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  #1  
Old 01-14-2005, 11:28 AM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
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How cold is too cold for a dog to be outdoors?

Mom & Dad have a boarder collie - they've been invited to a bonspiel on Saturday, but are reluctant to attend, because if they do, their doggie will be outside for 8 hours plus.

The high on Saturday is -38 with a windchill of -46. However, Dusty (the boarder collie) does have an uber-dog house - it's elevated above the frost line, fully insulated and lined with sheepskin, as well as being loaded with blankets and sheepskins for him to snuggle into. Additonally, the house is in a protected area - it's surrounded on 3 sides and the roof by a doggie hut type dealie, to block the wind.

Mom and Dad have said they don't want to leave him outside for that long even if he has the uber house, because it's too cold. The bonspiel organizer has said that the dog will be fine, and foxes and whatnot spend time in crapper cribs than Dusty has, and he'll be fine, etc, etc. As a matter of interest - bonspiel organizer is a farmer, and tends to have a more utilitarian view of pets.

So - what's the virdict? Is the organizer correct that Dusty will be fine, or are my parents correct that it's absurd to even consider it?

(FWIW, I'm pretty sure they're not going to the bonspiel - but I'm curious about dog safety generally, using Dusty's situation as an example. My doggie doesn't go outside when it's below -25 - he has a doodie pan. )
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Old 01-14-2005, 11:32 AM
Ike Witt Ike Witt is offline
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Before everyone asks, a bonspiel is a curling tournament.
  #3  
Old 01-14-2005, 11:45 AM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adam yax
Before everyone asks, a bonspiel is a curling tournament.
?? Doesn't everybody know that?



























  #4  
Old 01-14-2005, 11:47 AM
rjk rjk is offline
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That's cold! Takes me right back to childhood!

I've seen dogs live outside all winter with the proper shelter, mostly Huskies and such, but border collies can handle it too. With shelter like that to keep the wind off, he'll be fine, especially if the house is small enough to be cozy. Dry food is OK in the cold, so the only problem would be water. You'd do best to set up a small electric warmer for the water dish, but if you're going that far you might as well heat the doghouse too.

(I agree that everybody should know about bonspiels, but far too many don't.)
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  #5  
Old 01-14-2005, 11:58 AM
aahala aahala is offline
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I'd be concerned about Mom and Dad, unless the arena was heated.
  #6  
Old 01-14-2005, 12:26 PM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
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Originally Posted by aahala
I'd be concerned about Mom and Dad, unless the arena was heated.
Well, I told my dad he was mental, Canadian or not.
  #7  
Old 01-14-2005, 01:03 PM
bostonpete bostonpete is offline
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Originally Posted by alice_in_wonderland
The bonspiel organizer has said that the dog will be fine, and foxes and whatnot spend time in crapper cribs than Dusty has, and he'll be fine, etc, etc.
Animals in the wild are routinely exposed to conditions that would be considered cruel to a household pet. I suspect that if anyone left a dog out in weather like that around here, uber house or not, they'd be quickly reported to the ASPCA.

Then again, weather like that would be record-setting around here, so people would probably be freaking out anyways!
  #8  
Old 01-14-2005, 01:10 PM
Athena Athena is offline
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I'd call your vet and ask. My vet routinely would rate my dogs - I had one rated at 0 degrees farenheit, meaning she could be left outside, with shelter, down to 0 degrees. It rarely got that cold. But that dog was a cold nut - she flat out refused to sleep indoors all year round - if I tried to keep her in she'd wake us up whining to go out.

On the other hand, I think my pugs are rated at about 80 degrees F. They whine when they even LOOK outside.
  #9  
Old 01-14-2005, 01:20 PM
Finagle Finagle is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alice_in_wonderland
Mom & Dad have a boarder collie - they've been invited to a bonspiel on Saturday, but are reluctant to attend, because if they do, their doggie will be outside for 8 hours plus.

The high on Saturday is -38 with a windchill of -46. However, Dusty (the boarder collie) does have an uber-dog house - it's elevated above the frost line, fully insulated and lined with sheepskin, as well as being loaded with blankets and sheepskins for him to snuggle into. Additonally, the house is in a protected area - it's surrounded on 3 sides and the roof by a doggie hut type dealie, to block the wind.
Well, it depends. How much does their boarder collie pay in rent?

I'm thinking that if they really want to go, they could probably arrange some heating for the dog house for 8 hours. Even a few 100 watt light bulbs (carefully arranged to not touch anything flammable) would probably keep the dog house relatively toasty.

Is the dog acclimated to low temperatures? If it's outside in weather like that often, then it will probably be OK.
  #10  
Old 01-14-2005, 02:38 PM
MontrealChick MontrealChick is offline
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It sounds like there is adequate shelter from direct elements, you just need some extra heat and it should be fine.

I suspect electrical heat sources may be unavailable to you so I would suggest you look into some heatpacks. They are a temporary means of providing heat, good enough for the time period you need (most are in the 8-12 hour range that I've seen), relatively inexpensive and easy.

