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#1 SweetBasil

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 10:51 AM

Hey folks, 

 

After spending a long time lurking on this website, absorbing tips and tricks, I am now making my inaugural post! 

 

My wife and I got Basil this past June. We've had our ups and downs, but overall she is a pretty good girl. She learns tricks quite quickly, but has some progress to go on her manners. 

 

I am positing to generate some opinions on winter clothes. I've been skeptical about the necessity of dog boots/sweaters, however, this morning winter arrived here in Canada. It was -20 celsius (-4 fahrenheit) and Basil seemed cold. The cold is excaberated by the fact that she is still recovering from a broken toe. She does not limp indoors, but it seems as though the cold makes it very painful walking outside. 

 

Anyways, I was wondering if/when you folks start subjugating your pups to wearing clothes. I figured it may not be necessary for shorter walks, but it may be needed when we are outside for an hour or more. 

 

Please find some pictures of Basil attached:

 

 

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#2 CptJack

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 11:31 AM

If the dog acts uncomfortable, they wear greyhound style blanket coats.    If I were in an area where temps were that cold, I would be inclined to use mushers secret to protect paws.  

 

I live in Virginia and while we get some nights in the teens or single digits they're rare - and we're not going out in that!  So mostly, they don't act uncomfortable (shivering, picking up paws, hunching up, being reluctant to walk/move/play, huddling at my legs), so I don't bother.  Except winter agility trials when they're crated in freezing or sub-freezing temperatures for sometimes hours at a time (out of the wind but cold and they can't easily move to warm themselves up).



#3 SweetBasil

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 02:03 PM

Ya, I think these will be the temperatures for the rest of the winter so I think we will need to confront the weather eventually. I don't think I'd be able to handle a crazy indoor puppy for the next four months...

 

I was not aware of the mushers secret. That may be a great solution. In the winter most of the paths we walk on are also salted which causes the pads to dry and crack. I wonder if the the mushers secret may also help with that. 



#4 waffles

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 02:06 PM

I dont make them wear winter clothes. I have a rough coat and a smooth coat and neither seem cold in the winter. We just got back from a 30 min walk and its currently 18 F outside (its sunny though!). The only time they seem bothered by the cold is when they get ice/snow packed into their pads and I have to pull out the little snow balls. I cant imagine taking the time to put boots on them and them actually liking them (takes long enough for me to get suited up to go out). I thought it was pretty nice out today with the sun and of course we all have to acclimate. A month ago 18 F would have been so cold!

#5 SweetBasil

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 02:48 PM

I agree. Boots would be very annoying. When Basil had a splint on her paw (for her broken toe) that couldn't get wet it was enough of a hassle putting bags overtop of it. 

 

I am hoping that she get used to the weather. I think the cold may bother her less once her toe is completely healed. 



#6 Sue R

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 03:06 PM

I have two seniors (both 15 years old, and one very thin due to prolonged kidney disease) and a mature adult.

 

The thin senior has a soft, medium rough coat with undercoat but she wears a raincoat in the rain (she takes forever to dry out otherwise) and a coat when it goes below 40 F (because she is so thin and challenged to meet her calorie intake requirements as it is with her kidney issues) when we are out for more than a potty break in the yard. 

 

The other senior is not thin but is lean and, while a medium rough coat, does not carry much undercoat so he wears a coat when it goes below 20 F and we are out for more than a potty break in the yard. 

 

The "youngster" (who is almost nine) is lean and lanky and, while he is a rough coat, has virtually no undercoat, so he also wears a coat when it goes below 20 F and we are out for more than a potty break in the yard. 

 

I factor in the wind chill when deciding whether or not they need coats. Depending on the dog, the day, and how we all feel, a walk is anywhere from half an hour to two hours. I find that the old dogs are more affected by the cold each year - the aches and the stiffness get more pronounced in colder weather and with prolonged activity, so I may be over-reacting but I prefer to keep them warmer rather than letting them get chilled by conditions that do not seem to have an effect on the younger dog (who is also extremely active on walks). 

