How does one survive an Arctic blast with their dog? We do it every year around here in the land of
10,000 lakes hockey rinks. After a five day heat wave, we are back at -11 this morning. I wanted to share some of our thoughts and tips for staying safe with you.
Starting on Christmas morning we went below zero, and for almost two weeks, we had below zero temperatures every morning and many days never warming up to above zero. Some of coldest days were over New Year’s weekend.
How to survive an Arctic Blast?
Check your mindset!
Mom grew up in this winter paradise, living with subzero winters most of her life. Lately, she has realized the media really makes a big deal about the cold, actually instilling fear into people. A little fear is fine, but they go overboard. Our mindset is: we are here, we want to go outside, we will take the appropriate precautions, and there is no reason not to go outside. Sometimes Mom says after listening to the weather, she almost becomes scared, but then remembers she has been going out in this stuff her entire life. Make up your mind to go out, and do it!
Know your dog!
What kind of dog do you have? Does your dog spend a lot of time outdoors? Some dogs are just not made to be out in the cold, that is a fact. Some might need a coat. Many breeds are supposed to be out in the cold. Very young, or older dogs may not adapt as well to the cold either. I have always had sensitive paws, and Mom knows that. GBGV’s have nice fur coats to keep us warm. We spend a lot of time outdoors, giving our furry bodies time to acclimate to the changes in temperature. Humans are the same. In the fall when it is fifty degrees Mom freezes, but now at plus five, she unzips her coat. Some people adjust to cold better than others too.
Wear the proper gear!
If your dog wasn’t blessed with a good natural coat for winter, make sure and purchase one that fits correctly, and is right for your dog. The only gear we use are PAWZ boots when the temperature is double digits below zero. Something happens to the ground, and snow at those temps, and we get what Mom calls, “paw freeze.” The PAWZ are easy to put on, we don’t mind wearing them. With PAWZ, we can be out longer without any paw pain.
Mom now has IceBug shoes with carbide tip studs on the bottom. Since there is often a lot of slippery snow and ice with the cold, she never wants to fall and break a bone again. Right now the boots she wants are sold out in her size, but these shoes are warm enough. It takes time to get all fourteen shoes (4/dog, 2/human) on before we walk, but it is worth it!
Monitor the time!
The first couple of real cold days our walks are about ten minutes, but now after over a week of below zero temps, we are walking twenty to thirty minutes at a crack. Bailie and Madison play out in the yard for about ten minutes at a time, on and off, all day long. Our time outdoors does need to be monitored to make sure we are not out too long. Dogs can get frost bite too. My sisters stay out longer because they run around like fools. As you can see in my video, I take my time wandering around and usually come back in after about five minutes.
Being out in the crispy, cold air is exhilarating, and fun if you are prepared for it! Now with the Arctic Blast returning as of today, temperatures in the teens the middle of next week will feel like summer…another bonus to surviving the cold weather!