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How cold is too cold?
  • As we move into winter months here in the southern Rockies, I have noticed our dogs spend more time outside in the colder weather.

    Right now it still gets up around 70 degrees during the day and most of our dogs end up inside, but at night it quickly drops to around 30 degrees and all our dogs move back outside to enjoy the cool temps.

    At night we have to beg Ahi to come in, she loves it out in the cool temps.

    So, my question is, how cold is too cold? At what daytime temperature should we not allow our dogs to be outside? How about nighttime?

    If you give them the ability to come inside whenever they want, but they still stay outside in temps that seem ridiculously cold, should we force them to come in?

    Just wanted to hear all of your thoughts on this.

  • I remember reading this on about the Greenland Dog:

    "They have a thick stand-off outer coat and dense under wool, which allow them to withstand constant outdoor living in the temperatures that can reach -50 to -75 degrees Fahrenheit."

    Obviously, that is a bit extreme, but it makes me wonder if our thicker coated dogs may be comfortable in temperatures I would feel are unsafe [like below 0].

    I'm not expecting to get a number from you guys, I just wanted to get your general opinions on the subject.

  • baantonbaanton
    Posts: 933
    Well, here's the MN answer... Our former dog, and Josephine are just fine at temps below zero. They will move around to keep warm, and cozy up next to a building or whatever. Many dogs in this state live outdoors all year round (have a house to get out of the cold and wind, mind you, but only heated with their body heat. I think you have no worries, and if any look like they are shivering or uncomfortable, let them in (or if they have the freedom, they will come in).

    I think you have no worries with Utah mountain temps... Hope that helps...
  • NekopanNekopan
    Posts: 403
    I think dogs are pretty in tune with what is and what isn't proper temperature for them. I remember our mini dachshund would make a huge fuss about going outside if it was cold, especially if there was snow on the ground. She would shiver violently and whimper at us. I always felt so bad about it, but I'm sure she was just being a drama queen.
  • HarlowHarlow
    Posts: 579
    If the dogs are acclimated to the cold weather then they will be fine even when it gets very cold. Having easy access to coming and going, they will make the right decision themselves.
    The sled dogs we ran in Alaska were not all heavy coated dogs, they had a diet hight in fat and were acclimated to the cold weather. They lived outside in little wooden 'condos' down to minus 60 degrees F.
  • kwyldkwyld
    Posts: 506
    Well I guess think about it this way. All of the Japanese breeds are suited for very cold climates in the Japanese mountains that are frequently covered in snow. The Hokka more so than the other breeds though. I'm pretty sure people in Japan keep their dogs outside, they usually are not house dogs. I think if they want to stay out in the snow then let them, and if they are cold they will curl up into a ball and keep warm. My dogs personally don't like to stay outside in the snow all day but will be out there with me if I am outside with them shoveling or walking through the woods. I know on super frigid days below zero, Taj will pick her paws up and act painful from walking in the snow, the boys are more tolerant though.
  • I agree with Kelly. With your dogs, Brad, I don't think you have to worry. I'd feel comfortable leaving my Shikoku outside when it is cold, however I'd rather the Malinois be inside. <-- note that it's Southern California, so it really doesn't get THAT cold. When it is raining though, all dogs are to come inside.<br />
    In Japan, I've heard of people getting ready for upcoming shows purposely leaving their Shiba outside in the snow. Supposedly, they grow thick, beautiful coats.
    - Corina A. Gonzalez | Lynxiene (Belgian Malinois), Shoushuu, Kotomi & Shuran (Shikoku Ken). | Along with a Clan of cats!
  • Mid 20's and sunny, Nemo would want to spend all day outside, and often we take long trips to the park or walks.

    When it's in the teens we tend to keep things under 45 minutes.

    10 and below, usually 20 minutes.

    5 and below, and only potty breaks.

    Wind chill can sometimes make a big difference, also we shorten things up sometimes because of all the sidewalk salt, in your yard you wont have to worry about that.
    Post edited by brandon_w at 2008-09-27 18:29:23
  • I had a Siberian that would go swimming when it was in the teens -- he would come out with icicles in his coat. He loved the cold and hated being in the house in the winter. As long as they have an area that is outside the wind and well bedded, double coated breeds can do fine outside. I let the dog tell me when they want in. If they want to stay outside, they can.
  • Thanx for the input all!

    You guys confirmed what I was thinking/feeling, but I wanted to get some outsider's opinions - kinda like a sanity check.

    I figured the pups would regulate themselves and come in if needed, I just want sure if there was some thing I need to watch out for that could happen w/o the dog knowing [like a frozen ear or something]. I didn't think there would be, but just wanted a second opinion.

    I'm excited to see how the dogs behave this winter when it gets cold, I would like them to enjoy the snow and get fluffy thick coats - but only if they want to be outside. I would never force them to be outside.

    It really doesn't get that cold here anyway [like way below 0], but last years there were some nights that reached -20... obviously the dogs wouldn't be out then tho.


