It’s -4 degrees out and the sidewalks have disappeared. Now what? Take the day off? What’s a day off?
Depending on your location it is likely you will experience at least one extreme weather condition; freezing cold or the scorching heat or perhaps you are extra lucky like me and experience both. Every year. Yay! I have found some lifesaving (literally) products and gear to help me through these extremes.
The only good thing about cold weather is you have SO many more pockets you can utilize. If you don’t understand this then you haven’t been walking dogs very long-you will learn to appreciate a great pocket. In all seriousness it can be extremely hazardous for walkers who are unprepared for the elements. Having the proper clothing and being aware of winter hazards are both important parts of being prepared.
Snow pants may not be as sexy and fun to pick out as a new leash, branding materials, or a new logo but they are an essential item. I went with a budget friendly brand called Arctix as I don’t wear them everyday. They will keep you warm, keep the snow out, keep you dry and perhaps even win some style points in the process (but probably not). Full disclosure- I bought the men’s pant (on accident, fail.) but they still did the job and were just a bit baggie.
Women I recommend the Arctix Women’s Insulated Snow Pant
Men I recommend the Arctix Men’s Insulated Snow Pant
A good winter coat should keep you toasty and dry without making you look like a marshmallow. There is nothing worse than a bulky coat when trying to bend over and pick up poo that has melted to the bottom of 9 inch snow pile. I absolutely love my North Face Women’s Boundary Triclimate Jacket– its not bulky, has lots of pockets, and most importantly it is so unbelievably warm! Yes it is an investment and pricey but technically you are getting two coats–this is how I justified it. (Don’t worry they have a men’s version too!- The North Face Condor Triclimate Jacket Mens.
My choice of glove is the MoHo Glove it offers the right combination of warmth, dexterity, and grip. Between answering the phone, turning a door handle, clasping leashes and opening up those pesky poo bags I needed a lot of functionality. These gloves allow me to do that without removing my gloves, that is a win for me.
Poor-quality boots can leave your feet vulnerable to cold temperatures and slush. And that’s the last thing you want if you’ll be spending your winter days walking 10+ walks in the Snowpocalypse. The brand that has never let me down is Sorel. Don’t forget your cozy crew socks!
Traction Cleats for Your Shoes
Have you ever found yourself shuffling along the sidewalk with a clients pup at a snail’s pace concentrating on not falling..again…? I used to all the time until I found YakTrax. I walk confidently (sort of, that’s a work in progress) down icey sidewalks and driveways wearing these bad boys.
Huh? Tube scarf; an elasticated tube-shaped piece of material which is amazingly versatile and often used during outdoor excursions or sports in this case: Dog Walking. Simply pull the tube scarf over your neck for an effortlessly cool look, which will also keep you warm. The best part about these is they are extra absorbent– ever walk through 8 inches of snow and start to sweat? These will soak up that sweat and reduce the chances of it freezing which is never a fun feeling. I bought the Kingree brand— you get 9 of them! They have fun colors.(If you buy a black one someone may or may not think you are about to rob a bank…just saying.)
Ear muffs have been helping to keep sensitive lobes toasty for over a century. Why do I wear ear muffs at all – why not just put on a hat? Well the massive nest that I call a bun on top of my head won’t allow it. I use the Tough Headware Fleece Headband paired with my tube scarf- I can handle the cold windchill with ease. If you prefer a warm hat over ear muffs check out the Carhartt Men’s Wetzel Watch Hat.
A little rain never stopped a 30 minute daily dog walk. But, you’re going to want to stay as dry as you can and be comfortable, plus be able to perform the necessary movements. There are couple essentials I keep in my car for those random rainy days.
As a dog walker being wet makes walking a chore, and being cold and wet can make walking dang near unbearable. Sure use an umbrella- what about your legs? your feet? You and I both know rain does not come straight down. To eliminate soggy feet and leggings I carry a light weight rain pant called Frogg Toggs. Most importantly, the are extremely lightweight and breathable!
Rain boots are an essential part of your dog walking shoe collection. Unfortunately, rain boats are not comfortable, we all know this- but I did find a pair that are functional and made with sturdier materials. called Servus. These are extremely light weight and budget friendly (if you live in an area with lots of rainfall then I recommend investing in some Bogs!)
I am sure you are thinking DUH but wait- do you have an umbrella with a C shaped handle? This was a game changer for me! Holding two leashes and an umbrella was a joke- but a fried introduced me to the Bagail Double Layered Inverted C-shaped umbrella and I can easily use both hands now. Bonus: they have so many fun colors!
Sunny days are perfect for walking dogs all day long. But, along with the sun can come intense heat, and if you don’t manage the combination of the two properly, your “easy” (there is never and easy day in the dog walking world) day can turn into a painful and potentially dangerous one. I have a few essentials to keep me cool and safe during these times below;
During the warmer months and multiple walks you’re going to need hydration—and there’s nothing worse than lukewarm liquids when all you want is an ice-cold beverage. I use the Mira (like the Swell but cheaper) the best part? It can keep Hot liquids too! Downfall.. not dishwasher safe.
Finding a shirt that can keep you cool despite the strong rays of the sun, withstand the elements and stop you from smelling like you’re spent a week hiking through a pig farm is a tall task. I have tried out a couple different shirts but my favorite is the Joe’s athletic shirt (I usually buy men’s because I am not a fan of the women shaped shirts). I took a couple to my local embroidery and had my logo embroidered on the front and back. You would be shocked how many people ask about your business when you have “Dog Walker” printed on that back of your shirt.
Breathable Running Shoes
Full disclosure, I do not offer dog running. I do not run. Ever. However! Walking 10+ dogs a day in the summer months can make your feet hot and sweaty and I find running shoes have the best options. Choosing a pair of lightweight, breathable, well-ventilated shoe can make a big difference. My go to shoe brand is Asics.
I know.. I know.. how cool can you look in a fanny pack? Who cares, when its hot you barely have two pockets to utilize! After trying a number of bags at the expense of my wallet- I have found a bag I absolutely LOVE. The Furry Buddy Belt, hello pockets! Its meant for hands free walking (which I never do) but it holds my phone, keys, treats, pet corrector, Sabre Spray, and cash.
Mushers Paw Wax
Cold weather, hot and dry weather, rough terrain, and sometimes genetics cause dogs to suffer from calluses and lesions on their paw pads. Ideally, you want to prevent the dog’s paws from going dry and cracking. I highly recommend carrying Mushers Paw Wax with you at all times.
Dog Water Bottle
Just like us, our dogs can become dehydrated, and depending on how much more active the dog is during a walk, he’ll probably get thirsty much quicker than us. I love the The Highwave Dog water bottle not only provides adequate hydration, but it is also eco-friendly. Reusing the same doggy water bottle is an earth-friendly alternative to bringing along plastic disposable water bottles.