Cold Temperature Limits For GSDs - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-19-2013, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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Cold Temperature Limits For GSDs

I just retired to rural south central Alaska with my GSD (Qanuk) and my Alaskan Malamute (Anana). Both dogs are extremely active but Qanuk is just addicted to regular and extended duration exercise. Its not uncommon in this area (7 miles south of the town of Talkeetna) to see winter air temps of -30 F and sometime even lower. In addition by January the snow pack is normally over three feet in depth but the roads are usually kept plowed. I am concerned about having Qanuk outside when the air temp is in the - 20 F to -40 F range; however, I know he will demand exercise even at such low air temps so I was wondering if there are any accepted guidelines for the lowest air temps a short haired GSD should be outdoors in and for how long a time? He is in excellent shape, weighs 85 pounds and is 25 months of age.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-19-2013, 07:40 PM
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Hopefully some of our Alaska or northern Canada members will see this and respond.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-19-2013, 07:59 PM
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I wish I knew as well, but don't since we only brought our pup home this summer shortly after moving to Quebec. My hubby's family is all in northern Manitoba though so we will likely head back there for visits with the dog, very possibly around Christmas with similar temperatures. Look forward to hearing what others would suggest!


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-19-2013, 08:23 PM
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Do you have a yard to throw a ball in? I would do very short 10 minutes of intense exercise at a time. In the winter it just gets way too cold for anything much longer. A potty walk around the block in - 30 / - 40 Celsius has Hunter limping because his feet are too cold. So, I usually take him and run him at a field for 10/15 minutes playing something like 2 ball. I make sure to leave him outside for a nap on my balcony for a little bit when it starts getting cold to make sure his winter coat comes in properly.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-19-2013, 08:25 PM
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We limited Lucky's exposure (not that she really cared for the deep freeze weather) and if she started picking up her feet we would bring her in. She loved playing in the snow, not so much the wet feet after. We never did the jackets/sweaters thing with her either. Tried booties, but those were a joke.

She probably kept herself pretty warm running around chasing balls and snowballs.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-19-2013, 09:10 PM
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When it first starts hitting -20C (aroung 0F), my dogs will start the 'cold feet dance'. Since I want them to get used to the cold, I just focus on them staying active and having fun so they forget about their feet - a few times or going for walks in -20C, and they are okay with it, and will handle the colder temperatures to come. Neither of my dogs have shown any signs of being cold in -30 to - 40C temps, wind or no wind. Though Keeta, now heading into her 10 year, will sometimes get stiff and dance on her feet if its very cold.

Very hard to keep booties on them when they are running through deep snow, and with two dogs, I don't really want to have to put on, baby sit, and take off eight individual boots each time we go out for a potty break. One thing that I have found that will work in a pinch for Keeta in the -40 weather, is just regular children's socks held on with tape - if we lose one, no big deal, and does not take any longer to put on than dog boots.

When it gets really cold, in those temperature ranges, we only do short outings for potties and to throw the ball a few times, several times a day. If Gryff has been in the house all day, I do take him out to play fetch in the driveway or on the roads (I live in a quiet rural area), for 20 to 30 minutes - I usually split some wood first to warm me up.

You might be interested to know, that a Medium or Large Cuz ball will remain supple, bouncy, and retain its squeak, even when covered in frozen dog drool in -30 temps.

And as another cold weather tip: DO NOT attempt to pick up a wood maul and split fire wood when your gloves are covered in frozen dog drool from playing fetch with your dog in -30 weather - flying wood splitting mauls have the potential to do harm if they hit the wrong thing (found out the scary way, but no one got hurt. ).
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-19-2013, 09:25 PM
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German shepherd are double coated dogs but you need to take it easy on them at first Castlemaiid is the expert here.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-19-2013, 09:35 PM
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Thanks Nikitta, but others have as much experience, if not more, with extreme cold and GSDs.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-19-2013, 09:48 PM
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-40F=-40C

We do not get that cold here. The dogs at -10F handle it a lot better than me.

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-19-2013, 09:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Castlemaid View Post
Thanks Nikitta, but others have as much experience, if not more, with extreme cold and GSDs.
Haha, when I saw this thread I thought you'd probably have the best answer There are a few others living up that way, but they don't post as often.
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