Tuesday, January 21, 2014

City Dogs: How to Prepare Yourself to Walk the Dogs in the Winter (Update!)

It's not that the weather in Chicago is really that much colder than anywhere else, it's just that we have to be out in it more.
So many people need to walk, wait on windy El platforms, or stand at unheated bus stops just to get places. And since most dog owners in the city don't have backyards, we all need to accompany our pups daily on their walks.
We wrote earlier on how we keep our cold-prone pups warm during these walks.
Here's on update on things we do to prepare ourselves to head outside with the pups:

Preparing for Icy Sidewalks:
Both E and I have wiped out on icy sidewalks, and even Miss M did her own interpretation of Bambi with her legs sliding out from under her. While it can be hard enough to navigate icy sidewalks on our own, it can resemble a mini-Iditarod when you're holding a pup or two.
It took us a few years to realize we should really be using Crampons, which have made a huge difference in our not-falling-down percentages. We used Icetrekker Diamond Grip Crampons.
We made an important discovery this year: salt can rust and deteriorate the crampons. When E took was heading out one day he realized his had rusted through and the chains had broken.
Ours lasted about 2 years, but now we're making sure to rinse them off so they won't be ruined by the salt.

Keeping fingers warm:
The worst part of each winter walk is fumbling with the poo bags and needing to expose ungloved fingers just to open the bag.
We prepare by opening up some of the bags while we're still inside (it really does make things that much quicker!).
We also recommend using flip-top gloves so you can still use your fingers without needing to remove your whole glove and possibly leaving it behind. In extreme weather like this I layer mine in bigger mittens.

Preparing Warm Clothes:
Like other Chicagoans outside in these conditions, we dress in puffy coats and tall boots. We like Burton snowboarding jackets which are warm without being bulky, and we've both liked wearing Sorel boots. We picked up some fuzzy Ugg inserts to put in our boots so we can go out quickly without needing to find socks. And we save time by having our scarves, hats, and gloves in a single place by the door.

These are some things that have worked for us.
What are some other ways you keep yourselves warm when out walking your pups?

This helps us remember to bring everything
Dogs in Boots!
What we always try to tell ourselves
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Heatherkay said...

Silk sock liners and glove/mitten liners are also awesome. For me, I've found that the best place to get this kind of gear is a store that caters more to hunters, like Cabelas, than outdoor sports. It's a lot cheaper and it's designed less for vigorous activity. Nobody knows how to keep warm when they're not breaking a sweat like a duck hunter.

Two French Bulldogs said...

It sounds like you are going to be preparing for snow again

Annie & Pauls Mom said...

We finialy saw our first snow of the year in VA today. Annie and Paul got what I refer to as home manicures tonight with mushers being rubbed into their paws. The grocery store near us put salt down, and in our area, they're the only ones who do.

2 Punk Dogs said...

I had an insulated mechanic's suit that lasted for years, I wish I had bought a new one before this cold snap! They're great to pull on over pajamas for a quick walk. Right now I'm layering wind pants over sweats over thermal leggings for the last walk of the night.
It's so cold that the dogs actually want to wear their coats. I think poor Duke needs booties, I'll have to look up your Dogs in Boots post next. Thanks!

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