walking in the winter

Black dog Tom standing in the snow with a mound of snow on the tip of his nose

Folks often ask me how I get out in the cold with the dogs so often.  What is my go-to gear.  A few words:  YakTrax, Musher’s Secret, Flip Mittens and Fleece Lined Cap.

4 products that make walking in the cold, ice and snow do-able for the canine crew and me.

I have no vested interest in any of these companies, I just really appreciate their products, have used them for many years and wanted to pass along my field tested experience with them.  Your experience may differ or vary, that’s ok.

YakTrax if you are unfamiliar are sort of like crampons, only less of the impale your dog’s foot with a spike when you accidentally step on them risk.  YakTrax design is a rubber webbing of sorts that fits around your shoes or boots, then the rubber is surrounded by a thin metal coil that grips into the ice increasing your traction.  No spikes.  Just wire.  Safer for dog feet around a klutz like me.

Musher’s Secret is amazing stuff.  Especially when you have a dog with an over anglulated rear who when he walks his rear feet brush his front feet meaning no dog boots ever made will actually stay on his feet.  Trust me I’ve tried.  So many styles, so many times.  It’s a paw wax that I smear on their feet right before we go out, it helps to keep snow balls from forming between their pads and if we happen to cross paths with salted areas, helps to keep the salt from causing ouchy feet.  Over the years I’ve tried the brand name and the off brand ones, I always end up back to the Musher’s Secret, it just seems to work more effectively with less need for reapplication.

Flip Mittens.  Are my best winter friend.  I wear thin fleece gloves under them, then my thick bright orange flip mittens.  When it’s super cold, I switch to down filled mittens over my fleece gloves, but for most of the winter the flip mittens are my go to.

A couple of years ago I came across the fleece lined cap that Duluth Trading makes and it has become my winter go to.  Brimmed hats are a necessity anytime I step outside my door, and most winter hats don’t have a brim, this one does.  I also need the option to not have something over my ears so I can hear the traffic.  Duluth makes a fleece ear thing they call the Shoreman’s Ear Flap that fits around any brimmed cap that I love.  As it’s easy for me to keep 1 or both ears uncovered, or depending on where I am both covered (like in the woods).

Do you have any favorite go-to winter gear that enables you to get out with your dog?

25 thoughts on “walking in the winter

  1. It’s weird for us when it snows because we never have much snow here. Rain pants, rain jacket, and duck boots are usually what I need when the weather turns ugly. But snow gear? What???
    For cold weather though, I usually just wear what I wear, (I’ll be honest, most of the time that’s a flannel shirt and jeans, I hate wearing nice clothes,) plus long johns, with a fleece, gloves, and hat. Molly has a coat, it’s adorable, and Brèagha does not, because she has long hair, but she is still adorable.

    1. I’m with you on the hating to wear nice cloths. why do they have to be so uncomfortable?! lol rain gear is great to have and a must as well. Though I have to say when we’re walking in the rain, I rarely wear my rain coat, it just ends up too hot and sticky, I’d rather get wet. Awe Molly in her coat, must be so cute!

      1. Yeah I generally don’t wear the rain coat in the summer, only when it’s cold. I guess if the rain coat were able to breathe then it would let water in, so it has to be that way. But yeah, nice clothes are never usually comfortable, and then you have to try not to get them dirty, which is hard for me. If my dog demands cuddles, then she gets them, I don’t care what I’m wearing.

  2. when we lived in the city we had paw mitts because of the salt. Yesterday we were walking our little dog Tia in the city and we no longer have any paw mitts and she was quite unhappy. Understandably . We won’t do that again until winter is over.

  3. Your list is great. I don’t know what I would do without Yaktrax and Musher’s Secret. In the dead of winter, it is dark outside for at least half of our walks. I usually put a reflective vest on my GSD Milo and I wear a blaze orange fleece touque. Both he and I have dark coats, and I worry about drivers being able to see us, especially when the streets are slippery.

    1. Thanks for the reminders on those! Reflective and visible gear is so important. Sometimes in the winter when the snow is creating loads of glare, I put those on us even during daylight walks to try to increase visibility to drivers. Glad you and Milo are well outfitted too!

      1. I have a similar post that I just put up. I direct people here, since this one was up first. I am not sure of the ethics of this, and I will take mine down if you would like. Just let me know.

  4. Thanks for sharing about Musher’s Secret. We’ve tried different boots, but haven’t had much luck. For our very short-haired wimp (I mean, love of our lives), winter outings are all about how quickly he can do his business and get back inside. I think Musher’s Secret might help his very sensitive paws and minimize the waving them around in the air saying, “Please help me. My foot is cold.”

    1. Oh poor fellow not enjoying the cold. Yea Tom can have rather wimpy feet too and the Musher’s Secret makes a huge positive difference for him. Yesterday we went out in the park to walk and it was frigid I know had I not applied Mushers Secret at the start Tom would have been 3 legging it along the way with ouchy cold feet. Instead he had a blast and was full steam ahead the entire walk. Hope it helps your pup too!

        1. Depends on how long they’ve been out, but generally no. If I was putting it on just for a quick potty break outside, I might do a quick wipe off, but if they are out for any length of time or on a walk no need to wipe it off once home.

  5. I just heard about Musher’s Secret yesterday on an NPR program featuring a panel of vets. I’ll have to get some. My Danes don’t go on proper walks very often, but they do like to romp about in their kennel. Of course, after the romp, it’s a quick beeline back to the couch!

    1. It really is good stuff, I’ve been using it for many years at this point and recommended it to countless folks. Hope it works for you 2 as well! I can see it in my mind, 2 danes romping and bouncing in the snow, so cute!

      1. I was thinking about vet visits and how I always cringe when we have to walk through the salt. I know they use the pet-friendly stuff, but still… This will be great! Yes, they are quite the sight. They were just romping in the living room and I fear for my life, but they have so much fun!

  6. I use Musher’s secret too. It’s also good for summertime when the pavement is hot. For body warmth in winter I finally sprung for a full length down coat. I love it!

    1. I’d not thought to try it in summer, great idea! Absolutely full length coat, I have one for really cold days, glad you have one too now, stay warm 🙂

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