Whole Dog Journal's Blog January 6, 2015

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

Posted at 08:30AM - Comments: (65)

I was told that this was not particularly cold; I didn't even need to use the block heater, provided at every parking spot at the hotel where I stayed.

It's one of those jobs you just don't ask a native (and lifelong) Californian to do: review dog coats. The only time I tried it, I failed; I separated the products under consideration into two categories - rain coats and warm coats - and was taken to task, rightly, for not providing a choice for dogs who have to go out in freezing rains. Because... a freezing rain? I have never experienced such a thing, much less had to walk my dog in one.

I was reminded of this recently, when I flew into Edmonton, Alberta, in order to tour the Champion Pet Food manufacturing facility north of there. I have never, ever, been somewhere so cold before - and they were having a relatively warm week for that time of year. The whole time I was there, I kept thinking, how on earth can you walk your dog in this cold? How do their paws not freeze?

Well, I guess they do; at least, the only dog I saw being walked the whole time I was there (about 36 hours) was wearing boots. I'm sure that while coyotes and wolves and even feral dogs either adapt or die in such cold, dogs who live indoors most of the time do need boots to protect their feet when being walked. The ground was just solid ice, whether frozen snow, dirt, or concrete.

The only dog I saw being walked.

On WDJ's Facebook page a month or so ago, I linked a humorous (at least to me) YouTube video of dogs who had just been fitted with boots and were walking in them for (apparently) the first time. SO MANY people commented how cruel it is to outfit the dogs so and them laugh at them, as if boots on dogs is some great cruelty. I'm telling you, cruelty would be walking an indoor dog without boots in an Edmonton winter. Or even in Boston, say, where dogs are commonly treated to frozen sidewalks and salty slush, the better to burn any cracked paw pads that inevitably develop in cold winters.

Hey! You readers who live in incredibly cold places! How do you help your dogs cope with the cold? We'd love for you to share your favorite tips and tools.

Comments (65)

My husband and I moved back to Maine from Florida with an older rescued Maltipoo who had led a very warm life. Adapting to Maine's frigid temperatures has not been easy for him. Willie shivers if he doesn't wear his parka to just go from the house to the car. When we first put on his leather soled booties-Muttluks- he put up a huge fuss, but after bribing him with treats he learned to adjust to them. That doesn't mean that he likes them, though. One would think that after two winters he would associate the parka and booties with going outside, but he still backs away when he sees them coming toward him. And though he has to pee and poop in the evening, he sometimes stubbornly plants himself on the deck-like tonight- and won't come down the stairs until pulled. Tonight Willie had to go out in freezing rain, and we had to decide whether he should wear his winter boots or mud boots (Maine has a long mud season) which would protect him more from the rain but wouldn't be as warm. At least the outer material of his parka is waterproof so he didn't get soaked. Too bad we didn't stay in Florida.

Posted by: liliput | February 19, 2018 11:57 PM    Report this comment

We (2 Scottish terriers who are stripped so are double-coated) are in NYC during the week, rural CT on most weekends. PAWZ or any kind of paw covering that your dogs will tolerate is essential in the city after a snowstorm: SO many chemicals! (Mine tolerate only PAWZ.) Musher's Secret great in the country (too messy for the lobby and elevator of my NYC building).
My Scotties prefer not to wear any kind of coat or sweater, but when it is cold enough for them to shiver while waiting for the light to change, on they go. I like and they tolerate the ridiculously expensive Horse Blanket at Canine Styles, the best I have found, and walking the streets of NYC, I think I have seen them all.

Posted by: Tozolon | January 8, 2018 4:38 PM    Report this comment

So many comments! We all DO love our furry kids. I have two Goldens and live in Southern Maine. Yes, we're a winter climate here but in normal years, boots or coats are rarely needed for my girls. However...... as we all know, the past few weeks have not been normal. So, yes, on Saturday morning when it was -5 actual temp, with a wind chill of -25, they wore their boots (can't recall the brand off hand) and their LL Bean coats. We were just fine.

Posted by: Bella and Breeze's Mom | January 8, 2018 8:01 AM    Report this comment

My English Cocker whom I groom at home and thus, have good control over length and thickness of coat, doesn't seem to mind the cold weather (although I noticed she didn't tarry outside when the wind chills hit -15F). She has very thick hair on the bottom of her feet. If we are going to be out for any length of time, I put her Hurrta coat on her----covers all four legs with the business end hanging out. Despite the fact that I work outside, if there is still daylight left, I take her to the park for an off leash run....even if it only for a little while. My elderly beagle however, requires some forethought---I have used Vaseline (but am going to try Musher's Secret) on the bottom of her feet and put a sweater on underneath her Hurrta. Usually, after about 5 minutes of being outside, she spends the rest of the outing in the warm car, while I finish giving the spaniel her daily run.

