View Full Version : Long Haired Dogs in Snow?
Rusty and the Maniac
12-21-2005, 11:22 AM
I've got a golden retriever that gets big clumps of ice and snow all over him when we go out in the snow. This is his first winter, and it's really becoming a problem. I got some suggestions on another post, but I thought that I'd throw this one out to the larger community and see if anyone else has suggestions/ experience for this problem. The poor guy gets totally covered in ice, not just his paws, and then tries to chew it off of himself and falls over when he loses his balance... It's quite comical, but I feel sorry for him.
Any help would be appreciated, a very cute puppy would thank you a lot. :D
Rusty and the Maniac
12-21-2005, 11:30 AM
Yeah, my older dog never has that problem either, so this came kind of unexpected.
12-21-2005, 08:41 PM
The boots help alot, but the body clumps on my golden cannot be avoided in winter. The clumps that formed inbetween his toes were the worst. That stopped forward progress in winter.
12-22-2005, 06:05 PM
Try Mushers Secret (http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?pcatid=10119&Ntt=mushers%20secret&Ntk=All&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&Np=1&pc=1&N=0&Nty=1). It lessened the snow ball problem on my poodles paws. Plus, any snowballs that do form are easier to get off. I usually apply it about haly way up his legs.
Rusty and the Maniac
12-22-2005, 09:09 PM
Thanks, that wax looks good for his legs, now for the rest of him I guess I'll just shave him like a poodle. Or maybe a buzz cut... With a mohawk :bang:
12-22-2005, 11:15 PM
Last Sunday on Lyon I put boots on my golden, but again they kind of froze up. I don't think I put enouth Vet wrap around the cuffs since the vet wrap slipped off, i should have used more.
However, the night before I trimmed as much hair from his paws as I could. Before the hike I put the wax under his paws too. He went bootless for the last hour and a half and didn't have any problems. Normally he'll get clumps within minutes.
As for the snow on him, I can't solve that either. Not sure if they feel the cold or not... I think their fur keeps them well insulated just like when they swim in colder water, but I could be wrong.
Happy trails. Hiking with dogs is great!
12-23-2005, 08:50 AM
Rusty - how old is your Golden? I'm thinking <1 year, since you said this is his first winter.
If so, don't give up. A Golden won't have a full adult coat until maybe their 2nd or 3d winter. An immature long haired double coat, such as they'd have at about 1, can be very sticky for snow. As for snow on the coat making the dog cold - consider how well their coat insulates. It's enough that their body temperature isn't melting the snow! Seriously, if the inner coat remains dry, and the snow isn't melting in the outer coat, the dog is likely to be fine.
Spaddock - to keep booties on, someone advised me to do a couple of wraps of vetrap around the leg about 1" below the top of the bootie. Put the bootie on, then apply a couple of wraps of duct tape to secure the bootie to the vetrap. Works pretty well. I've tried suspenders too, not very helpful in more than a few inches of snow.
Snow in paws:
Haven't tried any of the paw waxes yet.
Some people advocate clipping fur from the paws. I've tried various methods over the years, with no noticeable benefit.
A Collie breeder once advised me to spray dog paws with a cooking oil (like Pam) before heading out. It seemed to help a little, but not for long.
Booties are a sure preventive.
Personally, I keep checking the feet frequently, and remove ice/snow balls if they exist.
12-23-2005, 09:01 AM
If so, don't give up. A Golden won't have a full adult coat until maybe their 2nd or 3d winter.
I had a feeling mine wasn't shedding enough hair yet... :(
Rusty and the Maniac
12-23-2005, 08:04 PM
The pup is only nine months old, so hopefully he'll get his big boy coat for next winter. I'm gonna try the wax, and I'm also gonna get him a pair of boots. As far as the ice on his fur, I guess it's just something that he'll have to get used to as a side effect of having me for an owner, cause he loves being out. I think this winter I'll limit him to shorter hikes, because he's a skinny little guy. Pretty soon I'll have links to pictures that'll show off my walking snowball! Thanks again! :D
12-24-2005, 12:10 AM
For a Golden, I'd guess he'll have his true winter adult coat for winter after next, though he should be less "sticky" next winter. Something about the puppy fluff attracts snow - must be to make them look all the cuter!
Limiting a 9 month old dog to shorter hikes is definitely a good idea.
Although smaller dogs tend to mature more quickly, most sizes of dogs are not yet physically mature at 9 months of age. Especially for the large and giant pooches, there's still a lot of stuff going on orthopedically, despite having reached approximately 2/3 of their adult size. The growth plates probably aren't closed yet, the skeleton isn't quite done developing, muscles haven't matured, proprioception can't quite keep up with their changing/growing bodies...
These are the guidelines I try to follow when bringing along a young hiker dog:
0-6 mos.: no formal exercise. Lots of play, foundation for training. Avoid slippery floors (strains young joints) and jumping off things (too high impact).
6 mos. - 12 mos.: Light exercise, in the 1-5 mile/day range broken into twice daily walks, terrain ranging from easy to medium. The longer the mileage, the easier the terrain. Although some running may occur, regular trail running is to be avoided because it is too high impact.
1-2 yrs: light exercise, up to 10 miles broken into twice daily outings, again, higher mileage requiring easier overall terrain. Running with the dog at a working trot can occur, but no more than 1-2 miles at a time.
2-3 yrs: up to 15 miles over any terrain. Running can begin regularly, no more than 2 miles/day.
3-4 yrs: up to 20 miles over any terrain. Running can be increased to no more than 5 miles daily.
>5: Let the dog set limits - some dogs will happily do +30's, others are naturally couch potatoes.
Although I try to keep terrain easier overall for a younger dog, this is definitely the time to start introducing them to difficult terrain in short stretches. Just like socialization and training, they need to learn what steep slopes are and how to do rocky scrambles. The trick is to keep these difficulties very short and very positive for the dog.
I know, this sounds like a limiting schedule but... for these big dogs, soundness is everything. If you stress them too much at too young an age, they may end up paying for it with decreased mobility as they age. I've had several giant size dogs that I've conditioned to this schedulel. None, thankfully, have been diagnosed with dysplacia, arthritis, or other orthopedic diseases. Who knows - could be due to other factors entirely!
Apologies - stepping off soap box now.
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