When It's Too Cold To Take Out Your Dog

Posted by Janet Gurtler on

Dog looking out the window at the cold

Welcome to Hell. I mean February 2021 in Calgary. I mean Pandemic living, trying to cope, dealing with it mainly by getting in daily long walks with my dog Betty White but can't even stay outside long or we will DIE, cold February.

Hello Cold Snap. Like REAL cold snap. 

Like not a day, but almost two weeks of temperatures that can literally kill us.


I still take Betty out for short walks, I’m not a monster. (no offense to those who can’t hack the cold, but Betty is so conditioned to her daily walk, I don’t know what she’d do to our house and my sanity if she didn’t get out for a least a little romp) We manage.

I put on two pairs of fleece pants and double up my scarf game and cover my head and wear warm mitts and my winter coat and my dog walking boots with cleats strapped on. None of it matches and I don't care. Off we go.

The last couple of days it’s been -40ish with wind chills. I swear and curse and tell her over and over how cold it is as I urge her to run quickly and chase two balls I throw frantically to try to burn off as much energy as I can in as short a time as possible. Because it’s freaking cold.

ThatLady and her dog Betty White getting ready to go for a walk in the cold

 My personal belief about my Golden Retriever is that we are both much happier when she is properly exercised. I definitely benefit from our daily 5km walk, especially during this pandemic we can't run away from. Betty probably gets in almost double my distance with her running and fetching and playing. I think it’s important that she run around off leash to burn off her energy in a fun way. We go to a lot of dog parks, and we love to romp together in the forest.  

She loves to run and chase and fetch and run and chase and fetch. I enjoy doing it with her. She is joyful and happy and truly fun to be around when we are out on our daily romp.(Except when she’s being an asshole, but that’s a story told on for another day.)

(Our little Chihuahua Bruce, on the other hand is fine if anyone was wondering. He is a fair weather dog on a good day. He loves a good romp in warm weather, but this dog does not even go outside to use relieve himself. Nope. He's litter box trained, and he ain't going out into this weather for Nobody.)

Betty on the other hand.

Betty staring at camera

For the first time a couple days ago, Betty actually started to vibrate when we got close to the dog play area of our choice during extremely cold weather. (It involves driving to the area, with seat heaters on for both of us.)

She's pretty chill in the car and doesn't freak out when her leash comes out at home. I actually thought something was wrong with her the way she was shaking, but she was just that physically wound up.

So, we go out and she runs around for as long as I can bear, and I can tell she wants to keep playing and she feels ripped off and sad that our romps are so drastically cut in time. But her paws get so cold. She gets ice chunks in them that we have to melt out with my bare hands. I don’t want her to get frostbite or sick or hurt from the cold either. So I feel bad for her that she's not getting her exercise fix, and worried that I might hurt her if she stays out too long. 

I did buy her some dog booties, but she was having none of that. She's a weirdo about some things. She is terrified of bags of all kinds and these boots were kind of like bags and she couldn’t handle them. I wasn’t convinced that they would stay on the way she runs around either. We tried but couldn’t even get even one on a paw properly without her freaking out. So they're getting returned. 

Instead, we wait until later in the day when the weather is as warm as possible. Like -25 being so much warmer than -33, right? We drive to a romp area and it's a short go. 

At home, she is not interested in bones of any sort anymore. Her chewing instinct is mostly gone. She loved bully sticks and all sorts of chews when she was a puppy, but she won’t even be bothered to take one now. 

I wish I was one of those people who enjoyed playing puzzle games with my dog. I don’t .I’ll play the occasional tug of war or throw the squeaky chicken around the house (and listen to my husband complain about how she’s scratching the hard wood floor) for a stretch of time. But doing this all day is not an option for anyone’s sanity.

Betty Dog Being Sad

And so she lays around, sighing loudly and groaning with boredom, and being just so disappointed in me for not playing with her more. She sits at the door to go outside, but in the last couple of days, not even she can stay outside for long.

When it comes to this freaking cold snap, I just feel bad for her. I love taking her for a long romp and we both miss it. She seems a little depressed. She is hyper in the morning and hyper in the evening. I don’t think she can take much more of being cooped up.  I’ve made her some fun filled Kongs, but that only lasts half an hour max.

I keep promising her the cold snap will end, but she still has four more days stretching ahead of her. The doggy daycare she used to go to, (pre-Covid) is full. Indoor Off leash parks are fully booked. Everyone is in the same igloo.

This cold snap is kind of like a pandemic for big dogs who need to romp. And they must hate it as much as the humans do.

What are you doing to keep your energetic dog from chewing apart your walls and furniture???

 That Lady




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