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When is it too cold to leave my dog in the car?

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 

I've often wondered what is too cold for my dog, Scout, in single-digit temps in Anchorage, Alaska. She spends a lot of time in her kennel in our car while I'm at work. She hates to be left alone. Being a dog who was rescued as a pup, she has abandonment issues, so I take her everywhere. She did just fine yesterday in five degree temps, but I brought her inside in even lower temps today. Dogs seem to take it well, seeing how they have thick coats and higher temps than we vulnerable humans have. But do they take it well? I worry, and check on her often in these low temps. Invariably, I find her curled up in her kennel, perfectly content. Then at home, I give her extra treats to make up for the extra hassle of super cold. Any thoughts on this?

post #2 of 40

Sibhusky? (username)

 

Welcome to epic racheldoro!

What type of dog?

While you wait for someone to answer, you might want to check out the Dog Pic Thread:

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/66415/the-dog-pic-thread

 



 

post #3 of 40
Thread Starter 

Scout is half German shepherd, probably part lab and I think part Alaska sled dog. She is a rescue dog with a very thick coat and undercoat. She is very used to cold weather and loves to romp in the snow, even on days like this. She is a hyper maniac who loves to bark a lot, which is why I can't bring her into the office just any old time. Does much better when she can put in four miles on our power-walk (I can't ski because it throws out my bad back). This winter's extreme cold has been relentless, and we are both itching to get back to our daily walks. Scout is about to turn two, and does seem to be calming down, so hopefully her wild ways will change soon. I love her so much and stare at her a lot. She is tan with a black snout and floppy, black-tinged tan ears.

post #4 of 40
Thread Starter 

By the way, I checked out the dog pic blog. There are some real beauties out there!

post #5 of 40

This seems like a question for your vet. You know you can buy horse blanket style insulated coats for dogs, right? That seems like a no brainier if she's in single digit temps in a crate. One thing that's on her side is her youth--older dogs become unable to tolerate cold or heat as well as they could when they were young.

 

 

Quote:
She is a hyper maniac who loves to bark a lot, which is why I can't bring her into the office just any old time. Does much better when she can put in four miles on our power-walk

 

Doesn't Anchorage have any indoor play areas/doggie day care type places? A hyper, barky young dog with separation anxiety...that's a dog that needs a lot of exercise!

 

post #6 of 40
Thread Starter 

Thanks, Christy, great tips. I will ask my vet, and check out the horse blanket idea. Anchorage does have doggie day camp options, which a bunch of unexpected bills have prevented me from accessing. Hope to do that soon. The best option for Scout is getting back on Anchorage's coastal trail asap. In the meantime, I've let Scout run around in our house as long as she needs to get her energy out. Not a great solution, but it's the best I can do right now with the weather competing with my wallet. She is a wonderful dog overall.

post #7 of 40

contact the rescue group you got her from.  They may have a better feel for her history and if fostered, other attributes.  Likely had a vet check her out too. 

 

got a friend who's black lab just loves to be outside all day, lays on the snow greeting folks if they walk buy or when they get home.   She's been out on pretty cold days, not in single digit but in the 20s and maybe lower.  owner loves her, she goes everywhere with him, he literally forces her inside. 

 

so, it's likely just fine given in a crate (don't let her get out of liking crates, they are an owners best friend when needed) and in a car, locally the temp would be higher.

 

But, consider long long term.  I'd try and work her into being fine at home ... come summer cars get very hot even with a cracked window.  also, as she ages, she may not have the fortitude for cold.

 

not to say she isn't happy now or at risk, but given she's a rescue with anxiety ... long term may be best served to work the minor issues while young.  heck, if she gives up barking, it'd be too cool if you can take her into the office.

post #8 of 40

Too Funny....  That is my picture and those are my dogs on Teton Pass about to do Triple Direct.  That picture was taken about 10 years ago.  Irie no longer skis, but really loves to patrol the neighborhood as Mayor!

post #9 of 40
Thread Starter 

Pete and Teton.etc,

I'm so glad I posted here, even though I'm not a skier (not by choice!). Thanks for your support. Pete, Scout is a kennel dog for sure, goes there as her haven. My goal is to have her with me in the office, though. We are making progress, and she hasn't been kicked out completely yet. My office mates even think she is getting more bearable. Teton.etc, Irie (is this the brown or tan dog?) and the other dog are such cuties. So glad to hear Irie is still among us!

post #10 of 40

Irie is the Yellow Lab.  River was my roommates dog.  I no longer have a roommate and River, the chocolate lab was hit by a car on the Grays River road many years ago.

post #11 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by racheldoro View Post

Pete and Teton.etc,

I'm so glad I posted here, even though I'm not a skier (not by choice!). Thanks for your support. Pete, Scout is a kennel dog for sure, goes there as her haven. My goal is to have her with me in the office, though. We are making progress, and she hasn't been kicked out completely yet. My office mates even think she is getting more bearable. Teton.etc, Irie (is this the brown or tan dog?) and the other dog are such cuties. So glad to hear Irie is still among us!


