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How cold is too cold for a dog?

post #1 of 151
Thread Starter 
Loving the sport of skiing and my dog loves to play in the snow, we tend to travel with him in winter vacations. But how cold is too cold to let him hang in our SUV while we ski? We have been to many resorts and the outdoor temps are in the 20's but are single digits too cold? He's a Golden Retriever mix with LOTS of fur and our vehicle is generally warmed nicely with the heater by the time we arrive at the resort. Our M.O. is to come down at lunch and take him for a walk and some play time before our afternoon session so we don't leave him there all day.

On the way back from Boulder this holiday, we skipped skiing at Aspen because the outdoor temps were hovering around zero and did not want to come back to a "pup-cicle."

Any thoughts?
post #2 of 151
H2ochick - Depends. Is he an outside dog at home? Or is he inside, and just out for walks and play. If he's outside most of the time, being in a car (out of any wind) would (should) not be a problem for the whole day. The more he is outside, the thicker he will grow his coat, and a golden should be able to have a thick enough coat to be happy in the car.

If you are getting him out of the car at noon for a run, start up the car for 20 minutes to let it warm up and he'll be fine.

And/or, provide him a kennel in the back seat to get into. That will, believe it or not, give him a warmer environment. Don't forget to give him a blanket to lie on, in or out of the kennel.

He'll do fine, once he gets used to it. Watch the Iditarod some time. You'll see what an acclimatised (yes, I know that's the key) dog can put up with, in terms of cold weather.

Good luck!
post #3 of 151
My dog travels with me a lot of the time I'm working and almost all the time I'm skiing. He does great even during some pretty cold days 0F and such. He's not an outdoor dog but is used to being in the car. If you don't know how your dog will do just make a point to stop by a few times a day. It's really easy if you ski one of the areas with close free parking such as Mary Jane or A-Basin.
post #4 of 151
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input!

Our dog is and outdoor dog so he's used to being in conditions (albeit So. Calif). The vehicle is usually packed up pretty tight so he has a kennel-like environment. Running the car for 15-20 minutes during the lunch break sounds like a great idea.

We are now ready for the next ski run!

Happy skiing to all,

H2oChick
post #5 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by H2oChick View Post
Loving the sport of skiing and my dog loves to play in the snow, we tend to travel with him in winter vacations. But how cold is too cold to let him hang in our SUV while we ski? We have been to many resorts and the outdoor temps are in the 20's but are single digits too cold? He's a Golden Retriever mix with LOTS of fur and our vehicle is generally warmed nicely with the heater by the time we arrive at the resort. Our M.O. is to come down at lunch and take him for a walk and some play time before our afternoon session so we don't leave him there all day.

On the way back from Boulder this holiday, we skipped skiing at Aspen because the outdoor temps were hovering around zero and did not want to come back to a "pup-cicle."

Any thoughts?
I have two labs that I duck hunt with in zero degree weather. They have both been in the water when it was around 20 out, and we hunted all day. They do better then I do, and I do pretty good. Wind chill is dangerous when you start to hit Ten and lower, so watch the wind. If you want, places like Cabella's and Bass Pro sell wind breakers/blanket type coats for dogs, I have a couple but the dogs dont seem to care. Both my dogs sleep in the house when you can convince them too, and it has to be well below zero before they are interested in any such thing. I have not ever had a problem with the cold, watch for Ice in the paw, it can cut it. Then the cut freezes, bad ju ju. A golden will take anything you can. Just use common sence care with the animal and good fatty food when its cold, you burn far more calories when its cold, and water! Dont forget that. Read your dog food label, some of those "special" brands have almost NO calories, and that is bad.
post #6 of 151
Dogs will eat scraps off the street.
Dogs will sleep on a rock in below zero weather.

But so will humans, if they have to.

If you can do better than leaving your dog in a vehicle in freezing weather, then you should.

Just because they aren't complaining doesn't mean they're enjoying it.
post #7 of 151
Get some sort of box, maybe a few layers of cardboard, but one might be too flimsy, and staple/nail/zip tie/glue some old blankets around the inside, then put it on its side in the back of your car. If its the right size, your doggy will probably love to curl up inside it, and it should keep him plenty warm. You could even make a space to put some hot water bottles in it. Might have to teach him that its his space, but shouldn't be too hard.

