At our house, we love taking walks, and as the seasons change, so does our walking gear. There are some things that definitely stay the same, but since it starts getting dark so early, we start pulling out some special things to make life a little easier when walking in the dark. Since this is National Dog Walking Week, I thought we would start it off by sharing some of our favorite walking gear for dogs and humans.
This summer, I started walking a lot more, but I found that I have to take care of myself or it’s not a lot of fun. I have been battling plantar fasciitis. I was born with high arches and narrow feet, thanks to dear old dad, and that made me highly likely to have this problem. Basically, it means that the ligaments in my foot are tearing a little bit every time I walk. However, there was no way I was giving up walking. I did a lot of research and for now two things that are really helping me are Superfeet inserts and a good pair of walking shoes. My current shoes are made by Asics, but New Balance are also good. I was a little sad to give up those summer jaunts in my flip flops, but the pain wasn’t worth looking cute. So, I say that getting a good pair of walking shoes is one of the best things you can do for yourself, and your dog will be glad that you can take walks, have fun, be pain free and go longer distances. I was reluctant to spend the money on myself at first, but the dogs are happy that I can go long distances with them, I have more fun when I’m not walking in pain and that makes for a better experience for all of us. My shoes have reflective parts on them, too, which helps us with safety.
I also try to make sure I am wearing reflective clothing when we go out. This time of year, even if we leave when it’s daylight out, it quickly gets dark. We live in a little town, and it never seems to fail that each year a new young person gets their drivers’ license and becomes the terror of the road. Being visible is something that’s really important.
I also carry a Poop Happens bag. I’d give you the link for it, but the company went out of business, which I think is a darned shame. It looks like a small messenger bag or purse and it has several divided sections inside. I carry poop bags, a small flashlight, a spare house key, a bottle of hand sanitizer and sometimes my phone in it. If one of the dogs decides to do number two when were far away from a garbage can, I can put it in one section of the bag until we get to a place where I can get rid of it. I don’t have to walk through town looking like a nasty bag lady and the smell is kept contained, too, because, let’s face it, those bags stink no matter what.
I know the Greyhounds get a lot of attention here on the blog, but the Shepherds have their special walking gear, too. Morgan and Küster almost always have a walk early in the morning before the sun is up and usually walk again in the evening. They don’t have to worry about the temperature changes, but they do need to be visible and sometimes have other factors we have to take into consideration.
Morgan and Küster both have glow in the dark collars. I will say that usually, they just wear these collars in addition to the collar my husband attaches the leash to for a couple of reasons. First, if the collar were actually fit tight enough on them to keep it from falling off, it would be mostly hidden in all that glorious Shepherd fur. Second, both of them can pull a bit at times when they get excited, and I don’t want to risk them breaking the light up collars or pulling the led lights inside loose. Morgan wears one made by Night Ize and we’ve been happy with it for several years. We got it to use for a review, but it quickly became a regular part of our walking routine.
Kuster’s is one we just got at the Backer Trade Expo and is made by Nite Beams. We are really impressed with this collar and the company also makes leashes that light up. I wanted to come home with one of those leashes in the worst way, but hopefully we’ll be able to get one in the near future. They also make light up shoelaces for humans, which is also on my dream list.
They also have PAWZ boots that we put on once in a rare while, usually if we’re going to be somewhere extremely muddy or somewhere really icy. Pulling muddy boots off at the back door is a thousand times easier than wrestling a wet, squirming dog. It’s a matter of convenience for us, and they don’t last forever, but they do make life easier during really rainy, wet falls for us.
The Greyhounds have some gear that’s a little different from what the Shepherds wear. For one thing, the unique shape of a Greyhound makes them harder to fit than other dogs. Their bodies are made differently and we’ve found gear for them that adapts to that.
The Greyhounds wear martingale collars and so far, I’ve never found a light up martingale. Honestly, based on how a martingale is made, making one light up would be a bit tricky. Bunny has a nice reflective collar that we got at 2 Hounds Design and it’s held up really nicely over the last several years. It’s not something she wears on an everyday basis most of the time, although she certainly could.
A couple of years ago, a friend brought us some Pup Crawl leashes, though, and Bunny and Flattery both walk with those at night. You can turn it on so that it’s just on constantly or so that it blinks. It is one of the best things I’ve ever used for the Greyhounds. I will say that it’s a small, narrow leash, so if your dog is a big puller, it’s not for you. However, that’s not an issue with Bunny or Flattery, so this leash is perfect for them.
Another thing we do to increase visibility for the Greyhounds is to have them wear their Julius K9 harnesses. These harnesses serve a lot of purposes, but I like having the girls wear them at night because they have both reflective and glow in the dark parts to them. It makes us a lot more visible and during autumn evenings, that’s a definite bonus. They also have handles on the backs, so if I need to grab one of them quickly for some reason, say oncoming traffic or a loose dog runs up, it’s added insurance for me. The handles come in handy on them for lots of reasons. On hikes, it allows me to help navigate them through tough terrain or if they’d fall into deep water in a creek, I can easily haul them up. I’m not saying that would happen, but if it did, it’s nice to know I can pull them out easily.
This time of year, we also start pulling out the Voyagers K9 Apparel tummy warmers. They’re made of fleece and perfect for cool autumn evenings. They’re easy to get on and off and don’t require picking the dog’s feet up to put them into holes, which is something I’ve grown to appreciate with senior dogs. If it’s cool in the house, they can comfortably curl up with them there, too. With less than ten percent body fat and no undercoat, it’s important to help them to keep warm.
Finally, we also have to mention Flattery’s new Therapaw boot. It has really been wonderful for her. She’s not exactly thrilled to wear it, but she needs it at times and she doesn’t fuss about me putting it on. It’s very easy to get on and off and since corns are a part of her life, it’s just something we need to deal with. This keeps her enjoying her walks and that makes her happy.
So, there you have it. This is our list of things that help us during our walks, whether we’re human or canine. Nobody paid me to endorse them in this post, these are just things that we really use in our everyday life that make things easier. I included links to them to make it easier for anybody who’s looking for some of the same things. The dogs are extremely excited that we are celebrating National Walk Your Dog Week by going somewhere different to walk every day. Hopefully, all of you will be celebrating, too, by getting out there and enjoying some nice walks with your canine companions as well.