dogs and snow

Snowshoeing with Dogs

When we go snowshoeing we have the usuals we pack with us: compass, first aid kit, emergency kit (including matches, hand-warmers, emergency blankets), flashlight, snacks, extra gloves/hats etc. Read this post I wrote about snowshoeing safely: Snowshoeing Safety Tips.

Now that we have Bella we bring extra stuff for her. She has a little pack that she wears when we hike that carries her “gear.” It’s not heavy and she doesn’t mind the pack. In her pack are poo bags, her collapsible water dish, her booties, and extra snacks.

We recently went snowshoeing and decided to leave Bella at home. While we had the gear and stuff for her, it was just a better idea. Sure it would be nice to have her with us whenever we go out and play in the snow, but sometimes the temperature is just too severe (and 15 degrees was definitely too cold for her!). The thing is, it makes a difference what kind of dog you have. You got a big fluffy husky or a dog with lots of hair? They would probably be okay in snow and low temperatures like that. But our Miss Bella has very short hair and a bare belly so not a good plan for her. So after you make the decision on temperatures and your own dog, go ahead and read some of these tips:

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Check for signs of hypothermia.

This was something I didn’t know a lot about before we got a dog. When we take her hiking, I keep an eye on her for changes in behavior due to weather. When we hike in the summer we make sure she gets a ton of water and plenty of rest in the shade when it’s hot. There have been times when she was panting a LOT and I was concerned she was overheating. We’re still figuring things out. Hypothermia is scary because it can happen so fast.

“Puppies and elderly dogs are especially susceptible; watch for shivering, slowed breathing or dilated pupils, signs of a dangerous drop in body temperature. We pack plenty of snacks and water, and examine our Labs’ paws frequently for the ice and snow that can clump between pads.  (source)”

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Check the paws frequently.

Snow and ice can get stuck between the pads and chafe, cut, freeze or cause loss of traction. Bella has a history of paw injuries so we are super diligent about checking her paws on a regular basis and taking steps to make sure they are protected. Some of the things I’ve used are the following products:

Musher’s Secret – It’s similar to vaseline in consistency. We tried this for a little bit snowshoeing but I realized it came off too easily and we switched to her booties (which was a good decision).

Eqyss Mega Tek Coat Rebuilder — This is what I use on Bella’s paws when they are starting to feel rough. I used this after our snowshoeing trip and after every hike for a few days afterward to protect and build her paws back up.

Ultra Paws Rugged Dog Boot — These boots are AMAZING. They have helped Bella so much with her paw issues! I would never snowshoe without these. They are a must. 

It’s a good idea to stick to trails that are compacted and not super deep. Having booties will do nothing if the dog sinks down into deep snow.

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Bring plenty of snacks for the dog.

Bella got some treats for Christmas so I packed them along with us and we stopped a lot for treats. I knew she’d be burning a lot of calories and energy playing in the snow and I wanted to make sure she was okay. It’s a good idea to pack a “survival” kit for your dog when going hiking or snowshoeing.

Bring enough water for you AND the dog.

Get a collapsible water bowl. It’s great! It’s easy to pack in her pack, or ours, and we stop a lot for her to have water breaks. She’s pretty intuitive and knows when she needs water and when she’s done drinking. So make sure to pack enough water for you AND your dog. And stop frequently for water and snack breaks.

Bring a small, waterproof blanket/towel for the dog to sit/rest on.

This is something I didn’t even think about until I read some articles online. It makes sense. When stopping for a break, it’s a good idea to have one so the dog doesn’t have to sit in the snow and they get a break that isn’t freezing cold. DUH. I’d tell her to sit and she looked so miserable. I get it Bella, sorry!! Parent fail.

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Stay on trail.

This is something I just do anyways. Dog or no, I am not into back-country snowshoeing or hiking off trail. It’s just not a good idea. Unless you are a seasoned hiker with maps and GPS and survival skills, it’s a bad idea and you’ll most likely end up on the news. 😛 So be smart, stay on the trail and keep your dog safe by doing this too!

In the same vein….Keep dog on the leash. You never know what dangers are out there. Other animals, wild animals, cliffs, lakes partially iced over, snow banks, TREE WELLS!!–a million dangers are out there. It’s just wise to keep the dog on the leash at all times while hiking/snowshoeing.

What are some of your go-to tips you have regarding hiking/snowshoeing with your dogs?

