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The Scoop: Tips & Gear Hacks for Getting Outside with Your Dog This Winter

Winter offers plenty of reasons to hibernate: low temps, ever-changing weather, and is it ever light out when you’re not working?! While resting up by the fire with our sidekicks is certainly part of the routine around here, we’re also big advocates for getting outside with our dogs and soaking up what this season has to offer. 

The Ruffwear Pack is here to help you and your dog face the elements and break free of the winter doldrums with a little bit of motivation and a few cold-weather gear recommendations that'll have you thinking, "Aha!"

Two people cross country ski with a dog

FURRY MOTIVATORS

Cue the tail wags, knowing eyes, and wet-nosed alarm clocks. Let your dog’s eagerness (and maybe a hot cup of coffee) carry you out the door. Double-down on the commitment by making plans to meet a friend.

  • “As soon as I get up in the morning in the dark, Arnie runs over to his gear bin, picks up his leash and Powder Hound coat and follows me around the house with them. It’s hard to resist his enthusiasm!” - Bronwyn & Arnie 
  • “I plan my days around getting out with the pups, working late or early in an effort to see daylight with them. I also will bargain with myself. If I take them out now, I'll grab a takeaway coffee. Or, one more episode of this show and then we'll go.” - Jill, Kit & Woody
  • “Our dogs are happy outside regardless of weather. They remind us that every season has its beauty and every season can be fully enjoyed. Evening walks after work still must happen even if it’s dark and rainy.” - Bree, Noodle & Shamus
  • “She starts ‘cooing’ at me and sighing as a first step. Then she starts pulling her toys from her toy basket as a second measure.” - Kendra & Miska (below)

Happy dog wearing a sweater in the snow

FOR THE DOG: WINTER DOG GEAR GO-GETTERS

Different conditions and different dogs call for different solutions. Yet, when it’s winter, you can almost always count on the dark, cold, and mess factors.

  • When it’s “Where are you?” dark: The Beacon™ Light is the cherry on top we can't go without. My dog, Juniper, is extremely independent - it's one of the traits I love most about her - so spotting her little blinking Beacon out there in the distance is a real comfort to me on our early morning adventures.” - Kelly & Juniper (below)
  • When it’s “freeze-your-boogers” cold: The Furness™ Jacket is our go-to for activities like a long off leash walk romping through the woods, backcountry skiing, or for those "freeze-your-boogers" cold days. This keeps Sturgill running around and comfortable the whole time and gives me peace of mind for spending more time in the snow.” - Kadee & Sturgill 
  • When it’s a downright dirty mess: “On muddy days the Dirtbag™ Dog Towel is where IT IS AT to keep them from making my car and home as muddy and dirty as they are.” Carolyn + Tivo & Tobin 
  • When it’s a call in “sick” powder day: Polar Trex™ Boots are a game changer for Bailey getting outside and staying outside in the winter. We started using the Polar Trex™ Boots about 3 winters ago and now she spends less time picking snowballs from her paws and more time rolling in powder!” - Elise & Bailey 

Dog wearing safety light in the snow at sunrise

FOR THE HUMAN: MORE HANDS-FREE, LESS HANDS FREEZE

It’s the hands-free hack. When there’s less to hold, you can stuff those hands in a pocket to beat the cold.

  • Hands-free leashes are key in the winter so that you can stick your hands in your pockets or avoid losing circulation in your hands by gripping the leash handle!” - Caroline & Atka 
  • The Quick Draw™ Leash is a year-round favorite of ours, and I especially appreciate it while skiing so I can connect with her if needed, without having to find a leash in my backpack and fumble with gloved hands on a moment's notice.” - Rachel & Nova (below)
  • “A Pack Out Bag™ is essential in the winter to throw that full poop bag in there and forget about it. I don't want to hold anything in my hands that I don't have to when it is freezing outside." - Caroline & Atka

Woman and dog skiing together

THE MOMENT YOU REALIZE IT’S ALL WORTH IT

The still moments, the snow zoomies, the photo ops, the après. If you find a way to get out there, your dog will find a way to make it memorable.

  • “Bailey diving face first into fresh powder and otter-rolling down the hill in it! Our smiles are equally as big in these moments!” - Elise & Bailey 
  • “Nova's ‘hot lap’ – first mile of the trail. She goes a zillion miles an hour, thrashes around in snow, and has SO much stoke. I can't help but laugh and feel happy!” - Rachel & Nova
  • “Definitely the frost buildup in Yody's beard and mohawk!!!! It's so awesome looking and shows how great the adventure was.” - Timothy & Yody (below)

Blag dog with face covered in snow

  • Sharing an open slope of fresh snow and seeing Sturgill prancing through it. Seeing him jump with glee for a snowball. The post adventure nap is also a wonderful plus to cuddle up together and get warm by the fire when we get home.” - Kadee & Sturgill 
  • “The moments where they are rolling around in the snow, eating snowballs, smiling and experiencing pure joy. We all love a good "Bella Roll" :) Seeing how happy the snow makes them puts a smile on my face every time.” - Kami, Cooper, Bella, & Bailey

Dog wearing jacket and playing with toy in the snow

Ready to grab those coats, lace up those boots, and start your new winter routine? Tag us @ruffwear when you do. We'd love to hear what moves you and your dog, and what you discover out there.