Cold Weather Advice - all thoughts welcome

Discussion in 'General Mastiff Discussion' started by Nik, Nov 13, 2018.

  1. Nik

    Nik Well-Known Member

    As some you may recall we recently moved from California to Portland, Oregon. My dogs have never experienced anything other than mild to hot California weather so everything that comes from this point on in the seasons will be quite new to them.

    The last few days have been quite cold here... I know I know I haven't seen anything yet. But, we have been having a lot of wind and our nights are dropped into the 30s (with real feel temperatures as low as 30 degree f). The last two days I have caught the dogs shivering several times in the middle of the night. I pull Kahlua under the covers with me when I see her shivering. And because Diesel doesn't want to snuggle under covers with me I give him a choice of his own blanket over him at the end of the bed or I turn on my small heated throw blanket and he can crawl onto the end of that. That seems to work pretty well for our inside times over night... I think I need to break out their sweaters as well because even quick trips out into the yard for potty breaks leave them shivering.

    Aside from all of the above is there anything else I should keep in mind for extremely cold weather with the dogs? Should I be looking into getting them dog shoes/booties for when it gets icy or snowy outside?
  2. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    I think a lot of it depends on the dog. My boxers get extremely cold very quickly. They get minimal time outside when it's cold and snowy. Al always wore a sweater because he just didn't have any body fat and was always cold. Roy likes to lay on my heated throw during the day. Ella is fine ... until she isn't. Her body is okay, but her feet do get pretty cold in the snow. I don't know how much good boots really do, unless it's more for protection from salt/ice/snow irritating their feet. I think they still get cold. I think you'll all adjust, given some time.

    I don't know how much snow you're likely to get, do you? I'm in NW Indiana, not far from Chicago. We get a lot of snow and it can get pretty cold. Check the tread on your tires before your first snow fall. I also suggest, if you've never driven in it before, that you find an empty parking lot and "play" with your vehicle after the first snow. I made my kids do that when they first started driving. I taught them to do donuts and made them step hard on the brakes so the car fishtailed. I wanted them to get practice before they were on the road and know how their particular vehicle handled. I think it helped.
    Nik and Bailey's Mom like this.
  3. Smokeycat

    Smokeycat Well-Known Member

    I agree that it depends on the dog. Anything below -10C and Jiggers needs a jacket so that he will go outside. -20 and you need to force him out and make sure he actually goes before letting him back in. Kryten loves the cold and at times it takes work to get him to come back inside in the winter. It's not until about -40 that he seems to think it is cold and that inside is better.
    In deep snow boots can actually be worse than bare paws because they can fill up with snow which will then melt and refreeze as the paws cool down. I only made that mistake once with Jiggers but his poor paws were completely covered in ice when we came inside after about 15 minutes outside in temperatures just below freezing. Musher's secret helps Jiggers more than the boots as it prevents the snow from collecting in the fur between the pads on his feet.
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  4. Nik

    Nik Well-Known Member

    Boxergirl - I don't think we get a whole lot of snow but I have been told we should get at least one or two days of snow each year. I think the ice is going to be the more common thing to run into here. And yes I am totally terrified at the idea of driving in ice or snow. I have no experience with either. Luckily I do work from home but I do go to the gym nearly every day which while a short drive it is still a drive. I just hope the icy season doesn't last too long.

    Smokeycat - Oh the Musher's secret sounds like a good option. I had never heard of that. Thanks!
  5. Bailey's Mom

    Bailey's Mom Super Moderator Staff Member

    Boxergirl is right! Snow covered parking lot (empty!) is a great way to get your "snow legs."'s a HOOT. Unless you were born into it, snow can be very trying.

    Trying to get out your door.
    Trying to get the car started.
    Trying to get the ice off the windows.
    Trying not to be late.
    Trying not to slip and fall (both dogs and humans!)
    Trying to get over the bruised egos and butts with a warm toddy.

    Like I said...winter is TRYING!

    Oh, and one more winter must! Moisturize...MOISTURIZE....AND RE-MOISTURIZE, otherwise the winter winds and indoor heating will dry you out like a prune.
    Dogs get itchy, too. Hope you have a humidifier, but, if not, you can put pans of water near the radiators/vents and it will help.

    The dogs will get used to it and then they'll fall in love with the snow. Mine still acts like a crazy kid, leaping and pouncing and chasing snowballs...and rolling over and doing snow-dog angels. I just watch her rear legs for tremors when we are out, and when I start seeing them, home we go.

