Living in the mountains with our dogs provides year round opportunities to hike and be outside. During winter months, some dogs will need “dog gear” to weather the cold, while other dogs will thrive as their fur coats are thick to protect them from a winter chill.
My Bear girl is an Australian Shepherd, or Aussie, and has a thick fur coat to protect her; while Tiki is a Blue Heeler-Husky mix with a thinner fur coat. This year I purchased Tiki a lightweight coat that has a removable fleece liner, and exterior water and windproof shell with a hood that can also be removed. Prices for this type of gear have decreased significantly over the years, with Tiki’s jacket coming in around $23 – well worth the cost to keep her warm and dry these winter months.
A couple of years ago temperatures here in Nederland dropped into the negatives, and my girls would run into the back yard to “do their business” just to find their feet were frozen and then they didn’t want to walk back in as it hurt. I went out and got them; and now have booties for my girls for those bitter cold days. They love them, as they know their feet will be protected and they can stay out longer. The boots have traction on the soles to provide grip in the snow.
Several dogs will not tolerate wearing dog gear until they understand how it helps them be comfortable outside. To help desensitize them to the gear, introduce your dogs to their gear inside, let them walk around and get used to it; take it on and off several times and just place it on them, partially attached, draped over them. I am not a fan of dressing up your dog for the sake of dressing them up; but do believe it is important to protect them against the weather if we ask them to hike and be outside with us.
And, as always, when hiking with your pups, be sure to bring them water and snacks!
Deb D’Andrea, founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz, provides mobile Canine Massage, PawQuatics, Canine Agility and Petz Nanny Services. Her home-made dog treats are sold at local stores, and 4TheLuvOfDogz K9Birthday Cakes are available direct. Deb Petz Nanny’s for dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses, etc. Contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or firstname.lastname@example.org.