Disclaimer, I have considered doing this with my dog, but haven't tried it yet.
post #8 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by MAGGOT View Post
Get some sort of box, maybe a few layers of cardboard, but one might be too flimsy, and staple/nail/zip tie/glue some old blankets around the inside, then put it on its side in the back of your car. If its the right size, your doggy will probably love to curl up inside it, and it should keep him plenty warm. You could even make a space to put some hot water bottles in it. Might have to teach him that its his space, but shouldn't be too hard.

Disclaimer, I have considered doing this with my dog, but haven't tried it yet.
Most good pet stores sell all kinds of neat things for cold weather care, and a lot of it works good. You have to know your own dogs and kinda go from there, I have spent a lot of money on warming blankets that the darned dogs want no part of. The previous poster said something about a dog liking it, well there is one way to tell. All you have to do is watch your animals, they will let you know if they dont like something or not. Most dogs dont really want to be left out of anything. Mine would do anything that I do, but you do sorta gotta be a little practicle, most places wont let you take a dog on the lift with ya!
post #9 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by spud6414 View Post
Most good pet stores sell all kinds of neat things for cold weather care, and a lot of it works good. You have to know your own dogs and kinda go from there, I have spent a lot of money on warming blankets that the darned dogs want no part of. The previous poster said something about a dog liking it, well there is one way to tell. All you have to do is watch your animals, they will let you know if they dont like something or not. Most dogs dont really want to be left out of anything. Mine would do anything that I do, but you do sorta gotta be a little practicle,
Yea, it probably depends on the specific dog, and the breed in general, but most dogs naturally like to curl up in stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by spud6414 View Post
most places wont let you take a dog on the lift with ya!
Telluride will let ya, at least they used to. Always meant to take advantage of that, but haven't yet.

Anyone know any others?

My doggy mostly just skis preseason stuff with me.
post #10 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by MAGGOT View Post
Yea, it probably depends on the specific dog, and the breed in general, but most dogs naturally like to curl up in stuff.



Telluride will let ya, at least they used to. Always meant to take advantage of that, but haven't yet.

Anyone know any others?

My doggy mostly just skis preseason stuff with me.
I didnt know that about Telluride...Hmm Hows that work, dogs and people on the slopes? : I can just imagine a 60 year old man suing my dog, LOL.
post #11 of 151
Most of the pet places and probably even K-Mort sell those doggie beds that are kind of like a kiddie pool and have soft sides .... like made of pillow material and soft bottoms.

If poochie curls up in there he is insulated on the bottom and sides and has miminal exposed surface area.

I have two garage cats, and made them similiar down beds .... after they got booted out of the house. They were feral cats (mom and kittens), and just were impossible to housebreak.

When it hits the low teens, I do take them out hot water bottles (2 litre Coke), insulated with down (old jacket sleeves), but that's because they are out in the cold full time.

Given a place to curl up, animals know how to "get small" to stay warm.

Now if a PETA member sees poochie shiver ..... brace yourself ... :
post #12 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
Most of the pet places and probably even K-Mort sell those doggie beds that are kind of like a kiddie pool and have soft sides .... like made of pillow material and soft bottoms.

If poochie curls up in there he is insulated on the bottom and sides and has miminal exposed surface area.

I have two garage cats, and made them similiar down beds .... after they got booted out of the house. They were feral cats (mom and kittens), and just were impossible to housebreak.

When it hits the low teens, I do take them out hot water bottles (2 litre Coke), insulated with down (old jacket sleeves), but that's because they are out in the cold full time.

Given a place to curl up, animals know how to "get small" to stay warm.

Now if a PETA member sees poochie shiver ..... brace yourself ... :
PETA= People Eating Tasty Animals? LOL.
post #13 of 151
I had an English Setter that wouldn't come inside when there was snow on the ground and it was far below zero. She just loved running out in the cold. On the other hand, the greyhounds I have now hate it when the temperature drops below 60.
post #14 of 151
I had two black labs for 14 years and it gets -40 up hear and no problem. Lots of labs around hear and with there double coat a day of skiing and takeing the lab for a pee at lunch your good to go. A nice warm wool blanket stuffed in the kennel and some water at lunch and a treat will do. Leave one window just craced a bit or your windows will freeze up when its real cold out. Out of the wind and snow -30 in a truck and kennel will will be toasty warm for a lab.
post #15 of 151
There's a big difference between letting your dog run around outside and working his body in the cold versus sitting in a car in freezing temps.

