Cold Weather Safety for Outdoor Dogs

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Swanny1790
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Cold Weather Safety for Outdoor Dogs

Post by Swanny1790 » Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:44 am

From Dr. Sophia Yin's animal behavior and medicine blog - http://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/cold- ... terinarian
"Once infected with the mushing virus, there is no cure. There is only trail." - Sven Engholm

gwd
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Re: Cold Weather Safety for Outdoor Dogs

Post by gwd » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:03 pm

I shiver just a bit when I read your posts. for two years I lived in st. paul, mn. that was a big change for me as i'd spent the previous 17 years in Arizona. I don't know if words can even describe just how cold 30 below zero can be.........picture if you will being able to crawl into your home deep freezer and it being 30 degrees WARMER!

the biggest issue i'd have with the dogs would be ice balls forming between their toes. ........and I HATED the January thaw. typically we'd get a week or perhaps two of warmer weather in jan.........it would get in the high 30's during the day. just enough to turn everything into slush but not enough hours to evaporate any of the moisture. it would re-freeze at night.......those 2 weeks would be a slushy/muddy mess. then another cold snap would settle in until sometime in late march or early april.

it takes a special person to chose living in that kind of temp for 8 months out of the year......swanny, you and trish are made of heartier stuff than me!
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Swanny1790
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Re: Cold Weather Safety for Outdoor Dogs

Post by Swanny1790 » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:21 pm

Yeah, I also hate the mid-winter thaw, and we seem to get it every winter most recently (the past decade or so). Ice balls are the worst. So far the best solution I've found is to rub a petroleum based goop between the pads and toes - several products such as "Musher's Choice" and "Hundsfoot" work well enough. Still, it requires stopping to refresh the stuff pretty frequently. I hate having to use booties in those conditions because they are usually also slippery and my heart goes into my throat every time I see a dog's foot slip on ice or hardpack.
"Once infected with the mushing virus, there is no cure. There is only trail." - Sven Engholm

WufWuf
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Re: Cold Weather Safety for Outdoor Dogs

Post by WufWuf » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:24 pm

gwd wrote:swanny, you and trish are made of heartier stuff than me!
I've been thinking about this recently as it really never gets very cold (or hot) in Ireland, what do you guys do to keep warm in such crazy low temperatures?
Operant conditioning rocks but classical conditioning rules

gwd
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Re: Cold Weather Safety for Outdoor Dogs

Post by gwd » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:31 pm

WufWuf wrote: what do you guys do to keep warm in such crazy low temperatures?
:shock: it's a family forum!!!!
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Fundog
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Re: Cold Weather Safety for Outdoor Dogs

Post by Fundog » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:25 pm

gwd wrote:
WufWuf wrote: what do you guys do to keep warm in such crazy low temperatures?
:shock: it's a family forum!!!!
:lol: :lol: :lol: It took me a minute, but I finally got it. :idea:
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JudyN
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Re: Cold Weather Safety for Outdoor Dogs

Post by JudyN » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:29 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol:

What I wonder is, when you come in from -30c/-22f to a nice 'warm' room at 0c/32f, do you think 'Good grief, it's warm in here,' and strip down to a t shirt - despite the fact that it's still, literally, freezing?
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

DianeLDL
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Re: Cold Weather Safety for Outdoor Dogs

Post by DianeLDL » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:41 pm

Like gwd, Now you know why having lived in Tucson, Arizona on and off for years as well as Israel for 9 prior to that when we moved to Bangor, Maine, it was a shock to the system. After my first two winters, while my father in law was still alive, we became snowbirds. Once he died, I said enough. Even when we would go back in March and April, we still had snow storms.

The worst times are the Nor'Easter storms that bring the moisture up from over the Atlantic and mixed with the cold and winds from the jet stream from Canada, then it is blizzard conditions and whiteouts.

Growing up, my husband lived in a small town in DownEast Maine and would snowshoe to school. His grandparents had a farm with no running water so, he had to break the ice in the well for water and heat it on a stove. His grandad also insisted they keep the out house, too, even though the house had a bathroom, but no plumbing.

It never got to 30 below F, but did get to 15 with added wind chills. I remember my nephew saying it was a heat wave when the thermometer hit 0 degrees F. It wasn't just the mid-winter thaw, but the ice and constant white and cold that got me. Actually, spring in Maine isn't called spring, it is mud season when everything melts and lots of mud. That is why Mainers, or as I prefer to called them Mainiacs, have mud rooms.

