Many folks might be a little weary of the snow and posts about it by now but I can’t resist musing about the winter to come and the opportunities that abound for dog owners. Below are some suggested gear to enable and enhance your winter romps.
**Disclaimer: Sitter for your Critter does not specifically endorse any of the companies mentioned below. They are suggested merely as a starting point for interested readers based on our experience.
There’s a reason I listed this item first! A few studs under the soles of your boots will go a long way in extending your walking options, especially after sleet or days of snowmelt. There are many options of varying intensity and design but all of them are the same basic concept: a foot-shaped piece of rubber with a series of small metal studs along one side of the base and sides that stretch to wrap around the heel and toebox of the shoe. My favorite example is Stabilicers for their durability and application to daily walks. Plus, they can be bought right at Kittery Trading Post!
Everyone knows the coat options for dogs are as plentiful as they are for humans but many don’t know about the variety of doggy shoes available. Paw protection is important under a number of circumstances. Anyone living in Portsmouth can attest to the heavy salt use during the winter months on sidewalks in and around downtown. While immensely useful, ice melt is packed with chemicals that can harm your pup. Some basic boots like Ultra Paws or Summit Trex that are impermeable will protect your dog and allow her to continue to window shop with you. Other boots are simpler and meant only create a barrier between her pads and the bitter cold ground, such as fleece sled dog booties or PawZ rubber boots (which are designed to be disposable but we use repeatedly with no issue). An even easier option is a natural wax compound such as Musher’s Secret that you rub into your dog’s paws without worry of residue on your floors. It will prevent snow from balling up between the pads and help protect them from harsh conditions and chemicals, though not to the degree of the boots.
Gaiters will be your best friend if you have to trek into deep snow or leap slushy puddles for your pup. Imagine wrapping your lower legs in an extra layer of fabric that will keep out snow, mud, and debris. Popular with hikers and trail runners, I think many people will appreciate their benefits. They’re quick and easy to put on as well.
Perhaps the most important for last – low light safety gear. The options are endless but I highly recommend picking up at least one reflective piece of gear per individual, as well as a headlamp. Backcountry K-9 as well as plenty of local shops such as the Canine Cupboard and The Natural Dog and Wholistic Cat offer reflective collars, vests, collar lights, etc. for your pup.
Whether you’re hoping to maintain your usual level of outdoor time or aim to extend your outings, these are some helpful starter items. You will be the comfiest and safest of your walking buddies! Truth be told, my furkids and I love the winter and my imagination has already run off on me, listing snowshoes, a windproof layer, smartphone-compatible gloves, etc. as other invaluable items. But there is a whole new year that will be upon us soon to get carried away going into greater detail! Happy New Year everyone and enjoy the snow!