CARE AND COMFORT OF THE COLD-WEATHER CAMPING DOG
Posted by Tyler Barnard on September 29, 2014. 0 Comments
Living and playing in the Rocky Mountains and the Ozarks of Missouri, we’ve had our share of camping adventures with Noble the Vizsla. But at the beginning, we didn’t always make the right choices to protect our canine buddy. File that under: wish we’d known then, what we know now.
So for those of you who are looking for a primer on care and comfort of the cold-weather camping dog, here are some bits of Noble’s (hard-earned) wisdom:
Which dogs tolerate cold best?
Short answer: Healthy dogs, with thicker fur and a little protective fat, who are accustomed to vigorous exercise and spending time in the outdoors, do the best in cold conditions.
That said, Noble was a thin-skinned, short-haired, older guy! We just made sure: to monitor him as we traveled to see that he had what he needed to be warm and dry. With the proper nutrition, hydration and protection, most healthy dogs can camp.
(Happy Customer Cyrus in his NobleCamper in 20 degrees. Courtesy of Bob Moulder)
Causes for concern?
Cold can exacerbate arthritis, common in older and athletic dogs. If your dog is on meds and/or supplements, make sure to take them along. And if your buddy has advanced arthritis, you may want to leave him home when the camping conditions will be extreme.
Also, like people, dogs can experience symptoms of exposure – if left out in the cold and elements for too long. Unstable body temperature (shivers / extreme panting), dizziness, upset stomachs –even frostbite are risks to dogs. If any of these symptoms persist, you may have to quit the outing and seek veterinary help.
Some humans find that their dog campers do better in cold conditions with extra gear – for instance, booties and jackets. Take it from us, you don’t want to experiment with these out on the trail and watch your distracted dog decide whether he will – won’t – cooperate for his own good. You’d be better off getting your dog used to them ahead of time so that donning winter-wear becomes part of the routine of (excitedly) preparing to go camping.
Dogs are not so different from people when it comes to tolerance for cold. The best way to camp safely is to provide for them, what you do for yourself: proper food and hydration, avoidance of truly extreme conditions (blizzards and potential eye-damaging high winds) and of course, protection from the elements.
We’re always happy to share our own experiences camping in various conditions – and as you know, they inspired us to design the NobleCamper ultralite sleeping bag & bed for dogs.
Have your own tips or questions? Post them and photos here – or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/noblecamper - and we can compare notes on being Happy Campers.
BoulderLite, of Boulder, CO an e-commerce venture specializing in lightweight active gear for dogs, has launched The NobleCamper Blog, an interactive site for Dog Lovers and Outdoors Enthusiasts to share favorite campsites, trails, health, environmental stewardship & gear tips.