Dropping temperatures don’t mean you and your canine have to stay inside. Get out and get going with these colder-weather gear picks for your pup!
Some dogs — think Siberian Huskies — are naturally protected from cold weather, while others might need a little extra layer to enjoy their time outdoors during those freezing winter months. When choosing a coat for your dog, look for an easy-care, washable material, like a poly-blend. A good jacket should also be water-resistant and have a warming lining, like fleece. As an extra precaution, avoid coats with buttons, zippers or hooks your dog could chew and swallow.
While your regular harness is great for snowshoeing or walks through the woods, a correctly fitted harness is a must for skijoring or dog sledding, since your dog will be pulling your weight. A poorly fitting harness can chafe or injure your dog. Look for a harness that distributes weight across your dog’s back.
Boots are a great idea for protecting Fido’s paws from cold and icy patches — if your dog will wear them. Boots are also the best option if your dog will be exposed to salt.
Older dogs or those with very short hair can benefit from a sweater as a warming base layer beneath their coat or jacket. When you’re buying a sweater for your dog, choose one made from a natural material that is free from zippers, hooks or buttons if your dog is a chewer. The sweater should be snug, but not tight, with room for your dog’s neck and legs to move freely. When leaving a sweater on for an extended period of time, watch out for overheating or skin rash.
If your dog will just be outside for a short time, a paw wax will keep tender feet from ice buildup, snowballing or cracking. Paw wax complements boots, plus works well in deep snow, where a boot might accidentally get pulled off. Always inspect your dog’s paws after each walk, and wipe off any residue with a soft, damp cloth.
Popular for keeping long, floppy ears clean, snoods can also be an invaluable part of your dog’s winter wardrobe! These fleece, crocheted or knit hoods protect dogs’ ears from freezing temperatures, wind chill and even frostbite. An adjustable elastic drawstring helps for a customized fit. Some snoods can be practical and plain while others have a fun, whimsical feel.
Thumbnail: Photography courtesy Kurgo Coats.
Laura Ratliff is a writer specializing in travel, lifestyle and food. Her work has appeared in Architectural Digest, GQ, Bon Appétit and Condé Nast Traveler. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and her two dogs — Iggy, an 11-year-old Brussels Griffon, and Kate, a rescued 2-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer.
Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you!