    And there are dog safe variations of salt products that you can use on you sidewalk, they cost a bit more, but safer for everyone.
    Nik likes this.
  6. Bailey's Mom

    Bailey's Mom Super Moderator Staff Member

    LOL, I thought you meant "snow", you know several feet of snow! Oh, or two days a year is nothing. I can wake up to two feet up against my front door and have to bull my way out and then carve a path to the van. But, it sounds like you will have to deal with icy patches so if you can get a chance to practice donuts on fresh snow in an empty parking lot, take the chance. If it is customary in your new home town to have snow tires on your car, you should consider it. It is good insurance and some insurance companies here give you a break on their fees if you have them on your car.
    Nik likes this.
  7. TylerDurden

    TylerDurden Well-Known Member

    We are having the first snow on the east coast today. It‘s actually more ice/rain than he real snow, but it‘s worse. That reminds me of why I want to move to AZ or TX every time :).
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  8. Zeela

    Zeela Well-Known Member

    same here in NJ, got cold fast. Not Not looking forward to snow. i even hate going out at night with Zeela for a walk. it's going be brutal!
    Nik likes this.
  9. Nik

    Nik Well-Known Member

    Bailey's mom - We have been putting a cast iron tea pot on our wood burning stove when we light our fires just to humidify the air. It works really well. Of course neither the heat nor the moisture seem to make it to our downstairs very well.

    Yes I was told that last year was particularly snowy here but that it is unusual to get more than one or two days of snow and that basically the entire city shuts down when it does snow because nobody knows how to deal with it. What I have been warned to expect more often are ice storms and black ice on the roads etc.
    We already had a spot of hail just a couple of weeks ago but it didn't last long at all. I'm mostly worried about the effect of the cold on the dogs paws when we go outside. I was used to worrying about hot pavement in California but worrying about the opposite end of the spectrum was never really a concern.

    TylerDurden - While I am not yet used to the cold and definitely not used to snow (so maybe I will be singing a different tune by Spring) I can tell you that the opposite end of the spectrum is no picnic. I have family in Arizona and very close friends in Texas and the times I had to visit any of them in summer (or travel there for work in summer) was like pure torture. It would be over 120 degrees in the middle of the night. Not to mention the giant bugs, the scorpions... scorpions! Rattle snakes... Between the heat and the creepy wild life I will always say no thank you to the states of Arizona, Texas and Nevada. I suppose New Mexico probably fits nicely into that grouping as well but I have never been to New Mexico so that is just a guess on my part. lol

    Zeela - I know we probably aren't approaching your east coast temps yet but I have found something about this cold (30ish degrees in the evenings, nights and mornings) makes me want to stay in bed. It's getting harder and harder to convince myself that moving my computer to my bed is not a good idea. It's also getting harder and harder to convince myself to hop in my car and go to the gym every day. I sort of just want to snuggle in next to a fire and hibernate through winter. Luckily there are so many amazing amazing events here this time of year that tempt me out of the house on the weekends. :)
  10. Pastor Dave

    Pastor Dave Well-Known Member

    My doggies seem to like the snow. We had those "dog booties" for a small lab we owned, and she pranced around in them, never seeing to mind except trying to get them on. We walked in the snow yesterday, and the dogs didn't seem to notice. Even short haired Chev the mastiff does well in the cold. And Coal...he is at home in the chill. As for way. I prefer warm.
  11. April Nicole

    April Nicole Well-Known Member

    I absolutely love this time of year here in south Louisiana. We have blue skies, mild temps 65-72 highs and 50-30 lows. And if we happen to get a little snow, we shut everything down as well. Give us a hurricane, and we can roll with that. We even call hurricane season the 5th season here.... BUT ANY snow, and we panic. Lol..!! On the other hand, our summer is a force to be reckoned with. And this year we went straight from summer to winter. But, the food makes up for the hot summers. Boiled crawfish, jambalaya, gumbo, etouffee, begniets etc... we also are very hospitable. Come to think of it, you should move to south Louisiana Tyler ;)
    TylerDurden likes this.
  12. TylerDurden

    TylerDurden Well-Known Member

    I would seriously consider that. I have a good friend in Lake Charles, and have always loved the area.
  13. DenyMcKusker

    DenyMcKusker Member

    This is a fun post to read! We live in the Austin TX area and when it gets down to 50 we act all crazy. The dogs don't want to go out except to pee. Normally I just have a flow of traffic as they go in and out as they wish. Right now they are all in the living area. Max is in his crate which is in the living area. I am waiting for fall which is a favorite time of year. We also went from summer to winter. When it snows a quarter of an inch Austin shuts down. All schools & all businesses. They get the snow trucks all ready to go out. It is really funny.

