By Shannon Mominee
As the morning commute and evening mountain bike rides turn colder, I find myself searching for the warmer clothing I know I have somewhere. Fortunately, it’s easier to find my dog Roman’s winter gear and before the snow falls I thought it would be a good idea to give his Ruffwear a test run to check on its condition.
Last year, I bought Roman a Ruffwear Cloud Chaser jacket, which he loves, and reviewed it on our website. I won’t embarrass him with a photo, but lets just say I had to cut his food back and increase his mountain biking to get him back into his prime weight. Seems our overly friendly neighbors are treating him too much. They say he’s skinny. I say he’s fit.
Roman also received a pair of Bark’n Boots Polar Trex last winter, but I forgot to photograph him in the snow. (Hence the current late autumn photos here). The Polar Trex model have a Vibram sole with a shallow lug pattern, softshell construction with a DWR coating, and an extended height to prevent the snow from entering and to protect your dog’s legs from your ski edges. A pair of straps keep them in place and reflective piping adds visability to your pooch on evening walks.
He puts up with me sliding the boots over his paws and adjusting both straps, but then does the most ridiculous Tiny Tim impression and slaps his paws in a high-step fashion, club footing around the house. After a few minutes he walks and runs normal and I can breath again after laughing at him.
I like to put his boots on him when we are walking around the neighborhood to prevent sidewalk salt from affecting his pads. I live close to a soccer/football field where I take him so he can just run in the snow without snow and ice accumulating between his deep pads.
In the park and on the trails, the type of snow and trail condition dictates usage. With new snow, fresh trails, or exploring off trail in deep snow he wears the boots. They do a fine job of protecting his paws from the cold and prevent snow from building up between his webbed-toes, so I don’t need to remove a glove and dig the snow out with a frozen finger.
He occasionally looses a boot, but the bright red color is easy to spot and put back on him. If I bought another pair, I would go a size smaller just so they are a little tighter.
If the trail snow is compressed or icy, I’d rather he runs barepaw, so he can use his claws. Nature provided him with more traction than the boots do. I think if I lived somewhere with flat terrain the boots would be great on packed trails, but with the hills and rapid rollercoaster ups and downs around Pittsburgh he slides out a bit.
Overall, the Bark’n Boots Polar Trex do protect Roman’s paws from the wintery conditions. I’ve also used them to keep him from licking paw wounds, as the Bark’n Boots are superior to anything the vet has. In the southwest I’ve seen dogs wearing the shorter Grip Trex boot to protect paws against the jagged rock and thorns of the desert. The Poler Trex retail for $90 for 4 and can be purchased individually if one is lost.
Ruffwear, if you need a handsome model, Roman works for cheap.
See more at www.ruffwear.com.