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Some notes on winter care for Borzois and other heavy coated, winterizable dogs

©1997 by Bonnie Dalzell

Question? Does anyone have any special suggestions for winterizing a Borzoi?

(1) Dogs must be acclimated to winter conditions through the fall. For example you cannot take a Borzoi from Florida and ship it to Maine in January and expect it to winter outside ok.

(2) Dogs caloric needs go up approximately 15% per 10 lbs for every drop of 10 degrees temp F below 50 degrees F. Plan to feed more.

(3) Dogs need draftproof dry quarters that drain well when snow melts from their fur. Straw and other bedding can be warmer than a bare house but if the bedding becomes wet then the dog can chill and or develop staph infections of the skin from rotting bedding.

(4) Livestock drink a lot less in cold weather but need to have access to water. The problem with a lot of the water heating systems is that dogs may chew cords and electrocute themselves. Close attention needs to be paid to the problem of providing water.

(5) You cannot wash a dog and blow dry it and immediately turn it out into extreme cold for more than a few minutes. Dogs that have been wet to the skin will chill easily until they are really, really dry.

(6) Long fur between the toes may form ice balls. This needs to be kept trimmed and feet examined.

(7) If your dogs are in a pack situation and have access to a single larger shelter through only a single door you have to monitor them to make sure that a dominant dog is not lying just inside the door and preventing the dogs lowest on the pecking order from entering the shelter.

(8) The most dangerous thing I know about is the situation where the dog is drenched in a winter rainstorm and then the storm turns to freezing rain. A dog drenched to the skin can get a serious chill and catch pneumonia. If you live in the freezing rain belt you have to watch for this.

Borzoi tolerate the below freezing but above zero winters of the mid atlantic fairly well. However any animal in more extreme cold has to be managed with care and monitored.

A thoroughly winterized dog in a really cold climate will become uncomfortably hot after 15 minutes to 1/2 an hour in the house so if your dogs are well acclimated to outdoors and you live in a cold climate you will have to make the choice as to wether they are indoor dogs who go out some or outdoor dogs who visit briefly indoors during the winter.

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