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Blizzard Busters: Extreme Weather Gear for Dogs

Posted on January 31 2014

Diehard Puffer Vest
As I write this, we're on our second blizzard of the winter here in New York, and the Polar Vortex is raging across much of the country yet again. It's bad enough when we have to go outside in this weather, but how do we make sure our furry friends are safe when they have to be outside? Their bodies can't withstand extreme temperatures for very long, so bundling them up properly and following some common-sense safety tips recommended by the experts is a good plan. The American Veterinary Medical Association has given some great tips on properly caring for your dog in very cold weather. Here are few:
* Make sure your pet is up to date on his exams. Some conditions can be worsened in the cold.

* Know your pet's tolerance to the cold. Older or arthritic dogs, short-haired or hairless dogs, and puppies have a lower threshold.

* Keep dogs inside as much as possible. Walks in harsh winter weather should be limited to relieving themselves. The rule of thumb seems to be, if you're cold, chances are your dog is, too. And with temps in some states descending well below zero, hypothermia and frostbite are real dangers to both you and your dog.

* Offer them a variety of safe, warm sleeping locations, as pets may change places to rest depending on their need for more or less warmth. I love this very cozy Invisible Bubble Bed, made from a frosted clear acrylic body with a warm, furry black shag pillow. How '70s! If you want more adventurous, this bed also comes with a red shag pillow and white body, as well as other color combinations. It's perfect for this kind of weather, where your dog can just curl up and be toasty.
* Keep your dog warm outside. To some (not Bitch New York or Bark and Swagger readers, of course!) :-), putting clothes on a dog may seem frivolous, but it can and will keep your dog warm in harsh weather. So, unless you have a big, hearty and furry dog, the experts recommend putting on a coat or warm layers. Keep their core (chest, back) and their feet warm and dry. I am such a fan of Orostani Couture and this black shearling, studded coat is just to die for! Olga Yuditsky, the designer, tells me people are always saying "I want that coat for me!" And, who can blame them? Plush, very warm, very chic. Available in sizes XXS - XL. Even in our house, it gets chilly on really cold days. So I like to keep a warm fleece for Sophie to wear.
This is a beautiful Navajo-inspired pullover fleece, with an eye-catching combination of blue, grey, black and a pop of red. It's machine washable and comes in sizes XXS - L. If you've got a very feminine baby, check out this Raspberry Cream Hoodie in a girlie pink variegated stripe and chocolate velour, with a crystal-embellished butterfly on the hood.
* Protect your dog's paws from the salt spread on the street that will burn their pads and from anti-freeze they may step on that is toxic if licked. Extreme cold can also give dogs frostbite. I've vowed to get Sophie used to booties this winter. Until now, I've carried her when I see salt and I wipe her paws down well after walks. I think booties offer far better protection, even for big dogs. I like these soft paw booties, made from hydroflex coated fabric which is all waterproof. They have a fleece lining for warmth, I think are more comfortable and practical than the hard boots. And, they have a non-skid surface. Available in sizes that will fit a teacup, up to a 100+ lb dog. Also comes in blue.
* Make sure after walks, you wipe your dog's legs, belly, and paws down completely. Anti-freeze, which is poisonous to dogs and cats, can get on their paws during a walk, as can bacteria and snow-melting salt. All are dangerous for your dog to lick when grooming themselves.

* Have a blizzard or severe storm evacuation plan that includes your pets. In the case of a power outage, your dog or cat will not be able to survive the cold in the house by themselves. If you're going to a hotel or motel, they need to come with.

* Never leave your dog in the car alone, in cold or heat. They can't tolerate it and it can kill them.

* Most of all, in harsh winter weather, keep your dog with you. If you have her with you, you're there to protect her. You can find additional tips from the American Veterinary Medical Association here. Let's keep our pups safe during this crazy cold winter. Stay inside and cuddle up!
Until next time...
Guest Blog:
Jody Miller-Young
Dog Fashion Expert and Blogger
Bark and Swagger