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The Manual: Winterize Your Dog

Learn how to prepare your dog for cold temps and tricky terrain with this guide.
winterizeyourdog_445x260Illustration by Supercorn

Gear Up for Protection
>> Prevent heavy ice buildup on your pet’s chest and legs with a coat like the full-coverage Ruff Wear Cloud Chaser ($75; ruffwear.com). Fit the jacket by measuring back length and the widest part of the chest (see below).
>> The Dog Buff ($11; buffusa.com), an eight-inch long neck gaiter made of polyester microfiber with a reflective stripe, helps prevent chilling and snow buildup on floppy ears and shaggy necks.
>> With a properly fit pack, a dog can carry up to one-third of its body weight. Reduce his load if the snow is soft or he’s postholing excessively. Fit the pack: Adjust the harness so it’s snug across the forelegs (you should be able to fit two fingers between his chest and the straps) and slightly snugger across the belly; weight both sides equally. The pack should fit the same if he’s wearing a jacket, but watch for chafing where straps overlap seams. Try Mountainsmith’s fleece-lined Dog Pack ($50 to $60; mountainsmith.com).
 >> At night, make your dog visible so you can find him more easily. The Nite Ize Magic Marker light ($15; niteize.com) attaches to a collar so you can spot him from afar.

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