Maybe your dog is trying to tell you something....

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by splitter View Post

 

 

 

 




 

 

post #12 of 40
I say leave the pooch at home. There's not much difference between leaving her at home and leaving her in a cold car...they're both separation for the dog. Just like with a child, unless the child is in danger or sick, her crying or fears are more emotional than physical and some of your actions are actually creating more tension. All the above is doubly so if you're concerned with the cold and her health.

People also like to say "she loves being out in the snow and cold, so she must be OK with the cold in the car"' but what they fail to realize is that they're able to exercise and warm their bodies outside vs in the car, they have no opportunity to do so.

Not right for the dog or you to keep her locked in the cold car all day.
post #13 of 40

Check out the stuff on this site http://www.ruffwear.com/    

 

I bought a coat for my boxer because she has short fur . The boots and the coats would help a dog in much colder climates than where I live in  far eastern Washington.  She doesn't mind it and now she can hang with me in the teens or colder if the sun is out. For a hairier dog in colder climes it might be helpful

post #14 of 40

We took our 8 month old hound with us on a cross country Christmas Holiday trip.  We stopped in Memphis and decided to spend an hour or two checking out Graceland on the way out of town.  It was very cold for Tennessee that morning, probably about 10 degrees.  In the interest of compassion we opted to carefully place a wool blanket over the top of the kennel in the back of the vehicle to keep the dog from freezing.  It's cold and he couldn't move around much in there to keep warm.  When we returned we immediately opened the hatch to check on him.  He was SOAKED IN SWEAT!!!!  He had finished all the water we left for him so we got him some more, dried him off, and let him out for a while to cool down.  Lesson learned, most dogs (with coats) are pretty good with temps down to about zero just fine for short periods of time. 

 

Later in the trip he fell in to an eek.gif ice cold swimming pool (it was dark and covered at the time) at my parent's house.  He (a hound with webbed feet and everything) still hates water to this day because of that.roflmao.gif

 

Just check on them frequently, but for short periods they are usually OK when they can't go along for the outdoor fun.

post #15 of 40

Remote start is you friend. We have two 15 lb Norwich terriers crated in our car. We set up the heater controls and then depending on outside temperature we hit the remote start while going up the chair (800 foot range). The vehicle runs for 15 minutes and then stops. We have done this as cold as -33c and they are comfortable.

However it sounds like your dog has no problem with cold so another cheap and decadent option is to throw in an old down sleeping bag. Guarantee the dog will love it as long as she doesn't rip it apart to get at the feathers.

 

post #16 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by swisstrader View Post

I say leave the pooch at home. There's not much difference between leaving her at home and leaving her in a cold car...they're both separation for the dog. Just like with a child, unless the child is in danger or sick, her crying or fears are more emotional than physical and some of your actions are actually creating more tension. All the above is doubly so if you're concerned with the cold and her health.
People also like to say "she loves being out in the snow and cold, so she must be OK with the cold in the car"' but what they fail to realize is that they're able to exercise and warm their bodies outside vs in the car, they have no opportunity to do so.
Not right for the dog or you to keep her locked in the cold car all day.

 

I agree with this. Big difference between running around in the yard and sitting in a cold car.

 

Definitely check with a vet.

post #17 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

  He was SOAKED IN SWEAT!!!!  He had finished all the water we left for him so we got him some more, dried him off, and let him out for a while to cool down. 
 

You sure it was sweat?  Dogs hardly sweat, and most of that is through their paws.  When upset, they drool all over everything.  I suspect he flung the water about, but I have yet to see any dog soaked with sweat.

post #18 of 40

Dogs DO NOT SWEAT.  Which is why in very hot humid weather they can really suffer, especially large dogs and breeds that were originally bred for cold weather locales and jobs.

 

They give off heat through their ears, between their toes, and from their mouth, hence the panting.  That dog was wet from the water that was missing from the bowl.

