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When I adopted Bean four years ago, I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. I knew that owning a dog is nothing like owning a cat.
I didn’t expect this little puppy to be able to take care of herself in any way, shape, or form.
Unlike my cat, who could bathe, groom, and go to the bathroom all on her own (and let’s face it, if she wanted to, she could probably manage hunting for her own meals), my little puppy had to rely completely on me to bathe, groom, feed, take her to the bathroom, and exercise her.
I was perfectly prepared for the reality of daily walks around the neighborhood. I knew the drain it might be on my time, but I also was excited to have a reason to exercise daily and an excuse to spend more time with my dog. I saw it as the perfect bonding experience and it truly is.
I learn a lot about Bean when I walk her and our walks are the perfect time to work on her obedience training and expose her to new sights, sounds, smells, and people in order to build her confidence.
I know that Bean looks forward to her daily walks as much as I do and when it’s a rainy, snowy, or dark day or when I have other obligations that take up our time together, I know she misses the time outdoors.
Because walks are so important for both Bean and my own health, I make every effort to make them a part of our routine everyday.
According to BetterHealth.gov, benefits of walking your pet “include improved cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure, stronger muscles and bones (built up by walking regularly), and decreased stress.”
Daily walks also help keep your dog at a healthy weight, improve the condition of their joints, promote digestive health, and improve emotional and mental well being in animals (VCA hospital).
For these reasons, I know that even when it’s rainy or snowy or cold, that I just might have to walk her anyways. (If you’re interested in checking out my tips for walking your dogs during the home summer months, you can check that out here).
In order to make our walks as bearable as possible, no matter the weather, I’ve discovered some must have items for dog moms and dog walkers over the years. Check them out.
Image courtesy of Adidas. Currently $35. Regular $70.
A great pair of supportive and breathable walking shoes are a must have for hot summer months in order to keep your feet cool and comfortable. In the cooler months, opt for a pair of shoes without the breathable fabric as the cold and wet weather can seep through, leaving your feet wet and frozen. I’m a big fan or Nike and Adidas walking shoes, even if they are a little pricier than pairs you’d find at box stores such as Walmart or Target. My sneakers often last me for years at a time. As a dog mom, you want to be sure that you have a pair where the soles and seems will last, even with daily wear and tear. I also am confident enough that my shoes won’t fall apart that I can just toss them in the wash when they get a little dirty.
Image courtesy of Columbia. $59.98
For the winter months, ditch the sneakers and purchase a pair of warm winter boots instead. Winter boots will keep your feet dry and warm and can stand up against the snow, ice, and salt that coats the roads. For your dog, you can also opt for a pair of winter booties. If not, be sure to protect their sensitive paws from the snow, ice, and salt with a balm.
Image courtesy of Columbia. $29.98
In order to keep yourself dry on rainy days, a rain slicking, waterproof coat or parka is a must. You can even opt to purchase a raincoat for your dog, keeping both of your dry. Of course, you could always carry an umbrella, but I find that they are cumbersome when walking dogs. My sister has a decent rain coat she purchased from Target, although for heavy use, I suggest checking out products at Columbia, REI, Dick’s, or North Face.
Warm winter jacket.
Image courtesy of Columbia. $140
Owning a quality winter jacket is a must for dog owners in the North. Opt for a down filled jacket for the most protection. You can find great products at stores like Columbia, North Face, L.L. Bean, or Dick’s sporting goods. You’ll also want to be sure that you have a good pair of gloves or mittens as well as a hat, scarf, and thick, wool or cold weather socks. My favorite are Columbia’s Wintertide Chill crew sock from Columbia
Image courtesy of Home Depot. This vest costs about $5.
If you’re a full time working dog mom like myself, then chances are that most days you’re up walking your dog before the sun rises or after it sets when you get home from work. To protect both yourself and your dog while walking after dark, purchase a reflective vest, like those worn by construction workers and emergency workers so that you’ll be visible to any cars driving around the block.
Honestly, I couldn’t walk Bean as often as I do if I didn’t invest in some of these must haves, because let’s be honest here, walking your dog in the cold, wet rainy and snowy months can be one of the most miserable things you ever do as a dog mom.
While I acknowledge that some of these products can run a little bit on the expensive side, they’re worth every penny to me if it means that both my dog and I are getting the exercise we need to stay healthy.
And if you have extra time on your hands or are looking for a way to earn some extra cash for you and your dog, consider becoming a dog walker with Rover.
Finally, If you know of any cheaper alternatives drop a comment below. Additionally, if you think there are any must have wardrobe items I’ve missed, let me know!
Happy dog walking!