I suggest you make them inaccessible to the dog directly as not to cause burns or have the dog ingest any. I would place them between the bottom blankets securely. Personally, if I were in this situation, I'd take the time to make a zippered mat, imagine a big pillowcase made out of a comforter with a zipper closing) and I would place the heat packs in there. The mat with other blankets to keep warm should be just fine.

As for water, I wouldn't want to leave too much water if any with my dog if he can't be let out for business during the said period of time. I wouldn't want my pooch having to hold it in in confined quarters for a long period of time either with extra water to drink and make it worse. Considering the dog will not be active during the 8 hours, I doubt it will suffer any dehydration from being 8 hours without water if he has access to some immediately before and after the period of time.

My 2 cents,

MC
  #11  
Old 01-14-2005, 05:00 PM
Stainz Stainz is offline
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Here in Kamloops, BC we have been told that it's too cold to leave pets outside - even pets that usually live outside year-round, and we were told that when the temperature was -15.

It's now -28 and my dog's feet get frozen and bother her after just a couple of minutes outside while she goes to the bathroom.

However, she IS an inside dog, so she's obviously less "tough" than dogs that are used to being outside.

She is a border collie (no "a" - minor nitpick).

Don't your parents know anyone who can let their dog out during the day, and leave the dog inside the rest of the time? (Or did I miss that in the OP - my brain is foggy today).

Why not just take the dog's water away and leave him inside for the day? 8 hours isn't that long, an adult dog should easily be able to "hold it".

S.
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Old 01-14-2005, 06:05 PM
CC CC is offline
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truth:

In some areas in England, the smaller knights used to ride on huge St. Bernards that were pretty good at dealing with cold. But sometimes, it was even too cold for the ones that didn't have particularly thick hair, hence the expression, "I wouldn't send a knight out on a dog like that."
  #13  
Old 01-14-2005, 06:20 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
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Here where it rarely gets down to 40+, I say "too cold for me, too cold for my friend the dog".
Ask your vet if it isn't true that indoor dogs (and cats) live considerably longer and healthier lives than outdoor dogs (and cats).
"My outdoor dog, Fido, lived to be a healthy 17 yrs old." Yeah, yeah.
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  #14  
Old 01-14-2005, 07:48 PM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
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Dusty is actually more of an indoor dog - he sleeps indoors all year round, and when they get cold snaps, he stays inside except for doodie runs.

When it's warmer he spends a lot more time outside, but he's certainly not an "outdoor dog" in the traditional sense of the word.

Also, I think 8 hours was a minimum. Regarding having someone come in - my parents live in the stix - it's not even a farm - it's more rural than that. They do have neighbours, but I can't imagine any of them would consider going out in -46 degrees to walk a dog. Friendly, but pragmatic.
  #15  
Old 01-14-2005, 08:49 PM
ratatoskK ratatoskK is online now
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Since he's an indoor dog, why can't you leave him indoors? Have you never left him alone for 8 hours? Do you have a crate or a pen that you can set up inside?
  #16  
Old 01-14-2005, 10:58 PM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratatoskK
Since he's an indoor dog, why can't you leave him indoors? Have you never left him alone for 8 hours? Do you have a crate or a pen that you can set up inside?
8 hours minimum.
  #17  
Old 01-14-2005, 11:08 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
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Pretty obvious, but;

Take you and yours to mom and dads and hang out with ol' Dusty for the day.
Curling, huh? That sound's pretty important.
  #18  
Old 01-14-2005, 11:19 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
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If your parents don't have a crate for the dog, they should get one. A crate is important for times like this, or times when the dog is sick, or when you have to travel long distances, or when people come over who are allergic or scared of dogs.

Crates aren't cruel. Dogs are den animals, and every dog I've ever had loves his/her crate - it's the dog's territory, its safe place.

Tell your mom and dad to get a crate big enough for the dog to be able to stand up in and turn around. Then put the crate in the house with the dog.

Normally, I'd say the dog could stay outside with proper shelter, but -38 is COLD. You can be fined for leaving a dog outside in that kind of weather in many places.

Plus, the dog may not stay in the shelter. Border Collies especially are known for letting their curiousity/work ethic override their need for comfort. They've been known to literally run themselves to death. The dog may decide to go out of the house and explore, and wind up with frostbitten paws.
  #19  
Old 01-15-2005, 12:12 AM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
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1) Mom and dad are either a 4 hour plane ride + a 3 hour drive, or a 14 hour drive away. I'm not heading out there for a day to dog sit.

2) Dusty has a crate that he stays in at night. However, putting him in there for MORE than eight hours isn't a very good idea.

3) As I'm pretty sure I mentioned in the OP - mom and dad have decided not to go, and my question pertains to dogs in general, using Dusty as an example.

However, if you folks would like to continue answering questions that I didn't ask, or offering solutions to problems that don't exist, please do so.