  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
    I've spoken to some serious shiba breeders who make multiple trips to Japan each year to evaluate breeding stock and they tell me that the Japanese kennels they have seen never keep their dogs inside and that the dogs are always outdoors even in the coldest of mountain weather which, as said above, is done on purpose to develop a thicker and lusher coat. That's what I've been told anyway."Common sense isn't so common"
  • Brad - I had a siberian that lived outside his fourteen years (except for the first six months). My parents were cool with bringing him in when it got too cold...we did it once (to our misery). He was so unhappy to be indoors when it was cold, he tolerated it when it was hot, but he preferred his fenced area over the house. Of course, He had a pretty good setup for the summer (a Shaded house that was 8'x8', fans and a pool). During the winter, he rarely went inside his house. You're familiar with the whether in Atlanta to know that the temps don't get that cold, but they do have some sudden drops.
    LJ - owned by Queen Jazz, a Shiba Inu, Atlanta, GA
  • Akira at 2 months would spend hours on end outside when it was minus 8 and we had 300-400 cm of snow. He's an inside dog but he much rather be outside, he would come in when he was too cold, eat, drink, sleep, and be back outside for a couple of hours. I would check on him but he was always alright, I even had trouble to make him sleep inside at night. Anyways I've never seen a dog stay out when he's too cold or not show physical signs (shaking, holding a paw in the air).

    <img src="" border="0" alt="Image h
  • maybe you can do some ground 'insulation' for their paws in certain spots near the house, like with hay or something?

    I'm sure they will be fine though, these dogs are made to be rugged in higher altitudes=colder climate.
  • I second/third what Corina and Lindsay said. Pretty much all the Nihonken deal fine with the cold. And yes, the breeders do keep them outside to get that fluffy winter coat going before showing them.

    Hokkaido obviously are fine, but I have friends with Kai in Hokkaido as well, and they're 100% outside dogs. It gets pretty cold up in Hokkaido -40 centigrade (not sure what that is fahrenheit) and stuff.

    Of course the main thing is to not to suddenly toss 'em into the cold. As long as they're slowly acclimatizing themselves it should be fine.
  • baantonbaanton
    Posts: 933
    Shigeru makes an excellent point... Just like us human beings, dogs should get acclimated to the cold gradually if they have lived indoors all the time.

    But as many have posted, since your dogs have the freedom to go out and come in, they will be their own best judge. And watch for those paws in the air, shivering, etc. if you take them out on a trail or something in the extreme cold. Here in MN. I have only seen those behaviors from Joe and now Josephine at maybe -20 or maybe -30 Fahrenheit. Probably won't get that cold in NM... So no worries! (Yes, people in this state do crazy outdoor things even at those temperatures, like ice fishing, skiing, skating, etc. etc.)
  • What is so silly to me is that our Akita are pretty fluffy and generally love the cold. Right now it is 40 degrees outside and all the pups are in the yard, laying in the shade, loving the cool weather - except our Akita. They are laying next to me in the office - all three panting [because its 60 degrees in the house and I guess that's hot to them].

    Go outside silly Kitas!

  • That's too funny. Go outside guys! :-)
  • I can't say much about double coated breeds since I've never had one, but Jan is quite short haired so she gets cold easily with the cool temps here in Canada. She has a sweater that she wears when it gets near freezing, and a parka for when it gets really snowy and cold! It has a fluffy hood, too, lol. Then there's a yellow rain jacket for the downpours. Surprisingly she got used to them rather quickly, though at first she refused to do anything outside while in it. Maybe I'll post pics of them sometime.
  • what kind of terrier is Jan?
  • she's a rat terrier mix
  • so she is little. Cute.

    Piglet (my Pit Bull Terrier) also has a wardrobe of parkas and sweaters. And I have long underwear on order for her.
  • can you please post a pic of piglet in long underwear? please oh please!!
  • SangmortSangmort
    Posts: 1361
    lol I second what Jen said! Pit in long underwear has to be great :) ~
  • I promise...Here is a picture of someone elses pit bull in long underwear to tide you over
  • A friend of mine has an outfit like that for her JRT. He loves it and it keeps him really warm.
  • sujewelsujewel
    Posts: 2541
    OMG. THat's hilarious!!!
  • baantonbaanton
    Posts: 933
    Jessica: That dog needs to move to MN. I love the fleece, and what a wonderful color!

    I do see some of the single-coated breeds wearing clothes around here in the winter-time, but have not seen the doggie long johns before (as we call them here in the land of the cold, snow and MN - nice euphemisms).

    Another thing I've noticed is that there are certain dog breeds that seem to have trouble with snow/ice buildup between their toes. It seems the cure for that is to have your dog wear booties of some sort. Unfortunately I've noticed many of these dogs become really adept at taking the booties off. Baby needs a new pair of shoes?
  • asiaasia
    Posts: 875
    Jessica that is adorable!

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