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Nov 05, 2012  |  Vote 0    0

PETS - Gear up your pup for winter now, says Citizen Canine

It seems to be human nature that while enjoying one season, we are looking toward the next, and in Canada it always seems to come at lightning speed. 

It seems bathing suits turn to pumpkin eating and then to stringing up Christmas lights before we have time to turn around. But winter is just moments away and being prepared will make sure the whole family stays warm and dry.

Deciding if your dog needs to gear up, and what that entails, should be done now. 

The question is whether your dog will benefit, or even enjoy, the luxury of a new winter coat and boots. 

Many may scoff the idea, but think about it in realistic terms – most dogs, especially those in the GTA, are kept indoors for most of the time. This is not the dog’s natural habitat. 

If he lived outdoors all year long he would develop a full, thick winter coat to keep away the blustery winds. 

Our family pets do not have this opportunity, but still need to go out for regular walks. Unless your dog is very thick coated, he would benefit from an additional layer before bounding out to help you build a snowman.

This is the best time of the year to buy a winter coat for your dog as there are lots to choose from. 

Just like people-clothing retailers, most pet shops order in the supply of dog coats they think they will need in a variety of styles, sizes, colours and of course, price ranges. 

There is an abundance to choose from. But wait until the first snowy day and the story will be different. While some stores may restock, many don’t and you only have the option of choosing from the remaining coats. This is all well and good unless you had your heart set on the faux fur leopard skin jacket or the little yellow four-legged snow coat.

Boots are another consideration. 

Many dogs, of all sizes, benefit from wearing boots in the winter. This will make their walks far more comfortable as the salt from the roads and sidewalks will not irritate their paw pads. 

It is not just a luxury item or fashion statement any more. Muttlucks make a great boot, There are many dog boot companies, so take your time and find what suits your needs. 

They come with reflective strips, rubber soles, Velcro closures and in a wide variety of sizes. While it may sound silly, I can assure you that without his boots, one of my dogs would not have a comfortable walk. 

If boots are not your thing, check out one of the many salves available to apply to the paw pads of your dog to help combat the sting of the salt. Ask your local pet retailer what they suggest.

And where does that leave us humans in the clothing department? 

Yes, it is necessary to walk your dogs summer and winter and the best way to make the most of your walk at this chilly time of the year is to dress for it yourself. 

Wrapping your entire body in polar fleece with a nylon outershell and maybe even donning the most unstylish of winter boots will ensure you and your favorite walking companion will get through this winter toasty warm.

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Gillian Ridgeway has been featured in many media interviews and is a writer for various dog publications. Her involvement as the founding member of two dog training associations ensures she remains current on training issues. Gillian is an in-demand speaker at many trainer and vet tech conferences and a guest lecturer at the University of Toronto, using dogs to shed light on learning theory to the psychology students. Contact her at 416-465-3626; 905-619-1733 or wwww.whoswalkingwho.ca

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