The Outdoor Life
Housing sled dogs outdoors has always been an “industry norm” among mushers and we believe it to be a very acceptable method only if the dogs are under 24/7 supervision and care. We do not believe that housing dogs outdoors without constant supervision is humane in the event a dog requires attention and no one is there to provide it. Given that we are with our dogs all day every day, we are easily able to ensure they are always comfortable and content. Overnight, we can hear if any dog should ever be in distress and can quickly access the kennel if needed.
Southern Alberta is home to a very comfortable climate for our sled dog pack. The average summertime temperatures are between +15C to +20C and average wintertime temperatures are between -5C to -10C. Alberta’s dry climate means we never have issues with humidity which means we do not experience much in terms of insects and parasites. Despite this, we treat our dogs for fleas, lice, ticks and other pests as well as de-worm against whipworm, roundworm, hookworm, tapeworm and heartworm.
Extreme Temperature Consideration:
During extreme temperatures and weather, we take all appropriate steps to ensure our pack is not put at risk. We watch the weather closely to ensure that we are ready and prepare the dogs for inclement weather before it arrives. This includes using sprinklers to cool down the kennel and dogs during hot spells, adding insulation to their houses during cold snaps or using insect repellents should there ever be a breakout of harmful insects. Learn more about our Nutrition/Hydration program and our pack’s Housing throughout Alberta’s ever changing weather!
Huskies are well equipped to be outdoors:
Did you know that huskies have a double layered coat that insulates, cools AND protects against insects and parasites? Traditional sled dog’s coats are designed to capture air and use it as an insulator. In the winter, this keeps the cold out and holds the heat in. During the summer, this system holds the heat at bay and helps regulate body temperature. Without this insulating layer of fur, a dog is more susceptible to heat stroke. The undercoat hairs are short and crimped and have a hollow core, which makes them highly efficient at trapping air and insulating their body allowing them to withstand temperatures as low as −50 to −60 °C (−58 to −76 °F). The guard hairs on the top, which do not shed out, also provide protection against the sun’s rays and moisture.
It is a common misconception that the thicker the coat, the hotter the dog will become in warmer temperatures. However, a dog’s evaporative cooling is limited to a very small area—the footpads, which sweat, their tongue, which seats and the lungs, where panting allows for latent heat to be removed through evaporation. Dilated (enlarged, expanded) blood vessels in dogs’ ears and on their faces carry warm blood closer to the surface of the skin, allowing heat to escape.
For a husky to maintain a fully functional and healthy coat, they need to experience regular seasonal temperatures. When living indoors, the average home is around 19C making it difficult for a husky to maintain a properly functioning coat since warming temperatures are what trigger a husky to shed their insulated layer. Without that insulated layer, the dog does not have the proper protection from the cold. As we say, you can’t wear a spring jacket in -20C!