 

Snowballs on feet can be an issue but generally only with very low temps and fresh snow, or moist "packing" snow. I don't use anything on their feet - they either lie down and clean them out as needed (the young dog) or let me know when it's time for me to remove the ice balls (the older dogs). Trimming the hair between the pad and toes, and between the toes, can reduce the accumulation of icy snow in there, and I do that when I think we need to. 

 

When they all were younger, they all went without coats because they seemed to handle that pretty well. 


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#7 GentleLake

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 04:36 PM

With all due respect to Waffles, there's a huge difference between 18F and -4F. I don't take my dogs for walks when it's sub-zero F temps, mostly because I'm a weenie. And my dogs really don't want to be out in weather like that either. I'll notice them lifting their feet pretty quickly when it's that cold, so I'd probably put both coats and boots on them if I were walking them in that kind of weather.


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#8 CptJack

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 07:50 PM

Mushers secret, to answer an earlier question, is EXCELLENT for preventing dry, cracked pads because of salting.  It's basically a really good barrier cream - not boots.

 

And honestly, I'm not going outside in sub-zero F temps. I used to live in Northern Michigan. I know that weather well and dogs aside (and the dogs I had then were heavily, heavily coated and well acclimated and still didn't want out for more than a pee when it was below zero F) it causes ME physical pain. 



#9 waffles

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 09:15 PM

With all due respect to Waffles, there's a huge difference between 18F and -4F. I don't take my dogs for walks when it's sub-zero F temps, mostly because I'm a weenie. And my dogs really don't want to be out in weather like that either. I'll notice them lifting their feet pretty quickly when it's that cold, so I'd probably put both coats and boots on them if I were walking them in that kind of weather.

Yikes, what a reaction.  I never said they were the same temperature.  I answered the OP's question of "when do you put clothes on your dogs in the winter" and the answer was never.  I then typed a little antidote about today's weather and walk.  The OP is free to do as they wish but I responded to their question.  Guess I'll go back to not responding much on these boards as no one enjoys being called out by name for such a benign post as winter clothes on dogs.



#10 Shetlander

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Posted 14 December 2017 - 09:57 PM

Basil is adorable! Welcome. :)

I use dog boots from dogbooties.com when there is salt on the streets where we walk. My dogs don't like the boots until we start walking. Then they seem to forget about them. The boots also help protect the paws when it is especially cold and there is snow on the ground. I always figure, if my dog seems cold, she probably is and a coat may be appropriate.

Now all that said, my rescue girl has only been with me four months. She was left to her own devices before getting into rescue so I have no idea how she will respond to the boots. We haven't been on a walk since the snow started almost a week ago. Not because of the cold but due to the icy streets. I fell last Saturday on our walk and though I was only a little sore from the experience, I really hate falling. So until the streets are less slippery, we're skipping our much loved walks. I make sure to play an extra game of fetch with her each day. I also train her everyday and try to take her along with me in the car whenever possible. We both miss our walks, but are getting by for now.

Good luck and have lots of fun with Basil!

Liz


 


#11 Gloria Atwater

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 12:34 AM

Hey folks, 

 

After spending a long time lurking on this website, absorbing tips and tricks, I am now making my inaugural post! 

 

My wife and I got Basil this past June. We've had our ups and downs, but overall she is a pretty good girl. She learns tricks quite quickly, but has some progress to go on her manners. 

 

I am positing to generate some opinions on winter clothes. I've been skeptical about the necessity of dog boots/sweaters, however, this morning winter arrived here in Canada. It was -20 celsius (-4 fahrenheit) and Basil seemed cold. The cold is excaberated by the fact that she is still recovering from a broken toe. She does not limp indoors, but it seems as though the cold makes it very painful walking outside. 

 

Anyways, I was wondering if/when you folks start subjugating your pups to wearing clothes. I figured it may not be necessary for shorter walks, but it may be needed when we are outside for an hour or more. 

