Aside from the usual poo bags, keys, and phone, I thought I’d share with you some of our winter dog walking essentials. I’ve included products for both humans and hounds, all of which I find really useful at this time of year. We’ve been really lucky in Cornwall and have been treated to a mild winter so far. Of course, this has influenced our selection of winter walking essentials and a few items have been left off (I’m looking at you uncomfortable waterproof trousers!) Nevertheless, Woody and I have been using these products on a near daily basis and we thought we’d share our recommendations with you!
DOGSCLOSURE: We were gifted Woody’s lead in exchange for a blogpost in summer 2018. I also received free soaps and balms from The Dog and I in exchange for a previous blogpost. Everything else featured I purchased myself. *indicates an affiliate link. I receive a small commission from any purchase made via these links.
I wanted to include winter dog walking essentials for both dogs and owners in this post, as we’re always out together, whatever the weather! As an owner, it’s easy to throw on a pair of tracksuit bottoms, big hoodie and dash out the door to walk the dog. However recently I’ve been making sure I look and feel my best whenever I’m out walking (so long as everything is practical of course!) and have enjoyed our adventures so much more. Of course there are days where I’m feeling lazy but overall I’m really enjoying my newfound additions to my winter walking wardrobe.
Fleece Lined Hat
My Poldhu Clothing Beanie is one of my favourite additions to my winter dog walking essentials. It’s barely left my head since I purchased it from Poldhu Beach on the Lizard Peninsula. I was looking for a hat that actually kept me warm and this fits the bill. It has a thermal shearling band inside, which keeps your ears super toasty. Perfect for battling with coast path winds!
It’s 100% acrylic too, which is ideal for me. I’m allergic to wool so finding hats and jumpers at this time of year can be a nightmare. I know it’s not the best choice of fabric for the planet, however I know I will continue to get plenty of use out of my hat, as it’s the only one I own.
FatFace’s flagship Heritage Gilets have been made with duck down for years. However, they’ve recently swapped to a recycled alternative, which I can confirm is just as warm. I used to own a secondhand FatFace gilet but it was way too small, particularly with jumpers and hoodies underneath (I purchased it in my usual size and didn’t account for the additional layers.) I bought my current gilet in this year’s January sale and chose the largest size possible. There’s now plenty of room for all the warm layers of chunky knitwear underneath.
There’s enough space to store my phone, keys and purse in the pockets without worrying about anything getting damaged or scratched. I can also fit plenty of poo bags in their own section, so I’ll never be caught short on our walks! It’s easy to move about in too, which may seem strange but I hate when large coats restrict my movement, particularly when I’m driving to or from our walks.
A good pair of wellington boots go a long way in Cornwall! I practically live in wellies come winter time and find they’re the best option for keeping sand and mud at bay. Quite often Woody and I walk through woodlands before arriving at the beach, covering all sorts of terrain in between. They’re definitely one of our winter dog walking essentials!
I purchased my Barbour Wellington Boots (similar) from M A Griggs Country Store in St. Austell last year. They were the first pair of wellies I’ve ever invested in (spending just over £50!) however it’s definitely paid off. When you wear the same shoes day in, day out, it makes sense to spend a little more money to ensure they’ll stand the test of time. I look forward to wearing these boots until they break spectacularly; my last pair succumbed to a gaping hole in the sole!
Swiss Army Knife
Before we continue, let’s get clear on the law when it comes to carrying knives in public places. In the UK, it is illegal to:
You can find out more about knives and the law by visiting https://www.gov.uk/buying-carrying-knives
Whenever Woody and I are cleaning beaches, or walking in locations with lots of thorns and undergrowth, I bring my Victorinox Classic SD Swiss Army Pocket Tool. It’s legal to carry this tool, as it’s a folding blade mechanism and the knife’s cutting edge is just under 1.5 inches long.
