Friday, January 21, 2011

How to KILL the winter CHILL

This has been a long time coming, but here we go!

Today it is -7 degrees outside w/a -22 degree wind chill.  Lots of fun, and it has inspired me to sit down and actually write this thing ;)    It's about this time of year when the winters in the midwest seem like they are never going to end.  Everyone is depressed and wanting to escape to a nice sunny spot (we're cruising in a little over 2 weeks!!).  But, it's like this every year, so we've learned to adapt (sort of) and deal with what we've been given.  Dog owners have the especially fun task of figuring out how to get their dog enough exercise w/o freezing to death.  This is my third winter with Gibson, so I thought I'd share what I've learned with you...

I don't like the cold, but I LOVE the snows!!

Embrace the sun

This is the complete opposite of my number one rule for the summer.  Instead of avoiding the sun at all costs, embrace it.  Only go outside when it is light outside if possible.  I know that this is hard, since there is a point in the year when it is only light out from 7:30-4pm, but if you could walk your dog a little bit later in the morning or a little bit earlier in the evening, it can make a big difference temperature wise!

Know your limits
The first few years of owning Gibson, I would try to walk Gibson no matter how cold it was outside.  But that would result in my bundling up for 10 minutes, finally getting outside, and then having Gibson roll over into the fetal position because he was so cold.  Now, I have learned that if the WINDCHILL is below zero, that it is too cold for Gibson.

Pick me up, mommy! I'm tooo coooold!

Bundle Up!
This goes for you AND your dog.   You've all seen my winter wardrobe...

I also always wear a pair of wind breaker pants over whatever pants I am wearing and a hat and a scarf.  The scarf is crucial.  It can make a 10 degree walk feel like a 30 degree walk.  I just wrap it around my face and my breath heats the whole thing up.  I couldn't live without it.

For Gibson, I throw a coat on him when it is below 8 degrees.
I look stoops moms...

I'm not sure if it does anything, but it makes me feel better about him being out in the cold.  Plus I think he looks pretty darn cute :)  This is the coat I bought for Gibson:

 It was cheap and works pretty well for his body type!

Protect those paws!
Jenna Z said...

We wouldn't be able to walk anywhere but the backyard without Musher's Secret paw wax. It protects dog feet from the ice and most importantly in the city, from the corrosive salt! Sully starts goose stepping and will just STOP walking if there is salt getting into his pads.
I totally agree with Jenna!!  Using a wax like Musher's Secret really helps. It's like invisible booties that never fall off :)

In addition to this,  I always make sure to be aware whenever Gibson shows any sign that his feet are cold or he stepped on salt.  The first sign of a limp, I stop, pick him up and rub his paws/run my fingers through his toes to get any snow or salt out from in-between them.  I try to make him stay on the sidewalks if it is too cold (snow is colder than concrete) and pick him up whenever I see salt to avoid this :)

Keep 'em dry
When we get in from walks, I ALWAYS dry Gibson completely off with a towel, concentrating on his feet.  I use a regular old bath towel at the moment, but I SO want to get one of these adorable towels that Lisa Marie told me about:

How cute is that???? I also cut back his baths during the winter to once a month or less.  It makes for a stinky dog, but at least he doesn't have be a cold, wet dog that often! Of course when you do give them a bath, make sure to dry them off as much as possible.. and snugggggle with them to warm them up :)

Exercise Indoors
Chelsea and Wilson said...
We do a lot of running in the house, like insane running. I chase him, he chases me, sometimes a few object like to fall off tables etc. It surprising how much navigating a house and running at full speed tires one self and ones dog.

Us, too, Chelsea!

This is, of course, the most important thing for dogs in the winter.  Dogs need exercise or else they get really obnoxious.  Sad, but true.  We do a lot of "chase", "tug-of-war" and "fetch/catch" inside the house.  In fact, this morning we played all three instead of freezing to death on a walk outside.  Here is Gibson and I playing "fetch", which really is more like a game of "catch"...

Don't mind the booger not knowing how to bring the ball back... ;)

Get creative!
Chelsea and Wilson (they had good ideas) said...
Outside walks have become limited to when its not windy and really cold out, but indoor walkies at petstores have increased. So have the amount of dog toys and treats. Straaaannnge. New toys also helps beat down the boring winter blues.
Isn't that a good idea?!

Not only is exercise important, dogs also need some brain stimulation!  We've been working on our Rally Obedience lately indoors (and then I break it out randomly on walks).   It's something different to do and Gibson likes it because he always gets a treat at the end.  Basically, we work on him walking in the 'heel' position and then work on sit, down and stay while walking in circles..  That's not a great way to explain it..but that's all I got lol.

If Rally isn't your thing, you can always get creative like this...

Or Gibson will just entertain himself, like this:

When all else fails, snuggle
Rachel said...
To beat the cold, Bender and I lie on the couch together and share a blanket. I love my wintertime corgi cuddles.

 So true!  If there is one good thing about Winter, it's that Gibson will actually want to cuddle with us! When it is hot, he wants nothing to do with us, but now he'll cuddle on the couch with us all the time. He especially loves to lay on my lap with his head between my knees :)  We even used Gibson as our space heater when our boiler died last year!
Cuddle Time

So there you have it.  My tips to survive the cold weather with your pup!   Do you do any of these things?  Do you have any other tips to share?? Let's hear it! :)


Paige said...

Hahaha that video cracked me up! Dexter brings his toys back, but he won't drop them. And if he does and you reach for it, he grabs it and runs. He's kind of a jerk :)

Anonymous said...

Remember when Molly used to get those ice balls in her feet? She literally could not stand up when she came in and stepped on the kitchen floor.

Laurie said...

Great tips!!

This made me crack up: "I look stoops moms..." Hahaha. Love when you write Gibson's thoughts.

I need one of those adorable blankets for Sadie too!!

Lori @ According to Gus said...

We love playing hide and seek. M and I take turns hiding and Gus runs around like a mad man trying to find us. I think we enjoy it as much as Gus :)

Winter is the only time Gus likes to cuddle too, so we don't mind when the temperature drops!

Whosyergurl said...

Cute post, cute pics.
love, Chelsea (who is on the back of the sofa looking outside, but happy to be inside and warm) (EIGHT degrees here in Bloomington!) and Cheryl

Karen and Bailey said...

haha good ideas. gibson looks so cute in clothing. you should dress him up more often ;)

Anonymous said...

Wow, my corgi girl can lay outside in the back yard for HOURS even in single digit temps and snow! She has a very thick undercoat! But the wind . . . yeah, she doesn't like that. My friend (w/ her two dogs) and I (w/ my corgi and Boston) don't walk if the wind chill or temp are under 10 degrees. Since we usually go 3 miles, it gets too cold for all of us! And when it is too cold, or too dark, my 5th-grade daughter plays tag and keep-away with the girls from one end of our long ranch house to the other - wears them ALL out :-)! (No hate mail on the backyard thing - I check on her every 15 - 20 minutes and invite her to come back in, so she DOES have a choice.)

DIRR said...

This is one of the most cutest and informative posts! Thanks so much for sharing.

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