 

Please find some pictures of Basil attached:



Welcome to you and Basil! What a cutie!  :)

As for clothing, I go under the heading of "it depends." At sub-zero Fahrenheit temps, I do begin worrying about the risk of frostbite if the dog does not have very furry feet. Dog sled drivers boot their dogs for racing, so it's not entirely silly to think about it, especially if one must brave a weeks-long stint of sub-zero temps for their dog's daily care.

For my own part, if it's just a cold snap of a week or so, I don't take my dogs out much when it's that cold. But if that's your winter normal, then for -4 F I would certainly not shrug at the idea of a coat for my dog.

I DO have coats, as a matter of fact. I have a couple light coats for if we must work out in the rain, such as setting sheep at a trial, because I live in Nevada and my smooth-coat dogs aren't acclimated or naturally coated for all-day wet. And I have a nice "winter" coat for my smooth-coat, Nell, who has virtually no undercoat and will sometimes start shivering if we're out hiking or snowshoeing in deep snow. Put a coat on her and she's good to go all day.  :)

This is the coat I have for her. I think she wears a medium but measuring is required:
https://www.chewy.co...ctive/dp/119318

Musher's Secret is a paw grease that is designed specifically for harsh winter conditions. Here is their website and you can buy it from various places online.
http://musherssecret.net/

Ultimately it's your call. At her young age, it might be good to just look at dog coats on Amazon and read customer reviews. She's still growing so you won't want to get something really spendy that she'll outgrow in two months. Then when she's full grown you can find her something nicer. Hope this helps!  :)

~ Gloria


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To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace. ~ Milan Kundera

#12 Maralynn

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 08:49 AM

Im in the it depends camp. Down in the single digits then Ill definitely put one on the pup and the 9 y/o with a sore back. Ill also put them on dogs who will be a bit sedentary outdoors in temps in the teens or lower. Or if were out in rain when its in the 30s

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#13 gcv-border

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 09:41 AM

All of the above suggestions are great.

 

It is really simple  (tongue in cheek):  factor in temp, wind, humidity, precipitation, activity (running around or sitting in crate), depth of snow, time that dog will be outside, age and condition of dog, fur characteristics (heavy-coated or smooth-coated, undercoat or not), acclimation to local weather, adverse health conditions and ......  [Did I forget anything?]

 

Sorry to be a wise-a$$, but a lot of factors can go into this decision, and you have received excellent answers. Use common sense.


Jovi

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#14 SweetBasil

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 10:17 AM

Thank you everyone for the great responses! They have certainly put things in perspective for me. 

 

I was more generally curious about what temperatures (rough coat) border collies would be willing to put up with. It does seem as though there is a point even an energetic puppy who loves walks would prefer to stay inside. I may just need to temper my expectations for winter walks with Basil. 

 

I think I will look more into boots and a coat. If I am suiting up in parka, scarf, gloves, toque, etc. it seems reasonable to expect Basil would need a little something extra as well. 



#15 Luana

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 11:49 AM

I use both boots and jacket if it is really cold outside.

 

https://photos.googl...bMcbBB8VADrYZ_K



#16 Sue R

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Posted 15 December 2017 - 09:14 PM

As for feet and cold, I find that my dogs' tolerance for cold on their feet is very dpendent on what kind of surface they are walking on. If the surface is barren, with no snow, they easily handle it down to about 0 F but that is the point where I need to watch for any signs of discomfort. If there is fresh/loose snow, they can have problems at temps that are higher, snow and ice ball buildup at various temps, and just sheer contact cold exaserbated by snow melting on or between the pads and toes.

I watch closely and determine if one or more of them just needs to be home and not out on a walk. Genrally, if there is no problem showing by a certain point in out walk, all will be fine and we can continue on.