Posted by: Mel Blacke | January 8, 2018 1:47 AM    Report this comment

I live in Wisconsin and protecting dog paws from the harsh winter weather is no joking matter. My golden retriever mix split his toenail while in the back yard while walking in the snow last year. The snow had a thin layer of ice on it in some areas of the yard and he caught his toenail when his paws broke through the ice layer. His toenail ripped it all the way to the quick and he was limping on three legs when he came in. It was bleeding and obviously very painful. I took him to the vet and he wouldn't let her near his toe so she had to put him under anethsesia just to examine it. She was then able to clip the torn nail up to the quick and clean it up. I had to change his bandages on his paw twice a day (sometimes more if they came off). He wouldn't leave the paw alone so he needed to wear a cone until a new nail grew back, which took four weeks. To keep the bandages dry and the sore toe protected when I let him outside, I put a cotton (human) baby sock over the bandaged paw with more vet wrap to keep the sock on, and over all of that I put on a rubber doggie bootie, which fit tightly above his dew claw so his sock and bangages were kept dry while he was outside. It was a long month for both of us.

Posted by: Mary53711 | January 7, 2018 3:43 PM    Report this comment

I lived in a northern Chicago suburb for 20 years. My Portuguese Water Dogs have all loved the snow- but webbed feet and ice balls as well as salted streets had me search for boots. My favorite (and my dogs wear them willingly too) come from dogbooties.com. They are coated fabric and used by mushers for their sled dogs.

Posted by: Sambavasco | January 7, 2018 2:09 PM    Report this comment

I live in a Chicago suburb, residential area. With any snow the streets are salted and sidewalks are a random mix of: shoveled, not shoveled, treated with salt or some kind of snowmelt chemical. My Aussie loves cold weather and long walks (I am the one that has to put an end to the fun for her own sake). My main concerns are 1) the salt and other chemicals and 2) snow packing between her toes - which requires us to stop and remove it. I use very light weight boots from www.Kondosoutdoors.com in Ely MN where they know about cold weather. They are:
1) inexpensive
2) you can buy individual booties
3) several designs... you can mix and match and see which ones work best - suggest you mix and match on a first order and get a spare or two.
4) easy to put on
5) not fancy - but sufficient to keep snow from packing between toes... and keep the salt off. Those are really the only two functions I want
6) They stay on. The key is to match the bootie to the dewclaws your dog has. If your dog has four dew claws... the single strap model is fine for all four. For legs that do not have dew claws, the double strap model works best.

I have used these for several years now and they do the job.

Posted by: Tomster2 | January 7, 2018 1:43 PM    Report this comment

I live in London, Ontario which is in a snow belt. Like much of Canada since December, we have been subjected to a lot of snow and bitter cold winds. I have two Pembroke Welsh Corgis. With their double coats they do not need coats, but their paws suffer on their walks from cold and salt. I've tried baby/dog booties (come right off); PawZ (couldn't get them on), and multiple other products. Their Mutluks offered the best protection but for some reason the Velcro isn't long enough and I suspect they need a new pair (corgi hair all over the Velcro). I can't manage eight paws, so I split one pair between the two of them on their front paws only. I'm going to try the Invisible Boot on their next walk until I can get another set of Mutluks.

Posted by: littlecorgi | January 7, 2018 1:38 PM    Report this comment

I lived in Northern Ontario (8 hours drive north of Toronto) with various cocker spaniels (english and american) for maannny years. We walked three times a day, every day, no boots, no problems. Now we live in southern Ontario where there is salt on the roads and sidewalks, we have problems, but caused by salt, not cold. Basically we watch out for areas with salt, I can tell because it is mixed with sand. Have been know to carry one or the other over these areas :-) I know there are many breeds with less hair than cockers, but our dogs were never cold enough to need a coat.

Posted by: jeansweezie | January 7, 2018 1:02 PM    Report this comment

I have a yellow lab/golden retriever mix that's 100lbs. We live in Wisconsin which has been bearing through zero and below temperatures for the past 3 weeks. There were a few days where we just didn't go for our usual walk because the temps were just too low but kept outdoor activity in the back yard. But when we do go for walks in this weather, I suit him up with rubber boots and a polar fleece jacket. He is very good about putting everything on, I think he knows that it will protect him in the bitter cold. His boots are a thick, rubber/latex material that's tough enough for walking on pavement and keeps the ice and salt off of his paws and from packing in between his toes, which is very uncomfortable. I also love that the boots come in a pack of 3 sets in case one tears or wears through. Despite our cold climate here, every now and then someone will joke and laugh about my big dog wearing rubber boots, as if his size makes his paws tougher somehow. When I take them off after our walk, his paws are dry and clean of road salt. It's much easier than having to wash his paws when we get home.

Posted by: SueW | January 7, 2018 11:47 AM    Report this comment

Our climate in northern Maryland is a bit more moderate than many of those who have responded thus far, but we do have cold spells. We haven't seen a daily high temperature reach freezing for a few weeks now, and this morning's temperature was 0.2 degrees, with wind chills of -15. Our two Labs love the cold, so the current cool weather is not an issue. The powdery snow can pack in their webbed feet, however, and that can create an "ice ball" that does make walking uncomfortable for them. We use their hunting boots (mostly used for hiking over granite paths) at such times, and they seem to like that. These boots have a double strap, and we've used them for years, so they tend to stay on the dogs and the dogs are not the least bit awkward wearing them.

Posted by: Chris K | January 7, 2018 10:17 AM    Report this comment

Custom made coats for our Greyhounds, plus a “tummy warmer” underneath the coat on super frigid days. Attire also includes a neck warmer and I use the PAWZ doggie boots, as no other Muttluks fit or stay on the paws. They work and protect nicely. Plus, the dogs can still grip their ground and mark. It’s going down to below zero tonight in northeast Ohio, yikes!

