Winter camping with GSD tips needed! Pics for attention:P - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-21-2019, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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Winter camping with GSD tips needed! Pics for attention:P

I will do my first winter backcountry trip this year, and I would like to know how cold is too cold for the dog to sleep through in the tent without any extra protection. Other tips regarding winter camping with GSDs are welcome too! Thanks in advance!

And here are some pics from spring camping...
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-22-2019, 09:15 AM
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pretty pictures! Looks like that was a good trip! No advise on camping, I've only camped in a tent once in the summer! I thought it was pretty fun but my daughter not so much! She kept unzipping the tent! Didn't like being closed in I guess! We go "glamping"! But I've seen other posts of the people here that camp in the winter so bumpin the tread!
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-22-2019, 09:49 AM
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If ~

Your dog is an adult, is “in” coat (hasn’t recently blown every hair on his/her body), you keep your dog dry and out of the wind for sleeping, and you feed well, it’ll be fine in winter temperatures.

I don’t know the exact coldest temp that I’ve tent camped with a dog, but it was well below zero degrees F. Probably -10, -15.

Insulation from the frozen ground is key, same as for us. I usually start with a reflective space blanket flipped shiny side up on my tent floor, then put my underlayments on that. Since they’re lightweight and can fit anywhere, bring an extra, as dog claws can shred them accidentally.

If your dog is COMPLETELY dry, you can use your own spare clothes for dog “nesting”, if your dog is inclined, and you need to keep weight down. Snuggling is great if your dog is a snuggler (one of mine is, the other is not) but aim their face away from your face so you don’t get all the condensation, frost, and water around your own head.

Watch for ice balls that form in their paw pads, make sure you pick those out before you let them into the tent. They melt into an unholy volume of water....

Feed good rich fat-containing food at night before bed, it keeps them warm while they sleep. And make sure they’re hydrated. I’ve cut either chunks of butter or fed sardine packets with the evening meals when it’s very cold. And lots of extra food, close to double the usual amount. My winter backpacking buddy has always owned huskies, and she got me started on the “fat before bed” dog feeding.

The famed “Costco quilts” (read about them on winter hammock forums if you’re curious) are excellent as a throw-over dog cover for bitter cold. They are down, super light weight, packable, and inexpensive enough that you won’t cry if something bad happens to one.

I used to do this quite often, but it’s been a few years (work gets in the way, alas). Beautiful photos, enjoy your travels!
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-22-2019, 11:19 AM
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Will you be hiking/camping in Avalanche prone areas? There are avy-beacons made to operate on a seperate frequency from those intended for human use (457kHz) and can be used on dogs.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-22-2019, 12:18 PM
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Where is this beautiful area, with wide open spaces... I need to move!

I found that my dogs start getting cold at around 10 degrees at night or lower. I use dog coats from Non-Stop and let them cuddle up next to me in the tent. Above 10 and they seem fine, even though they are house dogs at home and don't sleep outside. My dogs are all long-coat except for one, and even she has a high tolerance for cold. She has the very thin type mali coat. Kind of cat like length.


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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-22-2019, 06:47 PM Thread Starter
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Hey thanks so much for the great advice! And special thanks to WIBackpacker, wow, you must be one experienced camper!

Quote:
Originally Posted by WIBackpacker View Post
If your dog is COMPLETELY dry, you can use your own spare clothes for dog “nesting”, if your dog is inclined, and you need to keep weight down. Snuggling is great if your dog is a snuggler (one of mine is, the other is not) but aim their face away from your face so you don’t get all the condensation, frost, and water around your own head.

Watch for ice balls that form in their paw pads, make sure you pick those out before you let them into the tent. They melt into an unholy volume of water....
This got me thinking...do I need to bring something to dry the dog more before letting her inside the tent? My girl loves snow, especially rolling in it. Getting wet from snow wasn't an issue in spring temperature, but I guess it would be in winter?

And those pics were taken in national parks in Northern Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Canada (minus cities close to border) = wide open spaces. In fact when I drove through SK and MB, there were nothing but wide open spaces haha.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-22-2019, 07:04 PM
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I’m so envious, your photos look beautiful.

I used to travel and camp a lot until my career took some steps forward (adulting..... overrated).

I think you’ll be more than fine if you brush her off and check her pads. Take lots of photos!
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