In March, they have a kayak and canoe race on the Kenduskeag stream which with all the snow melt is more like going over rapids in icy waters. :roll:

Now, we get some cold in Albuquerque since we are at 5000 ft., but being in the southwest, we don't get as cold. But, we didn't realize that where our house is located, we are in the middle of an area that gets some pretty high winds. Last weekend we had winds up to 40mph gusts which add to the wind chill factors. :roll:

People here get bundled up in the cold, and they are amazed when my husband walks around in a T-shirt or jeans jacket at the most.

When my husband was in the US Marines, he was at a base near Adak, Alaska. He knew many former military who moved to Alaska to homestead. A friend of his, a former Navy SEAL, moved into the wilds in the northern part of Michigan which is also a cold place.

Swanny, just looked up Two Rivers on my iPad map. I can see how you would go to Fairbanks for supplies.
You and Trish can have the cold and snow. I have had enough for a lifetime. :D

Diane
Sandy, Chihuahua mix b. 12/20/09

ClareMarsh
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Re: Cold Weather Safety for Outdoor Dogs

Post by ClareMarsh » Sat Nov 30, 2013 2:42 pm

I'm waiting to hear Sir Ari's thoughts on this outside dog idea :wink:
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jacksdad
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Re: Cold Weather Safety for Outdoor Dogs

Post by jacksdad » Sat Nov 30, 2013 4:49 pm

ClareMarsh wrote:I'm waiting to hear Sir Ari's thoughts on this outside dog idea :wink:
I suspect Sir Ari would say something like, living out side is for the lesser beings :lol:

Swanny1790
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Re: Cold Weather Safety for Outdoor Dogs

Post by Swanny1790 » Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:53 pm

what do you guys do to keep warm in such crazy low temperatures?
Indoors or out?
First, we are acclimated to the climate, so we probably define 'crazy cold' differently than do those in other areas. Anything above -20F (-19C) is good dog mushing weather. I try to avoid running at temperatures lower than -20, unless it happens to be warming up from a serious cold snap. My neighbors who are training for long distance races have little choice, but even they have a cut-off point, usually -30F (-34C). At -40 (the convergence point of the F and C scales), we try to avoid doing anything that isn't absolutely necessary outside.

So, let's dress for doing kennel chores, as I will be in about half and hour or so. I'll be outside for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. I start with my base layer, middle weight silk long johns. I wear silk because cotton or linen absorbs moisture from sweat, and would trap it next to my body, increasing heat loss due to both conduction and evaporation. That layer includes silk stocking liners and silk glove liners, BTW.

Next, being an "old school" kind of guy, comes woolen trousers and shirt 'cause cotton will kill you in this climate and I dislike the way synthetic fabrics feel. I'll pull on a pair of "bunny boots" or insulated mukluks over my feet, followed by insulated bibs, then a woolen or synthetic fleece vest over the bibs. A nice merino wool neck gaitor, then a beaver fur cap with ear flaps, and my heavy insulated parka. I'll stuff a pair of chemical hand warmers into my gloves and head out to first feed, then water, then scoop the yard and finally tend to the chickens and rabbits. By the time I get back in my hands will feel like ice cubes (sigh), but I can't manipulate tools or feed buckets in my super nice beaver fur mittens, and THAT is truly a pity.

Indoors, we burn a lot of heating oil and... well, like Jacksdad said, it IS a family friendly forum.
What I wonder is, when you come in from -30c/-22f to a nice 'warm' room at 0c/32f, do you think 'Good grief, it's warm in here,' and strip down to a t shirt - despite the fact that it's still, literally, freezing?
That depends on the weather the week or so prior. If we are coming out of a cold snap (-50F / -45C), then yes, 32F does feel very warm, and we're likely to strip down quite a bit. We keep our house at about 68F (20C), and it's not uncommon for me to strip down to my long-john shirt and sweatpants while inside.

Speaking of feeding, it's time for me to start the whole process. Maybe I'll try to do a "selfie" photo to illustrate.
"Once infected with the mushing virus, there is no cure. There is only trail." - Sven Engholm

gwd
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Re: Cold Weather Safety for Outdoor Dogs

Post by gwd » Sat Nov 30, 2013 10:55 pm

Swanny1790 wrote: then a beaver fur cap with ear flaps,
I didn't have a beaver cap but I did have a badger cap, with flaps. it had to be at least 15 below to tie it under my chin. above that and i'd actually be too hot if I was doing something like shoveling snow. it was amazing how warm they are.

I also remember well the silk undies........I practically lived in them from oct to march. they were nice because they're so lightweight and thin you could wear them under jeans or sweat pants.......jeans were NOT the warmest thing to wear. the wind seemed to whistle through them.