Posted by: Houndz6 | January 6, 2018 7:00 PM    Report this comment

My dachshunds need custom made coats since their long backs don't match the coat sizes in the store. I have been using a tailor out of Vancouver WA for years and she does a great job. Her "catalog" and website don't look like much, but don't let that fool you, the coat will be excellent. You can look her up at Sewing Ventures for Dogs on google. Just be sure you are precise with your dogs measurements.

Posted by: Pugzy | January 5, 2018 11:33 PM    Report this comment

We have over 120 inches of snow and it’s around 9° I have a Pyrenees/ Husky rescue who I have to drag indoors. This is Her ideal weather and on our walks I literally have a terrible time getting her to head home .She loves to roll and bury herself in the drifts. Boots definitely not needed.

Posted by: Cindy Erie, PA | January 5, 2018 7:48 PM    Report this comment

we try to keep the washed of the slush and salt. I use "mushers secret" and on the cracked parts I use "bag balm". Yes, bag balm; it works for cows, why not cracked paws! We even took baby socks and spayed that water repellant spray on the bottoms. You have to let them dry for a couple days. This works wanders for the hard to fit dog paws. There are many tricks you learn to use to protect those precious pups!

Posted by: Staffie Mom | January 5, 2018 2:35 PM    Report this comment

I live in rural Massachusetts where we usually have cold, snowy winters, though not as cold as what's going on now! My previous dogs were double-coated husky/GSD mixes so I never worried about coats for them and Musher's Secret worked great for protecting their paws from salt and ice.

My current pup, a mostly terrier mix with a some husky and collie, has a single, rough coat and very sensitive skin on his belly and paws. I thought for sure I'd have to get a coat for him, but he *loves* the cold and snow! He can't wait to get out there and roll in it. Maybe his own rough coat is more protective? His legs and paws are another matter. They're quickly irritated and will even bleed from playing in hard snow. The MS helps, but I need to find booties for him.

What amazes me is that he shows no discomfort at all and I often have to bring him in before he's done playing. The upside is that he's made a snow lover out of me!

Posted by: WMichelle | January 5, 2018 1:00 PM    Report this comment

After adopting a senior dog from Arkansas in 2010, we adopted two dogs from Tennessee this autumn, a German shepherd and a shepherd mix. They all LOVED the cold and snow! (Our dog from Arkansas developed diabetes during a hot and humid spell in the summer; it was simply too stressful to be reminded of that weather.) The two new dogs are not fond of the wind, but otherwise they delight in running through the snow and go outdoors willingly in subzero temperatures. I thought I'd have to get them coats but no. A local veterinarian on TV recommended mushers' wax instead of boots to protect their pads, but I don't leave my dogs out for longer than 10 minutes or so when it's 10 or 20 degrees below zero.

Posted by: Dogtowner | January 5, 2018 9:35 AM    Report this comment

After living in the Pyrenees Mountains and falling in love with the Great Pyrenees breed, I've had five of them over the years. Try to get this breed indoors no matter the temperature and snow, it's not going to happen. Daisy loves this cold weather we've been having here in Western North, Carolina.

Posted by: slconn | January 5, 2018 6:29 AM    Report this comment

Montana has very cold winters. My Golden Retriever has three coats, a beautiful Yellowstone National Park coat from Pendelton that keeps him warm, a rain coat lined in fleece for going out when it's snowing that keeps him warm and mostly dry, and a yellow slicker for the rain. If it's in the single digits or lower, he doesn't stay out for long and runs back inside. If he is wet, he goes straight for the doggy towel.
Gabriel's Mom

Posted by: mr sweetheart | January 4, 2018 9:35 PM    Report this comment

My two labs go out in the coldest of weather. Here in Ontario it has been around zero degrees F for over a week. I would never put boots on them because one jump in the snowbanks and the boots would be gone until spring. We live out in the country and the snow is pristine. If I walked my dogs in the city on streets covered with salt I might consider covering their paws. My chocolate and black labs roll in the snow and love it. They are truly Canadian dogs!

Posted by: Phant0000m | January 4, 2018 6:56 PM    Report this comment

I live in Central Florida. We are going thru a cold snap now and my Maltese likes his sweater. He doesn't need boots for the cold but I honestly have thought of buying some for the heat in the summer. The pavement gets so hot you can fry an egg on it sometimes. I try to get him to walk on the grass but oh no, he wants the pavement. So I try to time our walks in the early morning and late afternoon and evening. I use coconut oil to keep his paws soft and healthy.

Posted by: Casper'sMom | January 4, 2018 6:43 PM    Report this comment

I live near Ottawa Canada. We have cold winters. I have a Husky....end of story!!

Posted by: Husky Girl | January 4, 2018 4:08 PM    Report this comment

We have 2 Pugs and live in Northern Minnesota. Every year we put up a tent and throw straw down. They use that for their potty breaks all winter. On the coldest days they wear their coats made by Pug Snuggly. They will custom fit a coat for your dog.

