Different dogs have different requirements during the four seasons but there a few basics good for every dog. Whether it’s mittens for the cold pavements in the winter or sunglasses for the dog days of summer – dressing your dog up has never been more fun with today’s innovative and adorable pet essentials.
Summer is a time where the less a dog carries in the hot weather the better. Short, summer haircuts on Sheepdogs, Golden Retrievers, Elkhounds and other long-haired dogs are recommended and common. However, without weighing down your dog in the scorching summer temperatures, there are a few fun items to protect your pooch from the hot temperatures of summer.
For dogs that suffer with cataract it is important to protect eyes from the sun – dog visors, sun glasses and “Doggles” (goggles made for dogs) are available at many different pet sites on the Web. These eye protectors usually feature an elastic band that goes around the head and under the chin – hardly cumbersome to your dog’s comfort.
If you plan on including your dog on the family’s boating adventure, be sure to invest in a dog life jacket which is just like a human life vest and will provide the same life-saving protection. If your dog has a thin coat and/or suffers with skin issues pet sunscreen is now available to prevent sun damage. So while you lather on your own sunscreen your little buddy can have some too.
While the Spring season tends to be increasingly warmer each year – one thing that is always consistent about Spring: it is the start of tick season. The most important piece of gear you can purchase for your dog is a preventive tick collar. While using sprays and shampoos is a deterrent as well, an old-fashioned tick collar remains the best method of choice for avoiding ticks. An average collar lasts three months so be sure to pick up a new collar for the summer months. Additionally, be sure to brush your dog often during the warm weather months so you can consistently check for ticks and fleas.
Fall is ideal weather for dogs – it’s crisp, mild and the perfect time to take your dog for a hike. During your hike why not let Fido carry a gear bag containing his own gear? Gear bags are harnesses equipped with saddlebags – the equivalent of a dog fanny pack. Most dogs love them because it gives them a sense of purpose and duty. On top of that, it’s a great place to put all your dog’s items in one place when you take your pooch to the park – collapsible water bowls, dog first aid kit, treats, balls, etc.
If you are hiking, there are rough terrain booties available to protect your dog’s paws as well as help his/her grip and traction while hiking in steep, rugged areas.
When the temperatures drop, if your dog has short or wiry hair then a doggy coat is in order. Longer hair, like those found on a Golden Retriever, Saint Bernard or Irish Water Spaniel is water repellant so an additional coat is redundant. However, for smaller dogs (Maltese, Chihuahua) or dogs with shorter hair (American Staffordshire, Weimaraner) who live in climates with colder temperatures a dog sweater and/or coat is a necessity. Before purchasing a coat be sure to get your dog’s exact measurements to ensure a good fit. Additionally, for wetter weather there are great water resistant raincoats available – and once you see your dog model a raincoat it will be hard to resist the cute factor.
Dog booties or paw mittens are a great idea for areas where snow plowing is common as often salt is sprinkled on the ground and this burns a dog’s paws. Booties easily slip over the paw on and stay in place via a Velcro strap over the dog’s paw. Some dogs dislike the booty and owners can instead use wax, specifically Mushers Secret Wax or Shaws Paws Wax. By spreading the wax on the base of the dog’s foot, a barrier is created that prevents the paws from absorbing what is on the surface. The wax prevents abrasions, burning, drying and cracking (making it suitable for hot walks in the summer as well).
As the four seasons come and go, do think about the weather and how it might affect your dog. After all, humans aren’t the only ones who need sunglasses nowadays.
By Susan Cava