 

Check with your vet.... and I think there is a heated blanket made that can be plugged into the cigarette lighter in the car.

 

Mike

post #19 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoWestSkier View Post

Dogs DO NOT SWEAT.  Which is why in very hot humid weather they can really suffer, especially large dogs and breeds that were originally bred for cold weather locales and jobs.

 

They give off heat through their ears, between their toes, and from their mouth, hence the panting.  That dog was wet from the water that was missing from the bowl.

 

Check with your vet.... and I think there is a heated blanket made that can be plugged into the cigarette lighter in the car.

 

Mike


+1 to all the above. Not sure about the blanket plugged into a cigarette lighter with a bowl of water hanging around but prob not enough voltage to do any real harm.
post #20 of 40

No water with blanket.  I would not leave the dog so long in the car that I would need to leave a bowl of water.

Mike

post #21 of 40

If you are injured (and or unconscious) and end up taking an ambulance to the hospital, your dog could be left in the parking lot overnight or longer.

post #22 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by davluri View Post

If you are injured (and or unconscious) and end up taking an ambulance to the hospital, your dog could be left in the parking lot overnight or longer.


Yes, but not leaving your dog in the cold car 5 days per week, 8 hours per day. Not right for the dog...really not right
post #23 of 40
Thread Starter 

Thanks, everyone, for your thoughtful advice. And thanks for not rejecting me for not being a skier. I turned to this site because I wanted to hear from people familiar with snow and cold. I called my vet's office today about my concerns and they said as long as Scout doesn't shiver, she is OK. I've never seen her shiver, but thought it best if she spent her workday with me in the office. She's been pretty good for the most part, calms down after a while. So I'll keep bringing her in and just put her in the car for a little while if she acts up. Forecast has the temps warming up. So this may all be a moot point soon. Leaving her at home is not an option, though, given her issues with abandonment. The few times I've done that, she's torn up whatever towel or blanket lining it to shreds, and she's been hysterical. She is a very different dog in the car, leaving her fake-sheepskin rug untouched. I'm also a news reporter, and never know how long my day will be before I can get home again. Come to think of it, I've covered the 1,150-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race four times, three times in person the whole way, and am always amazed to see these ultimate furry athletes snuggle down outside in major extreme cold. Mushers say their teams do their best running in temps way below zero. Also, I talked to mushers in Nome, the finish line of the Iditarod, during a November storm when hurricane-speed winds made the freezing cold unbearable. They said their dog teams, who live outside year-round, did just fine in their straw-lined dog houses. There were no dog casualties.

post #24 of 40

Quote:

Originally Posted by tetonpwdrjunkie View Post

Too Funny....  That is my picture and those are my dogs on Teton Pass about to do Triple Direct.  That picture was taken about 10 years ago.  Irie no longer skis, but really loves to patrol the neighborhood as Mayor!

hehe...I know out of all the pages of dog pics, I picked that one. Great photo. Sorry to hear about the lab River. Why did slider post the pic?

 

rachel, glad you got some help. Wow, covered the iditarod race? Interesting.  I'm sure you could post about it in an off season thread here.

We've had good results with crate training and two dogs with abandonment issues. One shredded the car interior's headliner.

 

Anyway, the info you also could use is here: (holy cow that's a lot of spring skiing time!)

 

From:   http://www.anchorage.net/articles/alpine-skiing

 

Skiers and snowboarders have three choices for alpine skiing within 45 minutes of downtown Anchorage – all of which offer stunning views, something for every skill level and the most awesome terrain found anywhere. The long season includes enough daylight to ski for an average of 7.5 hours a day in December and a stunning 16 hours a day in April.

 

Anchorage Ski Areas

Beginners and those short on time can zip to Hilltop Ski Area. Tucked neatly into the southeast corner of Anchorage, Hilltop is just 15 minutes from downtown. Skiers and snowboarders glide down the gentle slopes that weave against the base of Chugach State Park, while snowboarders hone their aerial skills on the popular “Mongoline,” a permanent halfpipe. Adjacent to Hilltop are the Karl Eid ski jumping facility and the Nordic trails of Far North Bicentennial Park.

 

Arctic Valley ski area is just 10 miles north of downtown at the end of Arctic Valley Road. Originally established for military recreation in the 1940s, the valley’s powder-filled courses take the serious or amateur skier or snowboarder through four open bowls, a terrain park and 25 trails holding 250 inches of annual snowfall. Two chair lifts and a T-bar deliver snow seekers to 1,214 vertical feet of mountain madness.