Posted by: PugFan | January 4, 2018 3:42 PM    Report this comment

We just got through -30c cold snap through Christmas here in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and will revisit that torture again in a couple fo days. Booties a must, along with a coat (for dogs and humans!) Rule of thumb: if you feel the cold after being outside for a few minutes, your dog will as well. My GSD has a good double coat, but her paws are really vulnerable. She holds up her paws and whimpers, partly because of salt on the sidewalks, but also being up to her chest in really cold frigid snow is painful. Hardest thing is finding boots that fit well and don't get lost in the deep snow. Frequent, short games of fetch and running around in the backyard, then head inside. By the way, the dog treadmill I purchased before the snow has paid for itself throughout this 2-wk severe cold snap. Nothing replaces a walk, but getting in some good exercise, followed by a game of fetch in the cold has worked wonders!

Posted by: LoveGSDs | January 4, 2018 3:31 PM    Report this comment

You can also put vaseline on their paws which works for a quick walk.

Posted by: jet4221 | January 4, 2018 3:11 PM    Report this comment

I have a 9 pound yorkie.Live in Iowa it has been 0 or below for weeks.!y boy will not potty on a pad so outside we must go.He wears a snowsuit,boots and a hat to cover his ears.There is salt every where people think it's foolish but I could care less.Think about it would you go out barefooted and a light coat??I think not!

Posted by: Sweeti's mom | January 4, 2018 3:04 PM    Report this comment

Hello! I have a Pug and I have the most difficult time finding coats. The ones that fit around her thick neck fall off because they need to be so big and the ones that fit the size of her body will not fit around her neck. Does anyone have any ideas? The advertisements say they can fit any dog but they don’t fit my Pug.

Posted by: Maddie's Scarlett | January 4, 2018 3:02 PM    Report this comment

Connecticut in the midst of a snowstorm and very, very cold with wind chill factors at times below zero F. Boston Terriers are very sensitive to extremes of temperature, usually very short exercise periods in the summer heat. My Lola is my fifth BT and she hates the cold, has to be codgered to put her coat on and will barely tolerate me putting on her boots. The boots take a while and she has recently started peeing on the floor as we wait for the elevator. This is my first dog to be brought up in an apartment and she is very well housebroken and this is a new trick. I don’t wait till the last minute either, we have a very regular schedule. I think she just hates the boots and gets annoyed with the procedure of putting them on. Now I bring a puppy pad in my pocket just in case.
In this cold she wears two coats and the boots. It’s getting old fast but it has to be done.
Lots of treats help!!!!!
Her Woofness

Posted by: Her Woofness | January 4, 2018 2:51 PM    Report this comment

GEtTING THE RIGHT SIZE BOOTS IS KEY!!!!

I just moved into Indiana just southeast of Chicago. It has been below 0 and the wind chill has made it to -20 some evenings. My little 14 yr old papillion has a variety of jackets with fleece, rain windbreakers and a thundershirt. Depending I put one or two coats on here but it was her paws that could barely stay outside for more than a few minutes. She's start lifting her little paws. Pained me to watch. l Had some boots from my other Pap that was a bit bigger but they would not stay on and she could not/would not walk in them.

So I took here to the local private pet store (Hungry Hound) and we "TRIED ON" two different sizes. Instead of velcro like the ones I had, they have a pull string with toggle to hold them on. AWESOME!!!! We tried two sizes (large for small dogs and medium for small dogs) The large did well, but the medium were better especially for her back paws. She walked all over the store following me and her little run/lope. Bought them!

She is doing great with them. With about 5-6 inches of snow, we've made a little maze for us to walk/run around in and she is loving it. It makes my heart sing to see she can go out and do her business and play some without her little paws hurting her.

Personally trying to figure out what size was best for here online or amazon was too iffy and needed them asap. Going into a boutique pet store where she could try them on and walk around was key to getting some that really fit properly and worked for her.

Dogo Slip-on Paws (dogopet.com) is what we got.

Posted by: cookiecruncher | January 4, 2018 2:29 PM    Report this comment

I live in NYC and my 9-yr old 80 pound rottie-pit mix is a delicate flower. I always use a raincoat - my current favorite is made by Hurrta - when it rains. He has a variety of coats for the cold weather and wears Pawz to protect his feet from the salt on the sidewalks, which can be brutal. If it is very cold, I double up the coats. His warmest coat is the Great White North coat from Chilly Dogs. The Hurrta Summit Parka is great for cold and wet or windy weather because the leg straps keep it from blowing around. He has a Canada Pooch Puffer Summit Vest that I use as a liner or on its own. All of these coats protect his chest, underneath, and large muscle groups from the cold. And they help to keep his coat (and my bed) clean and dry.

Posted by: betty_the_boss | January 4, 2018 2:26 PM    Report this comment

BTW, can the comments area be modified so pictures can be posted along with the text comment? I'd bet people would like to share pics of their pooches.

Posted by: ProDog777 | January 4, 2018 2:13 PM    Report this comment

I live in CT and we are getting slammed by the same storm that "Sportschick" was referencing right now. The previous week or more has been ridiculously cold (single digits) and outside trips for my Aussie, Border Collie, (2) Beagle/Bassets, and a Yorkie Poo house guest, have been limited to short backyard trips for "biological relief". In place of long walks in prohibitive temperatures, I load up my Aussie and Border Collie and we go to places like Home Depot, Lowes, Cabela's, etc. and wander around for an hour or two. This allows them and myself to stretch our legs and socialize with tons of people and sometimes other dogs. I try to stay off the sidewalks unless they have cleared and dried up. We are very lucky to have some beautiful walking trails that get packed down by snowmobiles and I also use Mushers Secret on their paws and keep the hair between their pads trimmed. Just today, I also received two Ruff Wear Powder Hound jackets that fit my 42 pound Aussie and 45 pound BC really well. We'll be trying these once the storm is over and the trails are walkable.

