Winter doesn't officially begin until December 21st, most Alaskans find this concept laughable. Winter usually begins when you notice that the local Trick or Treaters have costumes that can be worn over snowsuits. Not this year! Our first official snow fall occurred on Sunday with over 7 inches in the Anchorage and 24.4 inches in Valdez. We didn't even have daytime freezing temperatures during the month of November. If kids need to bundle up to be outdoors than so does your dog. Dogs don't necessarily need a snow suit, but they should be protected from the elements as well. If your dog is an outdoor dog she needs shelter. An enclosed dog house that is warm, dry and protected from the wind should be available 24/7. Weather in Alaska changes by the second, even if you are planning to be gone for a few minutes a shelter should be provided. Food and water are even more important during the cold months. Dogs, like humans spend more energy keeping warm and need adequate calories. This doesn't mean get her fat and happy with puppy treats. Fish oils and animal proteins are a great way to increase calories in a healthy way. The cold is very dehydrating, and fresh water needs to be available at all times. If you and your dog like to spend time participating in outdoor activities like hiking, skiing and skijouring you need to watch out for frostbite. Dogs ears are a little better protected than ours, but they need to watched during extreme weather. There are so many fun ways to spend the winter with your dog. You can enjoy the outdoors or curl up next to the fire. We may some cold weather to acclimate to, but at least there are no fleas!