 

Alyeska Resort is Alaska’s premier ski resort, which has been recognized as one of the top 25 ski destinations by Skiing Magazine. It boasts 650 inches of average annual snowfall, 2,500 vertical feet of diverse terrain over 1,400 skiable acres and an alpine ski season that can stretch past 150 days.

 

Alyeska caters to all abilities, but it’s the area’s legendary “steep and deep” powder that entices skiers from all over the world. Beginners will love Chair 3’s gentle runs; intermediate and advanced skiers will adore the tree-lined middle slopes and wide bowls, while stronger skiers can go to the North Face to carve turns on North America’s longest continuous double-black runs. Freestylers can check out the features of a pair of terrain parks or hit the Alyeska Superpipe.

Throw in the Girdwood après ski scene with the Sitzmark Bar & Grill, The Bake Shop at Alyeska and dinner spots such as Double Musky and Jack Sprat, and you've got yourself an irresistible ski destination.


 

 

post #25 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by racheldoro View Post

Thanks, everyone, for your thoughtful advice. And thanks for not rejecting me for not being a skier. I turned to this site because I wanted to hear from people familiar with snow and cold. I called my vet's office today about my concerns and they said as long as Scout doesn't shiver, she is OK. I've never seen her shiver, but thought it best if she spent her workday with me in the office. She's been pretty good for the most part, calms down after a while. So I'll keep bringing her in and just put her in the car for a little while if she acts up. Forecast has the temps warming up. So this may all be a moot point soon. Leaving her at home is not an option, though, given her issues with abandonment. The few times I've done that, she's torn up whatever towel or blanket lining it to shreds, and she's been hysterical. She is a very different dog in the car, leaving her fake-sheepskin rug untouched. I'm also a news reporter, and never know how long my day will be before I can get home again. Come to think of it, I've covered the 1,150-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race four times, three times in person the whole way, and am always amazed to see these ultimate furry athletes snuggle down outside in major extreme cold. Mushers say their teams do their best running in temps way below zero. Also, I talked to mushers in Nome, the finish line of the Iditarod, during a November storm when hurricane-speed winds made the freezing cold unbearable. They said their dog teams, who live outside year-round, did just fine in their straw-lined dog houses. There were no dog casualties.


Nice to see you care as much as you do for your pooch:)
post #26 of 40

Park your car so the windshield gets the sunlight rather than the tinted rear and side windows and the car will be warmer.  Put a blanket on a seat in the front.

post #27 of 40

Up in Fairbanks we leave our dogs out at -30F and -40F without issues, I'm fairly certain your dog won't freeze at 5 or 10 degrees.  Some dogs handle it better then others, but I've had a dog who has no problem sleeping (all night) in a dog house with a straw bed down to -30F. 

 

The biggest issue is making sure they have water and food which isn't frozen. 

post #28 of 40
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the great great advice, handhdad. Really good tips. I really learned some things from you.  And akspace, you set my mind at ease. Thanks to you both!

post #29 of 40

I live in Anchorage as well and tons of my coworkers bring their dogs with them, I actually was just asking some of them this question. They bring their dogs during the winter, with blankets, toys, food and water, and a pee pad on the floor, they park close to the building to "monitor" every now and then too. Everyone says that they start their car for ten mins at least every hour and they walk them on all their breaks, almost everyone will take their dogs to the dog park off of Elmore for their whole lunch break as well... I feel like if your smart about it and it's not too cold it's a good idea. Like everyone left their dogs at home today cause it 12 degrees out, but they plan on taking them tomorrow and next week cause it's going to be warmer in the loow 40's.

 

There are a lot of crazy opinionated dog freaks out there, not to be rude. I just feel like people arnt using common sense when replying and assuming people will leave their dog in the car in 100 degree weather.. Just use common sense is what everyone has told me, and if you bring your dog don't forget the mini walks on your breaks and doing something super active on lunch... Hope this helps :)

post #30 of 40

If you are worried about your dog tearing yoru house up if you leave them home, then look into crating it. Its not cruel and they actually think of the crate as their little den. Just put a nice blanket in it with a ball or some toys and they should be OK. My dog is crated at home whilst Im at work and she loves it. When Im getting ready in the morning and ready to leave I just tell her to get in the box and she tears upstairs and hops right in.

Plus its a good way to house train them....Look into it

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