Posted by: ProDog777 | January 4, 2018 2:11 PM    Report this comment

We live 250 km north of Montreal with our 2 standard poodles. It gets pretty cold here, we have just has 2 weeks with -25 to -30C. The dogs are wearing sweater coat and boots. I think trey realize that it is necessary, because I have no problem dressing them up.

Posted by: Brigit | January 4, 2018 1:55 PM    Report this comment

We are native Minnesotans and have had two winters now with a goldendoodle. She loves the snow, but we hate dealing with all the little snowballs that seem to pack into her paws and legs. Dog boots are helpful, but the best thing we've found for overall warmth (it's felt like 36 degrees below zero here in the last several days!) and protection from packed snow in her fur is a fleece snowsuit made by Muttluks, a Canadian company. The design and quality is fantastic. Probably would be too warm on a more typical, less frigid MN winter day, but for the frigid weather it is fantastic. And it's easy to put on; Scout doesn't fight it at all. Highly recommend.

Posted by: TrishS | January 4, 2018 1:51 PM    Report this comment

I live in the Chicago area,and I only take my dogs for walks if it is above 0. My dogs are both double coated (Australian Shepherd, Pembroke Welsh Corgi), and I do not put coats on them. My Australian Shepherd gets Musher's Secret applied to her paws to prevent ice balls from forming between her paws. She will not wear boots. My Corgi does not have issues with the cold on her feet.

Posted by: jackie3510 | January 4, 2018 1:44 PM    Report this comment

I live in NYC, and when we get even the threat of flurries, people salt the sidewalk like a margarita glass. It burns my dogs' feet terribly if it gets in them, they squeal and limp until I can clean their feet off. I have two Rhodesian Ridgebacks (who have very short hair). I have several coats of various levels of warmth for them and two kinds of boots - Pawz (rubber balloon ones) and MuttLuks (fleece lined and waterproof) to protect their feet. People often comment when they see my boys in their winter gear, my older dog even made the papers a couple of winters ago. I don't care if laugh (they do), but at least I know I'm doing my best to keep them warm and safe from chemicals.

Posted by: AviaMR | January 4, 2018 1:43 PM    Report this comment

I live in the Boston area, and we are getting slammed with a blizzard right now. My little Yorkie hates the cold and the snow, so she mostly stays inside and runs around like a nut trying to get some exercise. When we do go out, I put a sweater on her and then a jacket over that. She looks like a little stuffed sausage!!

Posted by: Sportschick | January 4, 2018 1:17 PM    Report this comment

I'm in PEI Canada. Lot of snow here, especially today - huge storm. I've been using boots from dogbooties.com. Excellent products from a company in Anchorage AK. I use the water resistant ones (1000 Denier Cordura®)in spring/fall (mud, slush etc.) but now it's just the cloth ones (330 Denier Cordura® Booties) - prevents ice balls on pads, salt between toes and so on. I highly recommend these boots.

Posted by: islander | January 4, 2018 1:17 PM    Report this comment

I live in Minnesota where it can be quite cold. We haven't gotten above 0°F this week I don't think, certainly not while I've been home from work. We do a few things to manage the cold. The old dog gets a coat when he goes out any time it's below 10°F. Nobody plays outside if it's below 10°F. When it gets down to 0°F the dogs get a choice of a coat (if you run away from the coat you're going out anyhow). For their feet for normal potty trips (under 5 minutes) we don't do anything. For longer outings (10min and up) I usually put on soft booties from dogbooties.com to prevent ice balls between the toes. I don't have them try them out in the house, but I do get them used to them in the summer playing in the yard and running with them on on grass a few times before we need them.

I also underdress myself for all the outings, when I'm too cold we all go home, even if they're not done. Last week we had a brief spell with temps up over 10 and there was a several mile bikejoring run with studded bike tires and dog boots and everyone had a good time.

Posted by: LThomas987 | January 4, 2018 1:07 PM    Report this comment

We wear boots! Absolutely. We are in Winnipeg, Canada. Without boots in our -30C (or colder) weather these days our big furry golden retrievers could not make it more than 10 minutes without lifting their paws. Proper fitting boots keep their feet warmer while protecting from sand and salt. Yes, we still limit their time outside, and no, they do not love the boots. They accept them. With their boots on, at least we can get a couple of shorter walks in throughout the day. And that makes them happy!

Posted by: TwoGoldenBoys | January 4, 2018 12:59 PM    Report this comment

I live in NYC and it gets cold here and we also get snow, since my 15 year old Maltipoo is not much of a walker when it's winter. Once it gets cold I put reusable rubber boots from Pawz on her feet and she has a nice warm coats.

Posted by: Dmae | January 7, 2015 8:58 PM    Report this comment

As a follow up to my first post.... after practicing in the house, today we tried the boots outside... Wow. Colossal failure. One fell over in about 10 minutes, the others slipped down so he was walking on the backs with the bottoms flapping in front of his toes. So, they will be a donate item. However, I did have a brainstorm ... why not use vet wrap on his feet when we go out. I have a horse so my supply is plentiful. It sticks to itself and it conforms to the feet.