You should NEVER leave your dog alone in the car when temps drop...cars actually hold in the cold, acting like refrigerators, which could literally cause your dog to freeze to death and at a minimum, your dog will be miserable...also, dogs with very short coats have even less tolerance for cold.

I can't believe people actually leave a pet in their cars during the winter...a recipe for disaster...just leave the pooch at home for the day or at a frends house....you're kidding yourself if you think for a moment he's ok.

Play outside in the cold, cool...leave in a refrigerated box for the day...very uncool.
post #16 of 151
I'm told many ski areas don't look kindly on leaving a dog in your car in their lots all day.

Seems that it was a topic of discussion around the time of ESA Snowbird.

Don't have a dog, so I have no first hand knowledge and no inclination to search but we have had this discussion before if someone is interested enough in doing a search.
post #17 of 151
my cousin had a black lab that would lay down in snow banks and go to sleep in subzero weather. on the other hand i had a dog that would stop at the front door and crap on the floor instead of being dragged outside when he thought it was too cold.
post #18 of 151
We have 4 dogs, 3 cats. The dogs all stay outside, at least during the day. Sometimes if its really cold the dogs are allowed inside. The 2 oldest dogs stay inside at night most of the time. The Golden Retriever gets hot sometimes and wants to stay out even at 11 years old. I try and keep the cats out all the time. But one sneaks in occasionally. Not that I'm against the cats but they fight over the litter box. One, I caught peeing in the radiator vent, and a dog dish. So, cats outside.

All the dogs and cats have insulated (with R11 foam) double walled, boxes. In the summer I staple bags full of cedar chips in the bottom. In the winter the boxes are stuffed with straw (not hay).

I thought I might mention that not all animals are smart when it comes to cold. We live in the country and animals show up quite regularly when people dump them off. One of our cats had frost bite on the tips of its ears. The tips had to be clipped off.

As far as keeping an animal warm. They need a box or covering with a roof over top off it. The animals breath gets trapped in the box and will keep it at least partially heated inside. If you can elevate the box a few inches off the ground or the floor. This creates a 'heat sink'. The cold air will drop into the lower space and the heat rises off the floor.

Oh and be prepared for the inside of your windows to be frozen from breath condensing on the glass.
post #19 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by paul horowitz View Post
You should NEVER leave your dog alone in the car when temps drop...cars actually hold in the cold, acting like refrigerators,
Or if the sun's out, the car will be much warmer than outside temps. Or if it's windy, a car will act much warmer than the outdoors.

Quote:
which could literally cause your dog to freeze to death
Dogs are left in cars every day in Summit County and I've never heard of one that froze to death. Rarely during the day here does it get cold enough for a dog with a decent coat to be miserable in a car.
post #20 of 151
Dogs suffer from heat, not cold.

A golden will do fine in anything you can survive. I had a pyrenees who slept outside all winter in Colorado by choice. He would rather sleep on the porch at -25 than in the house. That dog would not agree with Paul.



ahh! Comfy at last!
post #21 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by breckview View Post
Or if the sun's out, the car will be much warmer than outside temps. Or if it's windy, a car will act much warmer than the outdoors.

Dogs are left in cars every day in Summit County and I've never heard of one that froze to death. Rarely during the day here does it get cold enough for a dog with a decent coat to be miserable in a car.
Stats dont' lie: dogs die more often than you think in both cold and hot cars, as do kids. I have no clue where Summit County is, but the original poster talked about temps in the single digits and yes, that's plenty cold enough for a dog to freeze to death.

Further, saying that if the sun is out it's warmer or if the wind is blowing it's warmer in the car is illogical. I guess if the sun starts out shining on a day that's below freezing, then clouds suddenly appear 10 mins after you start your ski day, you'd race back to your car to rescue the pooch who now could potentially freeze.

And suggesting that a dog is better off in a freezing car than dealing with both wind and cold outside the car is more reverse logic. Your dog is better off sitting at home waiting for you vs sitting in a refrigerated box all day, plain and simple.
post #22 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post
Dogs suffer from heat, not cold.

