Winter swim, icy snow. What are the facts? - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 11-13-2012, 09:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Winter swim, icy snow. What are the facts?

Living in the NE, we obviously live through seasonal weather changes.

Last week, we had a freak winter snow storm, and Kira loved it. She was outside for a good hour, running, rolling, and just having a plain ol' great time.

Since I do live near the water, what's the difference if Kira were to run into a cold ocean, versus rolling in the icy snow?

For whatever reason, I wouldn't let her jump in the water. It just doesn't "seem" right. But what's the truth about all this?

Is the cold water any worse than playing in an icy snow?
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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gsd do not have the oily coats of some breeds. chessie. retrievers and newfoundlands are bred to survive cold winter water temps, gsds are not. big difference between jumping in cold water and rolling around in the snow.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:15 AM   #3 (permalink)
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My dogs play and swim in icy water all the time - in the never-ending spring thaw that leaves huge puddles and ponds and swollen seasonal streams of snow melt, and in just openinig-up rivers and lakes with huge ice chunks still floating around. When they are running around and having fun, they are fine. Doesn't faze them a bit. I'm careful to not let them on the ice when I think the ice may be starting to break. Other than that, Everything is so wet, with inches of standing water on top of the ground since the snow is melting, but the ground hasn't thawed enough to take the melted water in, it would be impossible to keep them dry and clean.

They have never shown any signs of cold, like shivering. The only time I've seen either of them shivering is if they went swimming, retrieving sticks out of the water for an hour or so, and that is usually in the summer time.

In the spring, with the temps often hovering around 'just' freezing, or a few degrees below freezing, as they break through the snow crust or break the ice on melt water puddles as they run and play, they get soaked, then the water freezes in droplets on their fur - still does not bother them at all.

Then they come in and shake - What a mess!!!! I sometime just walk them around before going in the house or the car hoping they will shake that muddy, frozen water OFF first.

If I stop at a park with the dogs to give them a bit of a break and they end up in the water, I'll skip the errands I was planning on doing and take them home - I always have towels in the car to dry them off a bit, and have clean towels and blankets for them. If I know I won't be able to change my plans, I keep them away from areas where they are going to get wet.

So if you are able to get her home and dry, let Kira in the water if she wants to - won't do her any harm.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:30 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm with Castlemaid on this one!

Living in Ottawa we get all kinds of cold weather. In early March of this year, Kyleigh was swimming in the thawed out parts of the river!

Just last week, it was only 2 or 3 degrees above zero, and she still went swimming - and I mean swimming, not just running through water!

I too carry towels in my car to dry her off, but I also get her running around when she comes out of the water to keep her blood flowing!!

She loves it and I've seen no ill effects from her at all.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:36 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Both Hondo (GSD) and Lonestar (Lacy) love the water. However, when Hondo swims he tends to gulp water. Lonestar doesn't. I would be more inclined to allow Lonestar in icy water before I'd allow Hondo, because of this.
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Dakota has gone in the lake on a warmer winter's day. Never had a problem. I ususally have to prevent her from jumping in. She loves the water, and cold water and cold air do not stop her.
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:09 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Where do you guys get these german shepherds that love the water? I'm on my 6th and 7th GSD and I haven't owned one yet that liked water.
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:24 AM   #8 (permalink)
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OK, I have to confess...

The reason I started this thread, is because I took Kira for her usual run on the beach.
We were playing fetch on the sand, and she decided to dart towards the water, and just jumped in. she was running in and out like a kid in a candy store

To be honest, I got a little nervous, and took her home, and put her near the fireplace..LOL

OK, I'm a concerned parent, but I had to ask.
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:30 AM   #9 (permalink)
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LMAO ... there's nothing wrong with being a concerned parent! I freeze my butt off in +5 degrees, so I absolutely shudder when I see Kyleigh running through freezing cold water.

I think if we use some common sense - don't be TOO far from home (or a warm car!), keep some towels handy to help dry them off a bit, and keep them moving.
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:38 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I'm glad you asked this question, because I've been wondering the same thing! We took Ava on a new hiking trail this weekend, and the trail crossed a really nice river. Well, being the water dog that she is, she JUMPED into the river at full speed and proceeded to chase the floating leaves around. I was concerned that the cold water might make her get sick, but we walked her around afterwards and dried her off when we got home, and she was totally fine! I do like the idea of keeping some towels in the car, though. Think I'll do that when I get home today...
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