I also remember well the sorel boots.

it was an ordeal to dress........and it does affect mobility.

my neighbor in minn had a very, VERY large (oversized) mal that wasn't particularly friendly .....he pretty much didn't like most people and you could count on one hand the people he accepted. he LOVED me. this came in handy for them when they decided to try a vacation. their big boy wasn't allowed at the kennels because of his dislike for people .......i agreed to go over several times a day to feed, play and let them out to potty. i was spending a fair amount of time with their two dogs when i'd go over........at least an hour in the morning and an hour in the early evening........and then several potty breaks during the day. i'd always go over right before bedtime to let them do their last pee of the night. .......on about the 6th day poor mick had had enough! on my last trip of the night, he jumped on me, used his weight and pinned me down by laying on top of me........dressed for 20 below, i wasn't really able to shift him........he kept me pinned for a good 15 min and licked my face, nibbled ears.....and generally 'took' some undivided attention. once he shifted and decided my face was clean i spent another 15 min or so giving him and their other dog some extra attention. he roo roo'ed for a good 10 min every time i'd come over.....he just wasn't use to being alone that long and he was missing his people.

it certainly gave me appreciation of the power that a 125 lb malamute has........glad he liked me!
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DianeLDL
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Re: Cold Weather Safety for Outdoor Dogs

Post by DianeLDL » Sat Nov 30, 2013 11:05 pm

Swanny1790 wrote:Indoors, we burn a lot of heating oil and... well, like Jacksdad said, it IS a family friendly forum.

Speaking of feeding, it's time for me to start the whole process. Maybe I'll try to do a "selfie" photo to illustrate.
It reminds me of getting kids all wrapped up in Maine and then they have to use the bathroom. :lol:

Would love a "selfie" photo. Of course remembering it is a family forum :D !

One think you mentioned and what I was going to ask is using oil heat. That has been a problem in Maine where the heating oil has been so unpredictable. We do a pre-buy every May so that we can lock in oil at a decent price since we need to keep the temps at our Maine house at about 54 degrees F to keep our pipes from freezing even when we aren't there. And when we are there during s cold period, OH is very stingy with the temperatures. :shock:

Another reason, we don't spend winters in Maine. Many people have gone to firewood and wood pellet stoves. In Maine, wood is fairly inexpensive compared to heating oil.

Sandy as you can guess is an indoor dog who doesn't do well with cold. When we come in from outside, he goes right over the heating vent in the floor to warm up. So, for quick heat up, I turn on the electric heater for Sandy.

Heating oil is gold in Maine and probably in Alaska. In Alaska, though, you do produce oil which hopefully keeps the cost down. And you need the electricity for the dark days in Alaska in winter, too. In Maine, it always got to me in the winter when the sun sets at 2-3pm. :shock:

Diane
Sandy, Chihuahua mix b. 12/20/09

Swanny1790
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Re: Cold Weather Safety for Outdoor Dogs

Post by Swanny1790 » Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:00 am

DianeLDL wrote: Would love a "selfie" photo. Of course remembering it is a family forum :D !
Here you go. Just before I headed out the door to "stand and deliver".

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One think you mentioned and what I was going to ask is using oil heat. [snipped]

Many people have gone to firewood and wood pellet stoves. In Maine, wood is fairly inexpensive compared to heating oil.
Most of my neighbors heat with wood - it's cheaper by far, only costs gas for the chainsaw and truck. Because of my two week on / two week off schedule I'd have to have oil backup anyway, and my fire insurance rates would double if I installed a woodburner in here. Although the stuff is refined less than 25 miles from here and I get a discount because I work on the pipeline, I paid just a touch over $3.50 USD for my last delivery, about a month ago. We burn about 1500 gallons a year to heat the house and a small cabin (formerly a handler's cabin, now Trish's art studio).

Today the sun rose at 10:15 and set at 15:01 (3:01 pm), giving us a total of 4 hours, 45 minutes possible sunlight. We are losing about 6 minutes of daylight each day at the moment.

While I had the camera out, I took a 15 second time-lapse of the dog yard from the deck that overlooks it.

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"Once infected with the mushing virus, there is no cure. There is only trail." - Sven Engholm

gwd
Posts: 1958
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Re: Cold Weather Safety for Outdoor Dogs

Post by gwd » Sun Dec 01, 2013 12:17 am

Swanny1790 wrote:Here you go. Just before I headed out the door to "stand and deliver".
you look ready to brave the cold!
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