    Maybe somebody will post some pics with snow booties on!!!!
    April Nicole likes this.
  14. Nik

    Nik Well-Known Member

    I used to find it funny all the out of staters who moved to California and were scared of Earthquakes because typically they moved from places with hurricanes and tornadoes and to me those things are way more scary and destructive. Earth quakes are typically (except in 89) a tiny fun little rumble. No big deal at all. I don't think I would want to live somewhere that had the hurricane or tornado thing to contend with. Way to unpredictable, destructive and scary for me. And the heat... ugh I had hoped to totally escape heat moving here but we still had some hot 90 degree days. I was so mad about those hot summer days. But, then again it was just a couple uncomfortable weeks as opposed to months of awful heat where you really can't stand to move or do anything.
  15. Nik

    Nik Well-Known Member

    I'm glad to hear that my dogs aren't the only ones (aside from some of Boxergirl's dogs) that are wussy about the cold. lol You get some pretty extreme weather in Austin though. The summers are hot hot hot and humid and you do actually get some snow. One of my best friends lives in Austin and one of my other best friends lives in Dallas. I also travel to Austin every so often for work (always in the worst heat of the summer).
    April Nicole likes this.
  16. Michele

    Michele Super Moderator Staff Member

  17. TylerDurden

    TylerDurden Well-Known Member

    I think the country is just characterized by extremes in terms of weather. I generally like the D.C. area, but have witnessed temperatures between 0 and 100 degrees F. That‘s too much of a spectrum for me. I guess I‘d do better if it was constantly hot.
    April Nicole likes this.
  18. DennasMom

    DennasMom Well-Known Member

    We're in Seattle... Denna is a nut (for many reasons)... she thinks >66F is "hot" and will start panting in spring time as soon as the sun comes out... but she also LOVES sun bathing, and the hotter the better. When we hit 90F here in summer time (REALLY hot for Seattle), she's out in the middle of the yard getting some rays.

    When fall hits, she perks up and starts getting frisky. She LOVES cold weather, and, again... will go lay down in the middle of the cold, wet yard to nap and listen to the birds.

    And, then when she comes inside, if we turn on the fireplace (gas insert), she's front and center toasting her eyebrows.

    I've never seen her shiver, though. She loves all temperatures - but does slow down in temps over 70F.

    I'd guess after a few months in the cool Portland air, your pups will acclimate some. But, if they're lean, high-energy dogs, they might also benefit from a coat or sweater to hold in the body heat if you'll be outside more than 20 minutes or so. Portland (like Seattle), doesn't see the extreme temperatures very often at all. We like it that way at our house!
  19. Nik

    Nik Well-Known Member

    Aw well so far they seem to start the shivers after just a quick potty break. If I have the sweaters on them they seem fine. Although Kahlua always takes her sweater off in the middle of the night. diesel seems to enjoy his sweater and wont' touch it. He happily sleeps in it and almost helps me put it on him when I bring it out... tail wagging the entire time. Last night we didn't do the sweaters and Kahlua came and glued herself to me and didn't let up the pressure until I brought her under the blanket. Then she was happily snoring within seconds.

    According to the weather channel our temps are suppose to drop down a bit lower over the next week or so and lots and lots of rain on the horizon. I am soaking up the blue skies while I can and when the rain comes I will soak up the dreamy snuggly grey skies. And I know my thirsty grass and trees will be super happy when the rains come. <3

    In the meantime our coyote buddy seems to have found a pack. We've been hearing them howl away every few days. Howling and yipping in eerie ways. A lot of voices too. I suspect there are 5-6 members of the pack based on the sound. Part of me is hoping they get close enough for a really good picture. Another part of me realizes what a ridiculous and unsafe hope that is. :p

    I don't know why I didn't move the pnw sooner. I love it here more than I could have imagined. California was home I grew up there, my family has been there for generations.... but I feel like this area is my heart home. Does that sound really silly and sappy? I just hope it never gets old. Because I am loving the feeling. <3

    I have another close friend up in Seattle and I haven't gotten it together to go visit her since the move. It's funny when we lived in California we drove up several times just to visit her and that was a long drive. Now that we live here it feels like such a long drive to go to Seattle... I guess that's because we would probably make it a day trip now rather than a vacation and for a day trip it is quite the trek.
  20. DenyMcKusker

    DenyMcKusker Member

    That is cruel and unusual punishment to send you to Austin in the summer. I hate it here in the summer. Next time you come to Austin you should go on a big adventure and drive out to Hill Country where all the cool people live :):):) Drive to the highest hill and there we are. Great big furry family! They love company!

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