A Forced Break

It’s not secret that I’ve been feeling a bit burned out, tired of my job, disappointed in missed opportunities, and my manager (who is awesome, love him!) is fully aware that I’m looking for something else within the company. He understands and supports it and has wished me good luck with every interview I’ve had thus far. But this feeling of dissatisfaction, constant to-do lists that never get resolved, stress and fatigue at work has been making me feel lethargic. I don’t like feeling this negative about my job and wish I could get out of this funk!

The forced break for a few days has most definitely helped me out of this funk, even if it’s temporary. I’m sure you can all relate–stressful, exhausting work weeks lead to weekends packed with chores, errands, wedding planning details, etc etc…I never had down time. It’s rare that I have an evening off just to myself and I can’t remember the  last time I didn’t have at least four things planned on a weekend. Mother Nature stepped in and said “REST. STOP WITH THE SCHEDULE.” And She piled on about 6 inches of snow to force her point! I get it!

Friday was a snow day from work and I got a lot of stuff done, then Michael and I binge-watched part of season 2 of The Shield (totally late to the party, but wow, what a great show!). It was nice just laying around in my pajamas, cuddling with Bella (who was exhausted from all her playtime in the snow) and just relaxing.

Friday evening the snow was coming down steadily. It looked so beautiful as it fell. I had the urge to bake something but didn’t think baked treats would be a good idea when we were trapped in the house for four days. Baked goods + cabin fever + boredom = recipe for failure. I decided to make some comfort food for dinner instead.

Tater Tot Casserole

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Servings: 6 servings

From: http://www.food.com/recipe/tater-tot-casserole-421306

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 10 1/2 ounces Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 12 ounces frozen corn
  • 15 ounces southern style hash browns (Ore-Ida)
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and spray a 9" x 13" glass or corningware casserole with pan spray.
  2. Saute beef and onions until the beef is browned and the onions are softened. Remove from heat. Stir in the soup, salt, and pepper; spread mixture evenly in the bottom of the casserole dish.
  3. Next spread a layer of frozen corn and finally hash browns on top. Bake until heated through and the hash browns are slightly crisp.

Nutrition Facts

Tater Tot Casserole

Serves

Amount Per Serving
Calories 421
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0
Saturated Fat 0
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 0
Sodium 0
Total Carbohydrate 0
Dietary Fiber 0
Sugars
Protein
Vitamin A Vitamin C
Calcium Iron

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

http://www.110pounds.com/?p=41753

I used the recipe as a jumping off point really. I saw a few recipes that I liked but didn’t like something from each of them, so I kind of made my own. I didn’t have cream of mushroom soup so I used condensed cheddar soup. I used a small can of corn, about 1 cup of frozen peas, and 2 cups of the hash browns. With my alterations the calories came out to 337 calories as opposed to the 450+ the other recipe said.

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The dinner turned out to be really delicious. It was hearty, filling, homey; we both thought it was tasty and hit the spot on the cold night. It may not look pretty but it tasted good, that’s all that counts. I guess I’d describe it as kind of a white trash casserole/hamburger helper creation.

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On Saturday I got to SLEEP IN. Don’t get me wrong, I am loving the Warrior Room workouts and I’m happy that I’m fitting in yoga once a week…but the Saturday kettle bell class is at 9am (which means I’m up by 8am) and yoga is at 10am on Sundays (so up by 9am) and I haven’t had a chance to sleep in late on the weekends in months. I miss it. I miss not having a structured time that was forcing my schedule. Weekends were the only time I got to languish in bed–even if it was just for a little bit! Thank you snow, once again, for giving me a little bit of that pleasure.. 🙂

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It was another at-home workout since it snowed a few more inches over the night. I did an ab workout on the Nike Training Club app and also did a short spin workout on the bike trainer. I haven’t been on my bike since October. While I’m happy that I have options at home to still get my workout in, after a second at-home workout I’m ready to get back to the gym.

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After lunch (the tater tot casserole was just as great as leftovers), Michael and I took Bella outside to play in the snow. We walked over to the school near the house and there were tons of kids out! Even more than on Friday. There were kids snowboarding, sledding, inner-tubing; dogs running around chasing each other, everyone was out!

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It was so cool to watch them.  If you follow me on Instagram, I posted a few short videos of Bella spazzing out in the snow. 🙂

On Sunday I did some home yoga. I actually like doing yoga at home over the gym. I can do it at the pace that I like it. I know that the point of most yoga is to slow down and relax but for me it’s more about the stretching and doing it a snail’s pace makes me crazy. So I just did it on my own in the living room.

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It was a good break being snowed in all weekend long but I tell ya, by Sunday afternoon I was starting to go stir crazy and was ready to get out of the house and (gasp) and actually go back to work!