Sunday, November 24, 2013

Holly, it's cold outside: Winter Walking Essentials for You and Your Pooch

From early November decorations to holiday music playing on loop in Petco, New York got into the holiday spirit very early this year. One look at the forecast this morning showed that the weather decided to join in on the trend as well.

I was hoping to wait until Black Friday to stock up on our cold weather walking gear, but a forecast of 23 degrees and wind made me wish I had started a little earlier! Here's what Holly and I rely on for Winter weather walks, and what we hope to add to our closet next week (if we don't freeze by then!). 

For me: I already love my 3 in 1 jacket from Colombia Sportswear, which has a waterproof hooded shell exterior and a zip out fleece liner that allows you to wear it as a windbreaker, standalone fleece jacket, or the way I wear it the most as a fleece lined windbreaker that can also stand up against surprise freezing rain or snow. It also has huge pockets that fit my phone, pedometer, gloves, and spare treats for clicker training. I found mine on Sierra Trading Post for more than 60% off and .99 shipping, and they currently stock many similar styles for the upcoming season. 

This Colombia Sportswear 3 in 1 jacket keeps me insulated from all kinds of walking weather,
and has roomy pockets for treats.
One of the things I have the hardest time with is finding gloves for walking Holly. Many traditional gloves are too thick and slippery, making it difficult for me to have a firm grip on Holly's leash (absolutely necessary for the moments she sees a squirrel and goes dashing through the snow). The best solution I have found are gloves designed for winter horseback riding. They have to be warm enough to protect a rider's hands from the outdoor elements, while thin enough and with enough grip for them to control the horse's reigns and cue their movements. Dover Saddlery offers pairs for under $20 that are warm and have extra grip so your pup's leash stays safely in hand. 

Riding gloves proved the perfect solution to our warmth & leash grip needs.
I have two go-to footwear items for Winter months. The first, for chilly days where snow and ice are not an issue and I want to be able to have the freedom of movement provided by a traditional athletic sneaker, are my Adidas Climawarm Blast Running Shoes. They are designed to keep feet warm and dry during outdoor walks and runs in cold weather, and are still supportive enough for long park treks on the weekends. 

For icy and snowy days when the treads on a running shoe just won't cut it, I reach for my Sorel Tivoli boots. They are just as warm as my favorite Uggs while being much more water resistant, allowing me to tackle icy puddles in the street and muddy paths in the park while still keeping my toes toasty. 

Now for our Winter Walk Wishlist: it became apparent this morning that my standard yoga pants  would not stand up to freezing winds, and I need something more to keep my legs warm. Luckily yoga clothes guru Lululemon has a pair of pants specifically designed for outdoor dog walks in chilly temperatures, the Dog Runner Pant, which features a wind and mud resistant exterior and a cozy "Rulu" lined interior that wicks away moisture and keeps legs warm. 

I was not the only one suffering from cold weather blues this morning, though. Holly had a growth spurt this year that left her backside hanging out of her puffy coat and shivering in the freezing wind!! As a quick fix, we ordered a Fido Fleece jacket from Amazon, which will cover her legs, tummy, and bottom under her current jacket to keep her extra warm on blustery days.

After Black Friday, we hope to add the Ralph Lauren Striped Reversible Dog Vest in pink and navy to Holly's Winter wardrobe, which when combined with the Fido Fleece will have Holly covered from neck to tail and keep her comfy enough to enjoy our long walks even when the weather dips below freezing. 

These cold weather staples should allow us to continue our fun morning routine of long walks even now that New York's notorious Winter seems to be upon us. But if all else fails, Holly knows the recipe for a perfect snowy Sunday is a cozy blanket and a full Netflix Queue. 

Until Next Time, Darlings!

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