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How cold is too cold for walking


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This morning Juno, my wife and I started out on our walk. It was minus 24C but there wasn't much wind and we were bundled up so my wife and I were quite comfortable. We hadn't got very far, however, before Juno started picking her paws up. We returned home right away. I was wondering if there is a certain temperature where it is just too cold to go out, even for a Border Collie. I remember going out last year in colder temperatures but the temperatures got colder gradually and stayed very cold for a long time. This year it has been very mild until today.

Thanks

Bill

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Again, each dog is an individual. Older dogs, dogs with short fur or thinner coats, etc. will probably be more sensitive to the cold.

 

Just watch your dog. Picking the paws up as if they are tender is a good sign that your dog should get somewhere warmer.

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We're in Ontario as well, cold today isn't it!!

 

I find Penny does the same thing with her paws, and will do it quite quickly outside when the temp nears -20. We bought her boots last winter for those colder days, and they help a great deal! I think the ones we bought were called Hot Doggers, they're made by Muttluks and are only about $15. :)

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We just got back from walking about two miles in 6 F temps (windchill made the real feel to be -12 F). We have had both cold and snow so the dogs have had a chance to be conditioned to winter weather. We walked on a scraped (yesterday) and packed road and driveway. Other than when the dogs chose to go off the packed tracks or had to go through a bit of a drift, they were able to avoid the main problem - bitterly cold temps accompanied by loose snow that would pack into their paws. I helped remove icy snowballs from a paw or two of each dog but other than that, there was no problem.

 

That was the opposite of this morning when I made the mistake of filling the bird feeders before we set off on our walk. Two out of three dogs were having problems before we got 1/4 of a mile. The issue was that the yard had lots of powdery snow and that, combined with the bitter temps, allowed the buildup of hard balls in their feet - as well as getting powdery snow on their feet, having it melt a bit, and that chilling their feet too much. That has been the only time so far this winter that we have had to turn around and come home after so short a walk due to cold.

 

It has to get close to or below 0 F here before my dogs have problems with the cold and their feet. At warmer temps, they may get snowballs in their feet but those are readily pulled out (by them or me) and we go on.

 

I think a big part of it is whether or not the dog is conditioned to the cold and then that is complicated by the surface they are walking on. So, as others have said, your dog will let you know. If you don't have snow and your dog is holding up a paw, it's time to go inside. If you do have snow, try cleaning out the ice or snowballs between the pads and toes and see if that does the trick.

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I will also add that I have two dogs with medium rough coats but one has kidney disease and so is quite thin, and she wears a coat in cold weather and a raincoat in wet, cold weather. Dan has a long coat but very little undercoat but he is so active that he seems to keep comfortably warm. Celt is medium rough with a moderate undercoat and he stays active, too. Megan has the heaviest undercoat of all but is thin and benefits from her coat or raincoat.

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It depends--is always the answer. Indoor dogs (dogs that do not get resting time outdoors) will not develop the same tolerance that a yard dog might.

Sweaters can help. I have triple layers on Sonic (yep, we're in Ontario) but it's his 1st month in Canada and has only the earliest peach fuzz beginnings of an undercoat and for that reason, we kept his walks short and active.

Picking up feet could be just snowballs--those things look painful. Vaseline can help prevent them from forming, or booties to stop it altogether.

Picking up feet with no snowballs--too cold, time to sweater up or get inside or move faster. Had this happen to a shepherd once, and wrapping my thick wool scarf around her neck solved the problem.

If you stop on the trail and the dog immediately starts shivering--too cold.

Dog sweaters, or people sweaters with sleeves cut off will help a dog enjoy a cold day.

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And, just got back so I can report a big gob of vaseline on each paws prevents snowballs--and is gone or absorbed after about 40 minutes.

Winter is fun!

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We went out this morning and it was about 7F- Gabe did fine. We walked about 2.5 miles.

 

This afternoon, it was about 17F, and shortly into the walk he was limping, favoring his front R paw. I picked it up and checked it out, found nothing, and we moved on. He seemed fine after that.

 

Still not sure what happened...but I think we were close to his limit.

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Yup, my rule is: when the dog picks up her feet, she gets to come back inside. This current dog doesn't get snowball buildup in her paws, so I always know that it's just the cold. Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning (wind chills around -20) were too much for her. Today it's close to 20, and she was fine.

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