Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dog Gear: Cold Weather Dog Gear

Dramatic Miss M is Always Over-Prepared
Since we have so much fun doing things like this, I have become one of those people trying to hold on to summer and living in disbelief that it it nearly winter. While it's practically November I am the one still wearing my pink skirts, sans tights, and dutifully watering our slowly wilting geraniums.
The onset of winter always catches me by surprise, especially that first winter when I adopted Miss M.
It seems like many of you are much more forward thinking, and since we have made it through 7 winters, and one Blizzaster, with dogs here are some of our recommendations:

Dog Coats
Like many urban teens, our pups layer hoodies under their puffy coats
I never knew how cold our pups would get and how difficult it would be to actually find something to fit our large-chested dog. Our first winter, Miss M refused to go outside once temperatures dipped below 50 degrees. I picked up the first cheap dog coat that I could find, which was so ill-fitting it wouldn't button up the front and she was busting out. She spent the winter looking like a Saturday Night Fever extra.
That next winter we invested in a Ruffwear Canine Overcoat which has lasted the pups for the past 5 years. I was initially unsure because the coats were so pricey, but then I realized that I had actually spent more money replacing cheap dog coats than buying a good coat in the first place.
These coats are especially designed for active dogs so we would recommend them for dogs who will be outside running and playing while wearing the coats. We were able to try out both the newly designed K9 Overcoat and the Quinzee. You can read our review of each coat, here. 
Last winter we tried out RC Pet Products Skyline Puffy Vest. These are less expensive than the Ruffwear coats and more of a fashion coat; they are reversible so it's like getting two coats in one. These coats use velcro instead of buckles, so they won't be as long-lasting and they aren't as durable for active pups. They fit Mr. B perfectly, thought they were a bit long on Miss M. They worked well for our daily winter walks and we preferred the colors and how they photographed well. You can read more about these coats, and see how our pups wore them 5 different ways, by clicking here. 

Dog Boots
The first time Miss M ever saw snow she looked at me like I was playing a bad joke on her. She spent the entire walk prancing around like a 3-legged dog. Anticipating an entire winter where I might have to carry my 65+ lb dog on my walk,  I ran down to the pet store to figure out what to do and in my desperation I spent $60 on dog boots. We lost one of the boots on the very first walk.
Since then, we have tried several types of dog boots and our favorites have been the least expensive: PAWs Disposable Reusable Boots. We have also realized that it's hard for dogs just to wear boots out for the first time and we had to do indoor training. We wrote more about wearing snow boots for icy sidewalks, here. 

With all of the people out walking in the city, nearly any sidewalk that doesn't get shoveled immediately gets packed down and turns into a pure sheet of ice. After E fell on the ice when walking the pups and I became a 'sled master' trying to handle two 65+ pound dogs running down icy sidewalks we did some research and we decided to buy crampons. But, by the time we figured everything out, they were all sold out. We highly, highly recommend buying crampons for anyone who is out walking pups during an icy winter. Now I am more of a water glider than a sled master.
We wrote a bit more about our crampon choice here. 

What other advice do you have as we all prepare for winter?

How to winterize your dog and Elderbull 
Finding sweaters and hoodies for large-chested dogs
How long it takes.

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Heatherkay said...

Yak Traks are indispensible for walking on packed snow.

Anonymous said...

I might look into those jackets. Jake is IMPOSSIBLE to get a jacket for. His chest is so deep but his body is tiny. He can literally wear a Large for chest and a small for length. UGH!

Anonymous said...

I went back and watched the video of them walking in their boots. Hysterical! They are so stinkin' cute!

Mayzie said...

Oh, yes! My mom luuuuuuvs her crampons, too! And I have quite a few coats and sweaters but they're not very heavy. I think I might needs something a little warmer so my brindle furs don't freeze. Thank you!

Wiggles & Wags,

Annie & Pauls Mom said...

Oh gosh! Atleast you were the sled master. I was the sled one time!

Two French Bulldogs said...

You guys are the best dressed winter dogs I have ever seen

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