A golden will do fine in anything you can survive. I had a pyrenees who slept outside all winter in Colorado by choice. He would rather sleep on the porch at -25 than in the house. That dog would not agree with Paul.



ahh! Comfy at last!
I'm in complete agreement that certain breeds do great OUTSIDE (my Bernese Mountain dog is nuts about the snow). Dogs outside are active and know how to maintain a safe body temp, but this is a VERY different situation from what the original poster was inquiring about which was with respect to leaving a dog in a CAR. A car acts like a mini fridge and there are literally hundreds of dogs that die each year from being left in a car when the temps are freezing.

Just for fun, here are a few common myths around the subject and again, the stats don't lie:

Cold Weather fur facts While the US east coast is bracing for a winter storm which is expected to drop up to 8 inches of snow this weekend, pet owners are warned to bring their pets inside. Many owners do not do so because they believe these common myths:
Myth: Dogs and cats can fend for themselves in winter weather. Nothing could be further from the truth. The sad fact is that during winter many animal shelters are forced to euthanize cats suffering from irreparable frost bite of their ears and noses. [Chilling not healthy for pets, Journal World]
'The skin on an animal can freeze in as little as 20 minutes in sub-zero temperatures, according to local veterinarians and animal-care experts.
Veterinarians at the North Shore Animal Hospital on Neptune Boulevard in Lynn said animals should not be outside for more than 10 minutes in temperatures below 20 degrees...' [Fur Factor, Daily Item of Lynn]
Myth: Long-haired dogs can be left safely outside in frigid weather. Truth: even a heavy coated dog can freeze to death, especially if its coat gets wet. If the dog doesn't freeze to death, it can sustain frostbite and suffer if it has pre-existing arthritis. 'No pet should be left outside in temperatures below 40 degrees. Short-coated breeds and small dogs should be supplemented with a coat or a sweater. Outdoor breeds such as huskies and malamutes need warm shelter from the wind and cold as well as a source of unfrozen water...' [Cold weather related illness and your pet, Telegraph Online]
Myth: dogs don't need water outside and can be fed water only at night. While it's true that water freezes quickly in 20 degree weather, that doesn't mean animals don't require it. Dogs and cats become more easily dehydrated in frigid weather. "Any dogs left out in this winter should have food and water and a shelter that keeps them dry. Water is difficult to supply to outside animals in the cold weather. A special effort has to be made to make sure it is at least available three times a day." [Wild weather brings warnings, Beloit Daily News]
Myth: dogs and cats can stay warm and alone in a car during cold weather. If the car's heater is running, yes... but it wouldn't be safe to leave the car running with animals alone in it. Cars become virtual freezers in freezing weather and dogs and cats die each year from owners thinking that it not so cold out. [Pets and animals in distress, ]
post #23 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by paul horowitz View Post
Dogs outside are active and know how to maintain a safe body temp, but this is a VERY different situation from what the original poster was inquiring about which was with respect to leaving a dog in a CAR. A car acts like a mini fridge and there are literally hundreds of dogs that die each year from being left in a car when the temps are freezing.
]
Paul, I disagree about dogs and thermodynamics.

Cars are not refigerators. They will not get colder than outside air. They may not be as cosy as a dogloo full of straw but they have some insulation, and if it is warm when you park it it will not get colder than the outside air.

By they way, my "active" Pyrenees would sleep outside on a ventilated deck without moving. In the morning the snow was the same depth on his fur as the rest of the deck. Same with the dog in the picture. That is accumulated snowfall on him. He sleeps most of the time, inside or out. He has not been cold in his life. He would be fine in a car as long as a window was open, in any weather you, or your veternary experts from south Maryland could stand.
post #24 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post
Paul, I disagree about dogs and thermodynamics.

Cars are not refigerators. They will not get colder than outside air. They may not be as cosy as a dogloo full of straw but they have some insulation, and if it is warm when you park it it will not get colder than the outside air.

By they way, my "active" Pyrenees would sleep outside on a ventilated deck without moving. In the morning the snow was the same depth on his fur as the rest of the deck.
Newf: Your comment about cars not getting colder than the outside air is just dead wrong and there are numerous studies that prove the fact that cars in winter have a refrigerator affect on the inside temps in the car and its occupants and doubly so if you consider the fact that your pet is not active in the car and also burns more calories (not to mention the fact that most people think that because its cold outside, your pet does not need more water and most people who leave their dogs in the cold car dont think about putting water out for their dogs).