Posted by: karia0429 | January 7, 2015 8:48 PM    Report this comment

Although you write about areas in Northern latitudes, we in NYC have problems with the cold also. We only had two inches of snow yesterday, but a winter coat is a must for my 100 pound Labradoodle. It's 23 degrees outside, but the wind chill makes it feel like 5. We walk at least two miles both morning and afternoon and the icicles that form around his snout make him look like a walrus!
Additionally, ice balls form inside the paw pad area and in between the toes. Compound that with salt and the usual brisk walk can be difficult. I have tried Musher's Wax, booties, you name it...the ice balls still get in there.
When we do get home, I have a basin of warm water waiting for him, and wash his paws throughly.

Posted by: Rbert135 | January 7, 2015 11:10 AM    Report this comment

Hello from very cold northeast Minnesota. Give Granite Gear a try for dog coats, backpacks and all kinds of well-made stuff. I have a polar fleece-lined rain jacket that is on it's second dog (Golden Retrievers both) and it is very effective. Try dogbooties.com for, you guessed it, great dog boots and materials to make your own boots. My friend's miniature Dachshund has very strangely shaped feet that need boots all winter long. She makes her own from thick fleece, leather soles and stretchable Velcro. They work a treat.

Posted by: carasmom | January 7, 2015 12:04 AM    Report this comment

I live in Calgary AB and like Edmonton....it gets pretty cold here. I have two goldens who need to get outside for a walk at least twice a day otherwise they go squirrelly. If the temperature dips below -20c, it is time to bring out the fleece booties. They are not thick but they do protect their paws from the cold and whatever salt or chemicals are used on the sidewalks. When the temperature is below -30c we still go for our walks, but they are much shorter in duration and we supplement their exercise with inside games. I also walk dogs at the local humane society. The dogs there may get a coat if they are short haired, but never boots. We monitor them for signs of cold and will shorten a walk if needed. Since their walks are often the only time they will get out of their kennels, we go out whatever the weather.

Posted by: SharonL | January 6, 2015 9:18 PM    Report this comment

Here, (Northern New South Wales, Australia) we stick to cooling coats for the dogs, or thundercoats. Or for the Chinese created, sun-blocker coats ;-)

Posted by: Jenny H | January 6, 2015 7:22 PM    Report this comment

We live in Cranbrook BC, and yes Bea, the bullmastiff wears boots AND a warm waterproof coat... made by Greenhawk! We can dip to -20 on a regular basis!

Posted by: Barb Barbour | January 6, 2015 1:50 PM    Report this comment

I live in the Pacific Northwest. Our winter temps can be in the 20s and 30s, not the bitter temps of the Midwest. My dog is half Dalmatian and half German Shorthair pointer. She's extremely active and has a thin coat and no fat layer. I don't worry about her when she's running - even in rain and snow her activity keeps her warm. My main concern is if I have to leave her sitting in the car for an hour or two. I found a great dog coat for active dogs from Ultra Paws - it has a waterproof exterior and fleece lining. They specialize in gear for active dogs and she can run thru the woods without it getting hung up. She loves to have me put it on. Maybe she even feels stylish!

Posted by: apalmer123 | January 6, 2015 12:12 PM    Report this comment

My standard poodles loved to play outside until they had snowballs in their feet. Then they would just look at me and hold up the problem foot. Muttluks to the rescue! They are wonderful boots for dogs. The poodles only fought me once on putting those boots on. They could play at the park until I was too cold. We could go for walks on our salted streets. These boots have leather bottoms, Velcro straps and long knit cuffs so they seem comfortable, protect the hair on lower legs, and really stay on an active dog. People only laughed until they saw how well they worked.

Posted by: Carol L. | January 6, 2015 11:18 AM    Report this comment

I've lived as far north as NE Ohio where the temperature one time dipped as low as -27 (fortunately NOT a regular occurrence!). I found that our Pekingese didn't mind the cold for short periods (thick hair and furry feet)--of course they were inside other than for short dashes out to relieve themselves. Our German Shepherd LOVED the cold and snow--the minute he saw snowflakes he started whining to go out and play in it. However, when our last Peke died and we got a Boston Terrier (very little hair) she we had to look into clothes for her. For short excursions just to pee she was OK with just a sweater. Later, I moved to Kentucky (which should be warmer you'd think--but sometimes not..) and as she got older I found that she appreciated warmer clothes for longer outings such as hikes. The first time I put snow boots on her there was a learning curve to wearing them--I tossed treats around the living room so she'd learn to move with the boots on--but the first time she actually went outside in the cold snow with the boots--after 2-3 minutes of slogging around in them there was an AH_HA moment when she realized that her feet weren't cold anymore---she suddenly started running and playing--Happy, Happy, Happy!
After that, I won't say that she actually LIKED wearing the boots, but she did seem to understand that they made her more comfortable. I also got her a fleece snow suit with full legs and a hood and layered that with a top coat when needed.
And I did have a raincoat for her, too. I found that she did NOT like the hard plastic parkas (the noise of the rain hitting it seemed to bother her) so I found a softer nylon raincoat by Outward Hound that worked for her.

