Whether it’s a morning stroll through the local park or a multi-day trek down the Pacific Crest Trail, there are plenty of adventures that we want to share with our four-legged buddies. Winter weather presents challenges, but the right gear makes all the difference. We’re not talking about the latest matching sweater set your great aunt and her little Yorkie were sporting at Thanksgiving dinner. No, cold weather gear for your canine buddy is as high-tech as anything you might find for yourself. Read on for the best cold weather products to keep your furry friend on the trail all winter long.
RuffWear Polar Trex Boots
Your dog’s foot pads are his biggest weak point on rough ground, so it’s important to protect them like you would your own feet — in a good pair of boots. Ruffwear Polar Trex dog boots are designed to protect your pup against everything from nasty, paw-burning road salt to dangerous ski edges. Vibram soles and aggressive lugs provide traction over the slickest ice and snow, and the tall ankle cuffs will keep snow out so your trail buddy will warm all day.
We can’t always run in boundless woods and let our dogs roam like wild animals. For the days when you’ve got to use on a leash, we especially like Wolfgang’s Horween and Ducklime models, made right here in the USA. At four feet, they’re the perfect length for keeping your little beast firmly under control when your run takes you past your favorite butcher shop.
Dublin Dog KOA Collars
We’ve been testing the KOA collars from Dublin Dog on our backcountry climbing and fishing trips this year; we wouldn’t send our hound anywhere without one. The smooth, waterproof finish is the perfect material for wet, cold environments. It doesn’t absorb any moisture (and more importantly, odor) like a conventional nylon or leather collar, extending its lifetime greatly. Each production run is tested to 1,200 pounds of pull strength, so even the strongest retriever or hound will stay firmly in line. Did we mention they come in stylish trout prints?
Hurtta Waterproof Fleece Coat
Finnish company Hurtta knows a thing or two about outfitting working dogs for extreme environments: their winter coats and life jackets are regularly tested by search-and-rescue dogs all over the world. With an adjustable waistline and neck, the chill can be sealed out and the fit can be reigned in, while the Houndex-treated brushed fleece is a tough, breathable, and water- and wind-resistant material. Don’t blame us when he learns how to dress himself and wakes you up for 5 a.m. runs.
Canine Hardware Hydro Bowl
Your dog needs to stay hydrated on long runs as much as you do. Sharing your water bottle just isn’t an option, no matter how charming that cute gal at the park might think it is. The Hydro Bowl is a collapsible plastic and nylon vessel that folds into a pocket in your running belt or shorts and quickly expands to hold five cups of water. It also cleans up easily, so you needn’t worry about toting slobber all day.