For my three, it's extreme cold combined with fluffy snow that causes problems. It rarely goes below 0 F here, unless you factor in the wind chill.
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#17 Maralynn

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 07:39 AM

Ive found that my guys ( both smooth and rough) dont think twice about being active outside until it gets down in the below zero range. I do clip the fur on the feet of my rough girl to help avoid snowballs in her feet

Mara
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#18 GentleLake

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 06:03 PM

Yikes, what a reaction.  I never said they were the same temperature.  I answered the OP's question of "when do you put clothes on your dogs in the winter" and the answer was never.  I then typed a little antidote about today's weather and walk.  The OP is free to do as they wish but I responded to their question.  Guess I'll go back to not responding much on these boards as no one enjoys being called out by name for such a benign post as winter clothes on dogs.

 

Wow. I never expected that response to my post.

 

First let me say that I used the phrase "with all due respect" literally, and not with the disdain it's so often assumed to be masking. I do respect your views based on your previous input on these Boards and I didn't use the phrase sarcastically in l the least. It's a real shame that the phrase is used sarcastically so often that it sets the wrong tone for what follows. If that's what happened here I apologize for the misunderstanding.

 

And I mentioned you by name simply because there were other posts between your and mine and I was identifying what I was responding to. It was not to call you out. I could have used the quote function, but it would still have IDed you, so that may not have helped.

 

I will also say, though, that since the OP was asking for his own dog in his own climate, it didn't seem to me that an anecdote about dogs doing just fine in temperatures a full 22 degrees warmer than what he's experiencing offered much useful information, which is why I wrote the rest of it.

 

Again, sorry to have offended you.


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#19 Gloria Atwater

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Posted 16 December 2017 - 11:27 PM

I think Sue gave a good response, it may depend on the surfaces. And I would also add, it may depend on the dogs. :) 

Border collies come from a climate that can tend to be cold and wet, but rarely does the UK reach temps near 0 Fahrenheit. So if your temps do tend to stay well below the freezing mark in winter, I wouldn't be surprised if your youngster felt some effects from the cold. My guys love to be outside, but once it gets below 20 F, unless we are outside working or actively hiking, they don't want to stay out too long. Granted, my current tribe are all smooth coats ... :P


 

I was more generally curious about what temperatures (rough coat) border collies would be willing to put up with. It does seem as though there is a point even an energetic puppy who loves walks would prefer to stay inside. I may just need to temper my expectations for winter walks with Basil.


You ask of my companions. Hills, sir, and the sundown, and a dog as large as myself that my father bought me. They are better than human beings, because they know but do not tell. ~ Emily Dickinson

To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace. ~ Milan Kundera

#20 MyRuna

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 03:59 PM

“Hi” from South Canada!  (Actually, Minnesota, but please feel free to adopt us.)

 

I think we may have similar weather, so just wanted to share my experience going down the black hole of dog boots.

 

I agree with the previous posters that recommended Mushers Wax, it is the cheapest and easiest option to start with.  I use Mushers wax most of the time for walks and play, and it seems to work pretty well.  For furry dogs, shaving pads will make it easier to apply wax and cut way down on the ice balls). 

 

My biggest problem was/is when surface snow melts and freezes and kind of turns into sand paper.  My BC is a skidder when she plays, and I was horrified the first time she had a bloody footprint. 

 

I ended up buying 5 different sets, two cheaper sets from PetSmart, that fell apart quickly and three more expensive sets, Ruff Wear, Muttluks, and Ultrapaws. 

The Ruff Wear were low profile and hit at exactly the wrong spot on my girl, constantly slipping under her dew claw. 

The Muttluks were okay, but had trouble getting them on due to the tight cuff, and keeping them on, and traction in slippery conditions was the worst of the boots (smooth leather soles). 

Ultrapaws worked the best for me.  They sell the boots in pairs, because most dogs back paws are larger than the front.  Found that to be true for my girl, two different sizes (which is maybe why people have so much trouble keeping boots from falling off).  The only downside on these, was that my girl plays so hard that she got some rubbing from the inside seams.  So now I use wax most of the time and the booties only when icy surface is really rough.

 

Good luck!

 

If anyone has recommendations for other styles/brands, I would love to hear them.  After buying 5 kinds, my wallet says I have to quit looking.




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