New Hurtta winter gear in action
I almost,…dare I say it,…regretted leaving Belgium when we drove north from a frosted Flanders to a miserable muddy Sweden. During the drizzly days, the early December snow washed away, leaving nothing but a gloomy landscape. But then suddenly, the heavy rain transformed into swirling snowflakes, all night long and we got a white Christmas after all!
But it’s not just us who are happy as children after waking up in a winter wonderland, even the dogs let their inner puppy out to run out and play. Those kinds of moments of pure happiness and joy make me utterly grateful. Snow is one thing, but when even the sun comes out to play, it’s simply pure magic.
In the run-up to winter, we’ve never been this well-equipped as this year, with a huge thanks to Hurtta who sponsored us with all kinds of cool dog gear. Now the cold days have arrived and we got a chance to put some gear to use, it’s time to share some pictures and experiences.
Lizzie, our Greek goddess really hates being cold and wet. She has the most useless fur for our climate but luckily enough sense of humor to see the fun in heaps of snow and frozen lakes. And as long as we make sure she has some warm layers to protect her from the elements, she’s just happy to join us on whatever expedition we go.
Once it’s getting colder, she almost constantly wears a sweater, or in the picture above, her new Midlayer Overall. This garment is great for chilly but dry days, or as a base layer. On the Hurtta website, they showed, for example, the combination of the Midlayer Overall and the Mudventure overall, which regret not thinking about earlier.
This bright Expedition Parka had been on Lizzie’s wishlist for a while as I was looking for something warmer than her Monsoon coat (a raincoat), but more waterproof than the Extreme Warmer. I got this coat with Belgian winters in mind as they can be cold, windy, and wet. I often checked her fur under the coat and it was always dry and warm (as she prefers it). Extra points for visibility (her extreme warmer is grey).
For dogs like Mogwai or Oona, this coat would probably be too warm, especially during activity, that’s why they both got a Weekend Warrior Warming Harness which has a heat-reflecting foil lining (like the Extreme Warmer coat). On active walks where they can choose their own tempo and when it’s not too cold (it was about -8*C here), it’s definitely enough.
Whenever they would have to adjust their tempo to us, or we’d be in the car for a while, I pack some extra layers like the Razzle Dazzle Midlayer or even the Extreme warmer.
Questions we often get when it comes to dog clothes:
Q: How do you know your dog is cold?
A: They might be shivering and/or bristling their hair up (it’s called piloerection’ – the equivalent of getting goose-bumps). It looks especially weird on their heads – I call it the MonChiChi effect.
Q: Why not let their fur adjust itself, they are dogs, not dolls.
A: Ever tried making a Newfoundlander out of a Chihuahua? 🙂 Not all dogs have the ability to grow a thick warm undercoat. Of my 3 dogs, Oona has the best coat that barely gets wet or dirty- still, there is a limit to what she can take. Mogwai’s fur becomes very fluffy during the winter months, but not as warm as Oona’s, and she’s almost 10. And Lizzie is just hopeless. She has almost no hair, no undercoat, and no physical strategy to cope. We have tried stretching her tolerance a bit, but there is no good reason to make my dogs uncomfortable if there is a simple solution.
Q: How do you know what to buy when there are so many options?
A: Partly is trial and error, partly listening to my dogs. When you’re looking for a coat you probably have an idea of why you want to get something and that defines the features you want to look for.
If you just want to keep your dog dry (to keep the house or dog clean, to keep them dry after surgery or skin issue, when you’re traveling in a van, …) a thin raincoat or overall will do- there is no reason to melt your dog. But if your dog is easily cold, that rain protector could have some extra insulation. If a dog hates their paws being touched, an overall might be a bigger struggle than a raincoat.
Q: My dog hates just anything on their body, how did you learn your dogs to accept coats?
A: Some dogs take it easier than others. Lizzie, for example, used to freeze when I put on anything but a collar. The first thing that changed is that she noticed that strange new objects bring joy. A new harness meant being allowed to pull during hikes (she loves pulling but is now allowed to do so with a collar), a jumper meant being warmer, and coats made her comfortable during cold winters. By then I also added the words of the objects so she knew what I was about to do. (“want your sweater?”, “Harness on” or “harness off”,…). And last but not least, I give her time to prepare and tell me when she’s ready- especially to put her head through a harness or coat. I put my hand through, stick it out, and wait for her to lay her head in my hand before pulling something over her head. By now, all this gear has a positive connotation. With Oona, Mogwai, and my previous dogs, it was often enough to just go for a walk or do something fun to make them forget about the weird new object.
Q: What do you find important/useful features in a winter coat?
A: high neck, adjustable waist, chest coverage, long enough on the back, covering the hips/legs. Extra points for some reflective elements.
Until 30/12 you can use our discount code “HurttaXmasDogvision” for -15% on the Hurtta.com website.