How to winterize your dog?

Wearing clothes is very unnatural for your dog. Having to bend their arms and legs to get them to fit into jacket sleeves is strange for them especially if what you’re putting on them restricts their movement. Imagine trying to put on shirt where the arm holes are on your back vs the sides - you would have to contort yourself to reach the holes and once you get in it, you wouldn’t be able to move freely. You would feel irritated, uncomfortable and unhappy every time you would have to wear said shirt and would rather go out naked if it was between that or wearing the shirt. You get my point.

Many dog jackets on the market today are made to look cute - fashion before function - and to emulate clothes that we, HUMANS, would wear. For example, many dog jackets have hoods - which in my mind is the most useless part of a dog coat. If you’ve ever tried to put a hood on your dog, they’d likely freeze and not move.

If your dog goes out for more than 10-15 minutes at a time, is NOT a snow dog, or larger breed with dual coat, it is essential that you have a good coat to protect them from the elements, especially in the Polar Vortex that we just had.

I see so many of our clients buying multiple jackets because their initial purchases did not meet their dog’s requirements, so I decided to write a guide on choosing the right jacket for your pooch.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when choosing your dog’s coat:

  1. How easy is it to put on your dog?

    • Do you have to bend their legs a lot to get them into it?

    • Is the neck wide enough to put comfortably over their head?

    • Does it take longer than a minute to put on their coat?

      • Are there too many snaps, zippers, or buttons?

      • Are there too many areas to fasten/close on the jacket?

  2. How much coverage does the jacket have?

    • Does the back cover up to the base of the tail?

    • Does it cover their chest and some of their belly?

    • Does it cover their neck?

  3. Does it restrict your dog’s movement?

  4. Is it Waterproof? *Windproof would be an added bonus

  5. Is it Warm?

  6. Is it machine washable?

  7. Is the material durable?

    • puffer coats tend to rip easily - especially if your dog goes to the dog park

  8. What kind of closures does it use?

    • Buttons and Snap Closures do tend to last longer; however, they are a pain to get on

    • Velcro does eventually wear out, but it’s the easiest to get on. If you care for the coat, the velcro will last longer (remove all hair, etc. that gets stuck to the velcro so that it sticks better)

    • Buckles - I find these the most durable and easy to use


Here are the brands that I highly recommend:

Chilly Dog - GREAT WHITE NORTH coat

Chilly Dog - GREAT WHITE NORTH coat

Ruffwear - VERT JACKET

Ruffwear - VERT JACKET

*** FYI CANADA POOCH JACKETS are more FASHION than FUNCTION - i don’t recommend them for daily wear and price point - you get more bang for your buck with the jackets I recommended above

DOES YOUR DOG NEED MORE THAN A JACKET?

If you have a shorthaired dog or a small breed dog that is averse to going out in cold weather, you may want to look into a Onesie. Depending on the material, a onesie could be a good layering piece or a good alternative to the coats mentioned above if your dog requires more coverage. I’ll be honest, onesies break my “have to be easy to get on” rule, but if it’s between your dog deciding to poop indoors or conditioning them to like a onesie with positive reinforcement, the choice is pretty simple.


Take a look at some of these:


Hurtta - BODY WARMER

Hurtta - BODY WARMER

Hurrta - SLUSH COMBAT SUIT

Hurrta - SLUSH COMBAT SUIT

Muttlucks - REVERSIBLE SNOW SUIT

Muttlucks - REVERSIBLE SNOW SUIT

Dog Helios - THUNDER CRACKLE COAT

Dog Helios - THUNDER CRACKLE COAT

Many other brands carry thinner onesies that are like pyjamas that I use for layering; they are usually for smaller dogs. Check out FOU FOU DOG or FAB DOG.


What are some of your favourite Winter Jackets for your dog?


WHAT ABOUT THEIR FOOTSIES?

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BOOTIES

For us city dwellers, the primary reason we put booties on our dogs is not to keep them warm, but to protect them from the salt. As soon as there is snow in the forecast, our sidewalks are covered with gratuitous amounts of salt.

Booties, much like coats, are a completely unnatural feeling for your dog. It’s a struggle to get them on, but a necessity for most dogs if you live in the city. Unless you are taking your dog trekking or going on the trails, where there isn’t a lot of salt, the only dog bootie I recommend are PAWZ booties.

PAWZ Booties :

  • stay on the best (if fit properly)

  • affordable

  • they come in 12 packs, so if you lose one you won’t cry

  • easy to get on (once you get the hang of it) - you can also purchase their PAWZ jaws tool that helps you put the booties on

  • don’t require wrapping velcro super tight around your dog’s legs

  • comes in many sizes

  • biodegradable

  • most natural feeling

They are by all means not PAWFECT, but in my opinion the best option for our city dogs.

TIPS!

  • your dog may need a different size on their front paws and back paws (so you may have to buy two packs)

  • keep your dogs nails trimmed or they will pierce the balloons when running around

  • some dogs eat their balloon booties - I have first hand experience with this (ugh!)

  • if your dog refuses to wear them, you can try taking them outside without them and when they ultimately lift their paw from the salt, wipe their paw off and then put them on

IF YOUR DOG REFUSES TO WEAR BOOTIES…..

PAW WAX

If you’re dog refuses to wear booties, you can try Paw wax. It is definitely not as effective as booties, but at least it offers some protection. The paw wax I recommend is Musher’s secret. Musher’s is a all natural paw balm you apply to the bottom of your dogs foot (pads) before taking them outside. You have to apply it all over the the bottom of the foot including between the pads to protect your dog’s feet from the elements. It’s not as good as protecting them from the salt, but it is better than nothing if you’re only out for short periods of time. **Musher’s is also good during the Summer to protect your dog’s paws from hot pavement or sand.

Thanks SNOW much for Reading! Hope you found this information helpful :)