As well as the small blade, it also has a pair of scissors, nail file, screwdriver head, tweezers and a toothpick. I use it primarily for cutting fishing line and ropes from seaweed when beach cleaning. However it’s also handy for cutting out brambles and matts from Woody’s fur. The tweezers are great for removing thorns from his face (a surprisingly regular occurrence when you own a spaniel!) as well as any ticks he picks up when we’re out. The toothpick is ideal for removing debris from hard to reach places. Though I haven’t found a use for the nail file/screwdriver head yet, I’m sure they’ll come in handy at some point!
Harness and Lead
I swapped Woody back onto a harness full time this Autumn. It’s fast become one of our winter dog walking essentials. They’re useful for pulling Woody out of thick mud, deep river banks or over coast path stiles. It also helps reduce his pulling on his Mable and Merryn lead (gifted), though this isn’t the main purpose, it’s more of an added bonus for us.
We’ve experimented with a few brands over the past year, including the 3 Peaks Fleece Lined Harness and Ruffwear’s adapted Web Master Harness*, which came with is Palisades Pack*. Both these harnesses performed well for a while, however soon ripped and snagged with Woody’s love for undergrowth. In an effort to save the Web Master Harness from complete destruction, I decided to find a harness we could use day-to-day. I found this Ruffwear Front Range harness secondhand on Facebook Marketplace, for around half the retail price brand new. It’s been put through its paces and is showing signs of obvious wear and tear. I’m not sure realistically how long it will last, however I think this is more due to our lifestyle than a flaw in the product. I just have to come to terms with the fact that harnesses will be a regular repurchase through Woody’s life!
How could I write a post about our winter dog walking essentials and not include Equafleece?! We use the Equafleece Dog Suits to dry Woody after walks. They’re great for popping on after walks and save both my car and house from excessive mud and sand. I find them much easier to use than towels and they dry him much quicker. The snow last year caught Cornwall by surprise. Though it’s not common down here by any means, it’s reassuring to know I can use his Equafleece as an additional layer of warmth if the temperature does decide to plunge.
We’ve had lots of owners come up to us, admiring Woody’s Equafleece and its ingenuity. He’s more than happy to pop it on after we’ve been exploring and enjoys lounging round the house most afternoons. I’ve come to rely on his Equafleece so much in winter, that I’ve actually purchased him another. Woody now owns both the florescent yellow and teal dog suits, which I think you’ll agree suit him perfectly. We’ve definitely found his colours!
Nose, Skin and Paw Balm (gifted)
Salt, sand and strong winds are a recipe for disaster when it comes to our skin. I suffer from eczema anyway, so my skin is always awful at this time of year. I’ve also noticed Woody’s nose getting dry recently, so have been using The Dog and I’s Nose, Skin and Paw Balm. We were gifted this product for our Low Waste Swaps blogpost but I wanted to include it here because it’s in its element at the moment, fast becoming one of our winter dog walking essentials.
It’s a dog friendly version of lip balm and can be used on cuts, scratches and dry skin. Woody’s got a few cracks on his paws and often gets dry areas around his eyes and nose (again, thanks to the pesky thorns!) It’s safe to lick, which is reassuring when applying the balm to areas in easy access to Woody’s tongue. Miraculously, enough balm does stay where I intend it to and it seems to be working its magic!
The final item on our winter dog walking essentials list has to be our LED collar. As you know, Woody is a black spaniel, which makes walking in the dark an utter nightmare. I literally cannot see where he is at all. When I first adopted Woody, I made it my mission to find an LED collar for evening walks. After trying a few different options, I settled for the Powow USB Rechargable LED Safety Collar*. It’s available in a variety of colours and has three different flashing modes. I settled for the green version, as this colour is often associated with friendly dogs.
It’s not the prettiest dog accessory out there but it definitely serves its purpose. You can buy singular dog lights if you prefer, which attach to your existing collar. I found these weren’t quite enough for Woody and I, as he likes to roam, even in the dark. I wanted something that could be seen from all angles, not just if Woody was running in a certain direction. The LEDs cover the majority of the collar, which suits us nicely.
What are your winter dog walking essentials? What do you rarely leave the house without at this time of year?
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