Car temps can vary wildly from outside air temps in both hot and cold weather. Ever jump into your car on a freezing day and it's about 10-20 degrees warmer in your car based on the sun or other factors? Ever wonder why it is your car heats up to searing, aka dangerous conditions in the summertime and can be more than 40 degrees hotter than the outside air? Well, the same effect holds true for difffering temps in the winter time between car temps and the outside air.

A few articles of note:

http://www.accuweather.com/winter/wi...=pets_w inter

http://www.transcriptbulletin.com/St..._during_winter
post #25 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadrash View Post
On the other hand, the greyhounds I have now hate it when the temperature drops below 60.
Greyhounds are so unpredictable about that. Mine is a real snow-dog, she just loves prancing around in the fresh. Doesn't even like to wear her coat unless it's down to at least 30F, and has shaken off and lost ever snood or neck-gaiter we ever get her. But I'd never leave her in the car when skiing.

Check for doggie-daycare places near the slopes. Often local dog kennels and vets will have reasonable day-care rates. There's a couple of places near Breck, another nearer to Keystone, here where we live now. When we lived in Boston and often day-tripped to Sunday River, we found a local Bethel vet that had cheap daycare rates.
post #26 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by paul horowitz View Post
Newf: Your comment about cars not getting colder than the outside air is just dead wrong and there are numerous studies that prove the fact that cars in winter have a refrigerator affect on the inside temps
I stated that if they are warm when you park them they will not get colder than outside air. I don't need to post a reference, that is a fact based on the first law of thermodynamics.

Cars can hold nighttime cold temperatures through the morning due to their insulation. A bare metal floor can conduct heat away, but without an active energy transfer mechanism, such as a refrigerator, they will never get colder than the outside temperature.

You cannot repeal the basic laws of physics. If you could post some of your "numerous studies" which do show parked cars working as refrigerators I'd love to see them. We'll make a fortune on the energy source.
post #27 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post
I stated that if they are warm when you park them they will not get colder than outside air. I don't need to post a reference, that is a fact based on the first law of thermodynamics.

Cars can hold nighttime cold temperatures through the morning due to their insulation. A bare metal floor can conduct heat away, but without an active energy transfer mechanism, such as a refrigerator, they will never get colder than the outside temperature.

You cannot repeal the basic laws of physics. If you could post some of your "numerous studies" which do show parked cars working as refrigerators I'd love to see them. We'll make a fortune on the energy source.
We are now at the silly stage of the discussion...fact is, dogs die every year due to being left in cars and hypothermia and point of fact, just about every ASPCA website has warnings to the following effect:

"Don't leave pets alone in cars during cold weather months. When the engine is off, a car can act as a refrigerator, holding in the cold."...or if you prefer, from Dog & Kennel:

"6. Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the animal to freeze to death."

I just don't understand people who think it's "ok" to leave their pooch freezing in the car when they can leave him safely at home.

Again, if you can cite a reference for your statement that car temps can never be colder than the outside air, would love to see it.
post #28 of 151
Sorry, Dog and Kennel is not a good source of info on thermodynamics.

Try this one:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_of_thermodynamics

A car can act like a cooler, keeping in cold air (or keeping in warm air)

It cannot do what a refrigerator does, that is, cool the interior to a temperature lower than the surrondings, without running the AC.
post #29 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by newfydog View Post
Sorry, Dog and Kennel is not a good source of info on thermodynamics.

Try this one:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laws_of_thermodynamics

A car can act like a cooler, keeping in cold air (or keeping in warm air)

It cannot do what a refrigerator does, that is, cool the interior to a temperature lower than the surrondings, without running the AC.
I can't speak to the safety of leaving a dog in a car in the winter, but I gotta back up newfydog on this point.

:
post #30 of 151
Just a thought. Military did extensive cold weather reasearch on Hypothermia. THI, Wind Chill factors, Kcal energy consumtion,exposure time,ect. Animals can tell you when they are unsuited. It all starts with the shivers. First rule of survival in cold weather? Get shelter.
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