a little extra to stay comfortable and dry.
3. Believe it or not, they now have socks that keep your feet from being stinky, wet, painful and pruned by the end of the work day! If you are going to get the boots, you might as well have the special waterproof socks to go with them.
4. We can’t forget about keeping our heads and ears warm. You might try wearing a hat that covers your ears and/or a face covering. If you change the type of hat you wear every few days, it will bring more enrichment to your dogs. They might even think you are someone else at a quick glance. I do not recommend wearing scarfs in a kennel. You don’t want to become a tug toy!
5. Dogs must always have fresh clean drinking water; that is why there is nothing more frustrating or hard on your back than having to break ice on a cold arctic day. In outside exercise or play areas, it is always good to have heated water bowls or buckets, as this is a great way to be able to provide fresh clean drinking water for your dog(s) during cold weather. Make sure any cords are protected, and there is no risk that your dogs might chew the cord by using an approved electric conduit pipe to cover any exposed cords.
6. For washing down outside runs or taking the pack for a walk, ice cleats are a good idea to keep you safe and upright.
7. For those really cold days, don’t break your back while trying to get frozen waste off the ground or concrete. Use a 7-inch steel scraper with a 48-inch wooden handle to make it easier for you to get the chore done. You can also use a pet-safe ice melt to help out in the really icy spots.
8. For those really wet days, put on a set of durable winter rain gear. Keeping yourself dry is the key to staying warm during wet winter chores.
9. Our pets always require care, so be ready for tomorrow with a boot and glove dryer! There is a wide range of dryers to choose from. There are ones that work on leather, rubber, canvas, fleece and even ones that utilize the forced air heating from your home’s floor heat vents.
10. Last and certainly not least, enjoy a nice cup of something warm and a cuddle with the dogs. We all know you will be hard at it again tomorrow so take a moment and enjoy the furry friends in your life.
I hope these ideas and tips help make your life easier while tending to your dogs and kennels.
Stacy Mason is a Senior Breeder Relations Field Representative for the American Kennel Club.