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Old 12-05-2009, 07:36 PM   #1
Shara
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When is cold too cold?

With the recent crazy weather and temps in the very low, almost single digits, I have a question.

When is it too cold for dogs to go outside? And for how long should they be left out?

My doxie Shara with her single layer always wears a sweater, Tayla has a double coat, and Tyra has a long coat. Tigger my border collie, I always think they are bred wise used to cold temps.

But regardless if it is -10 out, all dogs have to go outside a few times a day to releave themselves.

My question is: is there some rule of thumb to go by when letting a dog outside for X amount of time in X degree of weather. What is cold to some breeds isnt cold to some, and what we consider cold, is it cold to them or just fine?
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Old 12-05-2009, 08:16 PM   #2
BetterDog4U
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There are no set rules for this. Dogs become acclamated to the weather conditions after some time just like humans do. But the thing to look for is how they react after they have been out for a few minutes.

Years ago a vet told me to watch for discomfort, shivvering and how they step. The pads of the feet, ears, nose and genitals are the most sensitive to the cold. He also said if you are cold in a light jacket with no hat or gloves, the dog is probably cold out there too. Obviously dogs with 2 coats (GSD, Labs and others) will be better in the cold, but Chip (and now Patchs) was a short hair single coat dog and he was fine to about 0 degrees. Below that his pads would get cold fast and he didnt want to spend much time outside.

In your case, Id say you will be fine as long as you are only out for 5-10 mins, but watch them for signs of discomfort.
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Old 12-06-2009, 02:37 AM   #3
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I have to agree. Activity level is very important. They can stay out if walking or running around much longer than if relatively quiet.
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Old 12-06-2009, 12:24 PM   #4
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That's a hard one. But I think it just totally depends on the dog. Living in Canada it gets pretty cold. Mine all have sweaters and coats, but still when it gets to be -10 or -20 we try and keep the walks shorter but we step up the pace a bit. Now my dachshund / rat terrier cross Bindi she's from Louisiana and she's hates the cold.
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Old 12-07-2009, 01:25 AM   #5
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I agree that activity level and exposure time is the important feature here. I can go running in -15C with little more than a base layer, an insulating layer and a windshell.
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:50 AM   #6
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When they look like this??


Last edited by ann_hawes : 12-07-2009 at 11:01 AM.

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Old 12-07-2009, 01:32 PM   #7
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ROFL OMG that is the perfect picture for this thread lol. I bet you that this little furbabie is not cold at all, just having too much fun. Hugs Susan & Lexcee
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Old 12-07-2009, 02:17 PM   #8
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I have to say my dogs are both out all day whilst I am at work and I have had them both tailormade coats made to see them through the colder months. However I think it depends on the individual dog.n You would expect my Boxer having a thinner coat to feel it more than my greyhound. However if its still warm out he has been known to rip his coat off. He does run around a lot more though so i think activity levels do figure. I would say watch the individual rather than create a rule which will probably not fit universally. ( Oh and I also think whether it wet or dry is important to figure into the calculation, if its raining both of mine sit in the kennel cuddled up in vetbed lol!)
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Old 12-07-2009, 02:41 PM   #9
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As a person who lives is one of the coldest parts of North America with the exception of the maybe Artic Circle , dogs should not be left outside for anymore than 5minutes when not active. Their belly and groin region isn't as heavily furred as their back so they lose a lot of heat there, it is also typically an area left bare by sweaters or jackets so keep that in mind too. Check for cold belly and if wet or cold to the touch it is more than time to get them to a warm environment.

If you plan on leaving your dog outside for longer periods, make sure you have an insulated and heated dog (a incandencent lightbulb works) house that has a sheltered door (flap over door) and is off the ground to avoid dampness or at least an insulated floor.

I am however not a fan of people who leave their dogs outside for hours on end, unattended or without proper shelter from the elements (either heat or cold). Especially in my area, too many dogs suffer the cold and windchill that can reach -50C easily in the winter and +35C in the summer. Today for example I awoke to -35C. At that temperature Cassie becomes the fastest wizzer in the West . I let her outside watch for her to do her business and as soon as she races back to the backdoor she gets let in. If they putter around before doing their business you can be confident that they are not suffering the cold but keep an eye on them as hypothermia can set in really quickly on a small or short haired dog.

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Old 12-07-2009, 03:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Furbilator View Post
Their belly and groin region isn't as heavily furred as their back so they lose a lot of heat there, it is also typically an area left bare by sweaters or jackets so keep that in mind too. Check for cold belly and if wet or cold to the touch it is more than time to get them to a warm environment.


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Good point about the coats, Furbs.
I sew Elsa's coat (due to her being 1 dog high and 2 dogs long) and include a double thickness belly band that covers her from armpit to groin. it attaches to the coat on one side and slings under the belly with a velcro closure on the other side which I fasten nice and snug to keep her tummy warm. It's really made a difference in winter hiking.
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