The winter has been long in many parts of Canada – so you may have found that taking your Airedale for a long walk in deep wet snow without boots can lead to this:
With Spring around the corner, I have begun anticipating the warmer days of mud and puddles that will mean I can walk the Airedales without all the winter accoutrements. We live in Eastern Ontario and get our share of snow and cold days. Since walking the dogs isn’t an option but a necessity, finding ways of dealing with our Canadian winters makes these walks manageable. Sure you can just put your dale in the shower for a warm hose down but to create a truly snowball-free terrier; you’ll need some winter gear. Here are my top suggestions:
Coats: When the snow gets deep and or when it is close to -20 I often put coats on the dogs. The coats are occasionally for warmth but most times they wear them to limit the amount of snow coming back into my home. While blanket coats (http://www.chillydogs.ca/index.php/product/index/30) are easy to put on and take off, they do not keep the long furnishings dry. For wet or heavy snow I prefer coats with legs and then I pull the boots up to meet the coat. On a side note, I’ve also found that letting the fur coats grow creates a good insulating layer for those frigid days. I get the dogs groomed in early October and let the fur grow until March. They are wooly and look like fuzzy teddy bears but with weekly combing and brushing they are matt-free.
Boots: I have tried a few different types of boots and have found the Mutt Luks (http://www.muttluks.com/product_home.php?cat=2) to be the best value for the money (I picked up a new pair -size large- for less than forty dollars at Petsmart). They have a long sock top that you can pull right up to cover lots of leg. The common complaint I hear about these boots is that they don’t stay on to which I offer this solution: hockey tape! Not the textured type you would put on a hockey stick but the clear equipment tape used to keep shin guards in place. This tape pulls on and off very easily without damaging the boots yet will not come off during a vigorous run in deep snow. I pull the boots on the dogs then put the stocking part up the legs and do two quick wraps around the ankle area (just above the Velcro) with the hockey tape. We haven’t lost a boot in 10 years!!
The groundhog said spring will be here next week. We still have our doggie coats and boots by the door just in case.
– Steph MacNeill