Canada,  Pets

Our dogs in the Canadian winters

I have received some questions about how to take care of our furry kids in the Canadian winter, especially on the colder days and the snowy days, so behold, this post comes to tell a little of our experience with our dogs in the cold weather here in Ontario, Canada.

Dexter and Eddie were born in Canada, so they’ve known the cold their whole lives so far, but of course, since they are small in size, they are more susceptible to low temperatures.

In general, even if it is a really cold day, life goes on, just as for people.

But I can tell you, they kind of hibernate during the winter months. They basically spend almost all their days sleeping (it’s amazing!).

Backyard fun!
Can I come in now?!

On colder days, around -25 degrees or below, typically it doesn’t snow.

Many of these days, the sky is blue and the sun shines.

It’s been super cold for almost a month here in Ottawa, with the wind chill coming close to -40 degrees Celsius, for a few days.

The arctic wind blows and it is impossible to be outside for more than a short few minutes. This week has improved a little, we are feeling -16oC.

We let them go out in the courtyard about 2 or 3 times a day in these temperatures and with a training suit that cover their entire backs.

They surely feel the cold, there are times when in 30 seconds they were back asking to come in.

In their specific case, what suffers the most are the paws, which begin to freeze, just like when we do not wear gloves or wear thin ones outside.

Some of the colder days, I used their rubber booties on them, to minimize a little contact with the ice and so, they “last” a little longer out there and give time to do their business and such.

There are several options of comfy clothes and boots for dogs (and cats), but after some tests with booties, these rubbers we use are the ones that stayed on the paws longer, even with them running through the snow.

Some other options in the stores, cute and expensive ones are lined, human style, but did not last even 1 minute for them.

You find the ones I use in several stores around here, such as Walmart and Petsmart.

On snowy days, the temperature is usually not so low and then they have more fun. They run, stick their faces in the snow and spend more time outside in the yard.

You think he was complaining? Not one bit! He was loving running through the yeard and of course, it was like this, camouflaged!
Their best “trek suit” to go outside on a cold day…

In the days of temperatures close to 0 degree, is when I do not find as nice to leave the dogs outside.

You imagine the drill: at this temperature, the snow is about to melt and therefore super humid, sticking to their hair. They don’t care, of course, but they all come back wet and with ice/snow stuck all over their bodies.

For these and other days, we always leave a towel near the back door, to dry and unstick some of the snowballs around their bodies.

There have been times that even this did not solve it and a hot bath was the only solution. The booties I mentioned before, on days like this, make little to no difference.

Pawz’s clothes and booties, ready to face the cold… a few minutes out there on the freezing days…
The booties look like a deflated ballon…
Dexter coming back from his morning outing 

There are also people who do not have the backyard fenced in or prefer to take their pets for a walk around the neighborhood on the street/sidewalk.

Even with -30 degrees or colder, we see people walking with pets on the street (usually larger dogs), but probably for short periods of time.

Our backyard is all fenced and safe for them to wander without closer supervision, but of course, it gets many inches of snow and they can not always get out without us opening a “path” after a blizzard, for example.

We usually open a space or trails, like the one in the photo, so they can circulate.

And then of course, the fireplace is a certain the best next thing, or of course, rolled up in the blanket of the couch to keep warm…

Nothing like warming the fur in the warmth of a fireplace…

Life as a dog is good! LOL