On the flip side--my current Sheltie mix seems to be mostly OK without "clothes" (though I do put a raincoat on her for heavy rain). As she gets older I will probably put a topcoat on her for severe cold but boots only if she "tells" me her feet are cold (she does have furry feet).

Posted by: PJKutscher | January 6, 2015 10:45 AM    Report this comment

Musher's Secret!! We don't get much snow in Vancouver, but when we do, or when it's icy and they've salted the roads I use Musher's Secret on my border terrier's paws. Works like a dream, preventing snow balls in paws, and salt burns. It doesn't smell weird, and doesn't stain anything in the house. Coats....don't need one, as she is never still long enough on our walks to actually get cold!

Posted by: Cami | January 6, 2015 10:27 AM    Report this comment

Northeast Ohioans surely get our fair share of wintery days filled with snow and frigid temps! My Greyhound's get up garb is a snood wool coat with pullover scarf to keep his ears warm, as well as rubber booties that fit his paws like a glove, yet not cumbersome. He can still 'feel' the ground with them as they are form fitting. Despite the cold, he still counts on his daily walkees!

Posted by: Houndz6 | January 6, 2015 10:25 AM    Report this comment

I live in northern British Columbia, not quite as cold as next door in Edmonton (it's the plains), but last weekend it was -25 C. When I first moved here it would go to -40 C for days on end. And in that kind of cold, no dog other than malamutes or huskys go out for long and even those breeds suffer if left unprotected. Dogs differ in tolerance and in age. When my German Shepherd was 1, he would happily walk in -35 C weather. At 9, he manages 15 quick minutes at -20 and he happiest at -15. The little beagle cross won't go anywhere unless it is -15. Boots help most against slush and ice crystals, not cold. Coats don't cover vulnerable ankles in 10 inches of snow. Sometimes all you can do is figure out indoor games, bals thrown down the hallways, searches for treats, and the special treat flulng out the door as persuasion to go out and do what's necessary quick before running for the door. And wait for a thaw.

Posted by: Annie | January 6, 2015 10:18 AM    Report this comment

We had a Keeshound when we lived in Kansas, she loved to play in the snow. If we stayed out very long we would warm her feet and take the snow clumps off her. She loved to go sledding with the kids and would pull them. They have a long coat with a wool undercoat. It was the heat we had to worry about. Never shave them because their skin can burn. She would go lay on the air vents when they went on and laid on the van seat closes to the air vent. I would love to see a dog and summer heat article when the weather warms up.

Posted by: Candie | January 6, 2015 10:08 AM    Report this comment

I live just outside of Washington, DC, or "the land of salt in winter." We don't get a lot of snow, but at the smallest mention of it there are literally piles of salt in the street and on the sidewalks. Last year I broke down and got some booties after my poor dog would just stop walking, raise her paws, and look at me whimpering. She hated the booties at first, but within just a few minutes she was walking like a champ! Our American Water Spaniel's webbed toes fill with snow balls, so if we get outside before the salt trucks, Musher's Secret helps them slide right out.

Posted by: LauraC | January 6, 2015 9:41 AM    Report this comment

I have had many breeds of dogs over the past 36 years (Doberman, Bouvier, Italian Spinone and now Standard Poodle) and rarely have I ever put garments on my dogs. All my dogs have gone for at least a one-hour off-leash walk every day, no matter what the weather has been. If it is raining a torrential downpour I will put a water-proof coat on my dog. Certainly, if we lived in the city, I would put booties on my dog's feet if there was salt on the ground after a snow storm but my dog runs in the woods so I do not have to concern myself with that. We live in MA and ME and the winters can be pretty brutal but I have never had an issue with my dogs running gleefully through the woods au naturale. None of my dogs ever seemed to mind any type of weather the Northeast sends our way. It was always just another blast in the woods. Woohoo!!

Posted by: Hugo's Mom | January 6, 2015 9:29 AM    Report this comment

Musher's Secret! It's the greatest stuff in the world. It's thicker than petroleum jelly and is quite safe to use on a dog's paws (even if they lick it). Before I found it, my dog would stop walking every 10 feet or so if there was snow on the ground, and lift up one of her feet for me to pick out the snow clumps and ice balls. With Musher's Secret, we can walk several miles without her stopping. Just make sure to smear it quite thick in between each of the pads so snow and ice can't get in there. Look online to get the best price.

Posted by: Cate | January 6, 2015 9:28 AM    Report this comment

Here in the mountains of Colorado, dogs are torn between loving the outdoor adventures with their peeps, and suffering from the cold. I've been selling outdoor gear for dogs in my store for 11 years, and feel that although there are some great coats, sweaters and foot gear available, more work needs to be done on designs that work for different body types, and permit full range of movement. RuffWear makes the very best dog boots, BUT they are all designed for cat-footed (round) dogs. Hare feet just can't benefit from them, as they are sized by width, and always too short for the full-foot protection. The booties for very small dogs are pitiful -- designed for cuteness but give no protection. It would be difficult to make tiny boots that are protective, but hey -- if we can make footwear for every human sport and foot shape... My own dogs, short haired mutts, get to choose when and for how long they go outside, and prefer having their feet treated with Mushers' Secret to wearing boots. Good fitting 100% wool sweaters are their preferred outerwear (Chilly Dog makes good ones that are affordable) but they would rather stay in when it gets really cold. And OF COURSE I shovel a potty area for them, and a path to it, when the snow gets deep!

