Winter is on the way! Many of us will be excited about this, and so will most of our furry family members. Yet, just like people, some animals aren’t the biggest fans of the mysteriously cold and fluffy stuff. With winter comes the opportunity to explore your own winter wonderland, if you’re into that. Whatever your style, there is a furry friend out there that will perfectly suit you, and there are some amazing products out that can facilitate your personalized adventure needs.
Did you know that dogs, and some cat breeds, have two coats of fur? It’s true. Close to the skin lies a shorter and fluffier layer of fur, which acts as a secondary insulator (skin and fat being primary) and heat generator, much like the layer of down feathers in your jacket. The second, usually longer and coarser layer, shields the wind and helps lock in body heat through conduction. It also shields the body from light moisture and snow, and the longer the fur, the better they seem to fare in colder climates and conditions. Contrarily, in the warmer months they shed quite a bit from these layers, and the process works somewhat in reverse, keeping the heat out and cooling the air around the body. What amazing children we have!
Some breeds adapt extremely well in winter conditions, and you may say that some even thrive in it. Sturdy breeds like the Alaskan Malamute, Akita, Bernese Mountain Dog, Siberian Husky, Newfoundland, and German Shepherd are all counting down the days until the first snowfall or cold snap. Their longer fur keeps them surprisingly warm as they prance through the snow.
Smaller breeds like the Chihuahua might not be as excited as others about the changing temperatures, nor the thought of venturing outside in it. Smaller breeds tend to have thinner coats, less heat-generating muscle, and less insulating body fat. This means that they may need the proper gear to help their little bodies regulate temperature and keep the cold out.
Coats, sweaters, and jackets are a great way to insulate, should the need arise. If your Fido is lacking in the organic coat department, don’t worry, a fleece or wool sweater should do the trick. There are also a variety of light to heavier jackets and coats that are available. They come in almost every size and in a variety of colors.
Say you and your furry friends are habitually the more adventurous type and find yourselves setting out on trek after trek; you may want to consider purchasing booties for your buddy. They are lifesavers for those that like the path that’s less taken and like to go that literal extra mile. Like any skin layer, the pads on the feet of a dog adapt to the amount of stress that they endure. If your dog’s pads are soft and unused to the outside in general, booties can act as a second layer of skin to protect them from sharp objects, frostbite, and the blistering cold. They are easy to get on and take off, store, and wash, and the sturdy Velcro bracelets that keep them on won’t allow the boot to fall off. Let’s face it, no one wants to have to turn around on a hike or walk because his or her feet hurt!
There are many backpacks available, as well, that are built to suit you and your adventure partner’s needs. These packs are light, comfortable, have plenty of pocket space, and even add an extra layer of insulation on cold days. The water-resistant pockets of these packs are a great place to store booties, treats, waste bags, collapsible water bowls, and even safety items such as emergency space blankets, waterproof matches, and safety whistles.
Let’s gear up and get out!