For anyone else - how cold is too cold for a dog to be left out with the aforementioned conditions?
  #20  
Old 01-15-2005, 02:18 AM
CrazyFoo CrazyFoo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alice_in_wonderland
For anyone else - how cold is too cold for a dog to be left out with the aforementioned conditions?

It depends on the dog.
When I lived in Iqaluit (Baffin Island, NWT) we used to go and see dog teams chained up in the middle of nowhere with no shelter. (on the tundra)
The owner would keep them there, and come by once a day with food and water.

We used to get temps in Iqaluit of over -60 with the wind chill.

I wouldn't think your parents house dog would survive outside for 8 hours in that extreme cold. For anyone to attempt such a thing would be cruel and inhumane IMHO.

I know you're not keen on the idea of a crate, but as previous posters have mentioned, crates are the only way to go. They are an excellent training tool.

We have an extra large crate that we use for our 3 Bichons.
They are crated at night when we go to bed, and anytime when they are left along.
There is a giant sized throw pillow in there, and we always throw in their favorite stuffed animals and a few chew toys to keep them busy.

Unless it's an absolute emergency, dogs won't make #1 or #2 in their crate.
They are like us humans that way, they don't shit where they sleep.

I would say at least once a week they are crated for 8-9 hours, and only on one occasion was there ever an accident.

Our little monsters would last for about 3 minutes outside in that weather, but they are spoiled rotten.

Good luck!
  #21  
Old 01-15-2005, 11:57 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is online now
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Obviously it depends on the dog! An indoor greyhound or chihuahua needs a sweater to go out in what I think of as "normal" winter cold snaps (around freezing). My indoor double-coated Westie is okay in freezing temperatures, but he sure dosen't like them. An outdoor frigid-weather working sled dog wouldn't even notice the cold. Here when it gets below freezing they tell us to take our pets and our plants indoors, but I've never in my life seen temperatures even think about approaching the ones you're talking about. Obviously, 40 below is not okay to leave an indoor dog out unprotected. I guess the real question is, how warm does the dog have to be able to make the doghouse to make it safe?
  #22  
Old 01-15-2005, 12:22 PM
enipla enipla is offline
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I advocate doggie doors. Lets the dog go out when they need to, and inside to be comfy. They’re great. IMHO, dogs really shouldn’t be left at home all day inside or outside.

A doggie door really removes stress on the dogs owner as well. Our Rozee (a Border Collie too) gets walked every day, at other times, she can do as she wishes, even at 3am.

Baring that, you can buy ‘dog warmers’ it’s like a heavy duty heating pad.
  #23  
Old 01-15-2005, 01:08 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alice_in_wonderland
1) Mom and dad are either a 4 hour plane ride + a 3 hour drive, or a 14 hour drive away. I'm not heading out there for a day to dog sit.

2) Dusty has a crate that he stays in at night. However, putting him in there for MORE than eight hours isn't a very good idea.

3) As I'm pretty sure I mentioned in the OP - mom and dad have decided not to go, and my question pertains to dogs in general, using Dusty as an example.

However, if you folks would like to continue answering questions that I didn't ask, or offering solutions to problems that don't exist, please do so.

For anyone else - how cold is too cold for a dog to be left out with the aforementioned conditions?
In that case you're in the wrong forum. There is no specific answer to your non-specific question, which I bolded in the above quote.
Maybe MPSIMS?
  #24  
Old 01-15-2005, 01:18 PM
The Flying Dutchman The Flying Dutchman is offline
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Canadian dopers, unless you're talking 40 below zero, please do us all a favour and specify which temperature scale you're reporting.
  #25  
Old 01-15-2005, 01:27 PM
alice_in_wonderland alice_in_wonderland is offline
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Originally Posted by grienspace
Canadian dopers, unless you're talking 40 below zero, please do us all a favour and specify which temperature scale you're reporting.
When it hits -40, the scales are equal, hence there is no need to specify.

Mods, please close this thread, if you would be so kind. Nobody seems to want to actually answer the question and instead are discussing ways to leave dogs home alone, which has nothing to do with what I was asking.

Cheers.
  #26  
Old 01-15-2005, 01:36 PM
Ike Witt Ike Witt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alice_in_wonderland
When it hits -40, the scales are equal, hence there is no need to specify.
But only at -40o are they equal.
  #27  
Old 01-15-2005, 01:44 PM
mangeorge mangeorge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alice_in_wonderland
When it hits -40, the scales are equal, hence there is no need to specify.

Mods, please close this thread, if you would be so kind. Nobody seems to want to actually answer the question and instead are discussing ways to leave dogs home alone, which has nothing to do with what I was asking.

Cheers.
Sled dogs, -60 or colder C or F, I guess.
Minuature hairless chihuahuas, oh about +80F or so. Surely no colder.
Hope that helps.
  #28  
Old 01-15-2005, 01:44 PM
bibliophage bibliophage is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alice_in_wonderland
Mods, please close this thread, if you would be so kind.
Done.
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