Posted by: LaurieR | January 6, 2015 9:25 AM    Report this comment

Buster is a 14 year old Yorkie with Cushing's. He wears a few layers these days. The first layer is a Possum-Merino coat from Rover Cozy in N.Z. Next he has a down filled coat from Joy Pet Products in the U.S., and then a genuine shearling coat from Alliedog in N.Z., which is excellent in wind, rain, and freezing rain.
He does not seem to mind being bundled up, and he even takes his time sniffing all the good smells outside. He is deaf and blind, so his sense of smell is the one he uses for all his information!
The coats from New Zealand can be ordered online according to size, and have been a great investment in warmth.

Posted by: lilbit | January 6, 2015 9:25 AM    Report this comment

I live in upstate New York with my two Welsh Terriers, and it gets cold, snowy, sleety, icy, and generally miserable in the dead of winter. My dogs have winter coats from a Sweedish company named "Obtrack". These are the best coats for them. Made from great materials, and best of all, covers the belly, which is important in deep snow. The coats are waterproof, wind resistant and warm, and fully adjustable. There is a high neck collar for extra warmth. On their feet I use "Musher's Secret" out of Canada... It protects the paws, prevents snow balls from forming in between their toes, and prevents the salt from the roads from hurting their feet..

Posted by: Darcydorwart | January 6, 2015 9:23 AM    Report this comment

We have heavy fleece coats with a waterproof outer shell and attached snoods; and specially made greyhound booties (longer in the leg to help keep them on better) for when our kids go out into the Maine winters. But mostly they just want to stay inside.

Posted by: YIKMDLF | January 6, 2015 9:00 AM    Report this comment

I live in Michigan, too, and currently we're experiencing bitter cold weather. I have a Catahoula Leopard who is short-haired, single coated, and she wears a lined, ripstop nylon, full-body coat, so it's both warm AND freezing rain proof. I also have a German Shephard/Rottie mix. She inherited the Shephard's robust double coat, so she goes out without a coat. But they both wear boots either when it's this cold, or warmer, sometimes even in the summer when sidewalks can burn their footpads. The salt in winter not only can burn their feet, but when they wash, they lick that salt off and swallow it, and it can harm their health in other ways as well, so I'm very careful about keeping their boots on them. I would love to find them boots that like to stay on their feet though. The pups are like toddlers who keep losing their mittens. LOL

Posted by: BClare | January 6, 2015 8:57 AM    Report this comment

I live in Chicago with my best friend, Buzz. Buzz does not tolerate the cold well. He is a Puggle. Today it is 1 degree outside. We use baloonies for the feet, a sweater and a coat over the sweater. The coat covers his chest, which is important because he is low to the ground. It also has a hood that covers Buzz's huge ears. The baloonies, Buzz prefers over the boot/sock type booties. With the baloonies, he can still feel the ground and that makes all the difference to him. Salt is EVERYWHERE here, so the booties are a must!!! Now when Buzz comes in, he has his own electric blanket. My dog hates cold weather!

Posted by: liz1 | January 6, 2015 8:51 AM    Report this comment

I live in Michigan. My little dog has a medium length coat. However, he was adopted from a shelter in WV so is not used to the treacherous winters we get here (today it is -3 with the wind chill). I bought him a water repellant oilskin coat. It's lined with fleece and has an inner layer for warmth. After looking at a number of coats that left the last 4 inches of his back exposed, I contacted Yuppy Yaps (in New Zealand) and Cathy made him one that is fitted to his length and height. She's wonderful. She sells her products on eBay but if you contact her directly and send measurements she will make to fit. It was no more expensive than lesser quality store bought ones, better made, very durable and perfect for him. Shipping didn't take very long. We have boots. We're practicing using them in the house first before dealing with the icy/snow lumps/bumps outside.

Posted by: karia0429 | January 6, 2015 8:46 AM    Report this comment

My 7 year old Shihtzu/Bichon, Oscar, LOVES to wear his winter boots. He was less than a year old when he experienced his first Minnesota winter. He took to his boots immediately! He wears the Muttluks winter boots. I don't even think he attempted to get them off. He quickly found out that he could play in the snow much longer when they were on. He also has a down winter jacket that covers his tummy. Up until it got REALLY cold (we're talking -30 wind chills), we were still heading out for walks. I'd like to get him a snood so that his ears are also covered. I know they sell dog hats, but there are holes for the ears. What good is that?!

We've just adopted a 6 year old Maltese/Poodle girl. I need to get her a pair of boots too. The three of us have only gone on one walk where it was warm enough to not wear boots. Jackets, yes.

We have an awesome electronic dog door that allows the dogs full access to our big fenced yard, so they can quickly run out, go potty, and then run back in. Sometimes it's a two-trip adventure.. run outside, pee, run inside. Warm up, then run outside and do a "big job" and run back in. The husband blows all of the snow out of the backyard so that they don't have to step in the snow.

In the non-fiction book "The Adventures of Tom and Atticus", the author has his miniature schnauzer wearing a snowsuit and boots while climbing mountains. Smart guy and even smarter dog!

Posted by: KimberlyO | January 6, 2015 8:46 AM    Report this comment

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