Holiday Guift Guide for Dog Walkers

Around this time of year all my brain can focus on is keeping warm and staying sane through the upcoming winter months. The fact that it’s only November and I still have at least four more months of icy wet dreariness ahead of me is not sitting well. Getting up at five-thirty in the morning is never easy, but it’s downright depressing when one is facing a long trudge through cold darkness. I almost dread going home after work just to face the same trudge and the same cold and the same darkness all over again.

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m a little lacking in holiday spirit over here.

Not to worry, I am sure it isn’t permanent. There are a few things that help me get through this lip-chapping season. Since this is also the time of year people start formulating holiday shopping and wish lists – unless you are a keener and had everything done by October – I thought I would put together a gift guide of sorts for anyone with dog walkers in their social circles. Here are some of the items I would love to discover under the tree.

Fleece-lined Pants

Yes! They do exist! It is possible to be stylish and warm at the same time. No longer does the dog walker have to give up all vanity as soon as the temperatures fall below zero. Snow pants can now be relegated to the ski hills and long underwear can be cast to the back of the drawer. No dog walker should have to go through winter without a pair or five. They would especially make a great gift for anyone who does agility practice in cold barns over the winter. I am so not looking forward to that again this year.

Rubber Boots

Totally unsexy, I know. But I swear by the classic green wellies to get me through the season. Chuck in a washable lining and you are set for long walks in the snow or mud. You never have to fear the quasi-frozen puddle again. They do come in some fashionable colours now but I like the $10 men’s varieties for both tread and comfort.

Hot Cocoa

Nothing like coming home from a long winter walk to a mug of hot chocolate. We tend to have a shelf dedicated to the stuff from November to March. You can find it in many different flavours and qualities. For extra bonus points, throw in a bag of marshmallows or a bottle of Bailey’s. Alternatively, you could skip the cocoa altogether and just buy the Bailey’s.

Insulated Hooded Sweatshirt

I have been lusting after one of these ever since I saw them in Mark’s Work Warehouse last year. They are so warm that on many milder winter days I could probably get away with leaving my heavy coat at home. With deep pockets for treats and poop bags and cozy hood to keep out the wind, it would make nighttime jaunts with the Shivster a lot more comfortable. The pretty purple colour doesn’t hurt either.

Socks

Yeah, I realize socks are kind of a lame holiday gift. Everybody gets them and nobody really wants them. However, I can never seem to have enough pairs of them. Maybe it’s how I walk but very quickly I find holes appearing at my heels. I blame the heavy walking shoes I wear on a regular basis. Am I alone in kind of hoping for several new pairs under the tree? These thermal ones would just be extra special.

Fleecy Down Throw

Like the cocoa, this is more of an aprés-walk gift but definitely an awesome one. My best friend gave me a goose down blanket several years ago and it is still my go-to for taking off the chill after an outing. Shiva loves it too.

Slow Cooker

I don’t know about you, but the last thing I feel like doing after tramping around in the snow is coming home to mess around in the kitchen. Slow cookers from what I hear are perfect for easy – and hot – meals that one can prepare without a fuss. People who walk their dogs as much as I do probably don’t have a lot of time on their hands. Once the animals are taken care of they want to relax. It’s easier to do that when dinner is already ready and waiting.

Walking Light

Walking in the dark sucks. And dangerous. Most fun dog walking areas are not equipped with street lights. I guess municipalities assume no one is crazy enough to hit the park before the sun rises in January. Well, dog walkers are and I hate that I am now mostly stuck walking on the boring sidewalk every single day. If I had a light that made it a little safer, I might be able to head into the forest I love so much other times of the year. It would make walking much less of a chore, if nothing else.

Personal Alarm

Speaking of saftey, and forests, my practically mother-in-law gave me a personal alarm a few years ago that I have started to take with me while I walk the dog in more isolated areas. I’ve never had to use it but I feel more secure in coyote territory now that I have a line of defence. People who walk dogs in similar areas throughout the winter and the approaching mating season, may also appreciate such a gift. It’s small enough to stick in a pocket and easy to use.

Dog Walking Gift Certificates

When all else fails, there is nothing like a night off. Many professional dog walkers offer gift certificates for their services but if you are short on cash and not on love for dogs, why not offer to do the job yourself? I am willing to bet your dog walking friend would be overjoyed at the thought of remaining indoors on a cold night while someone else walks her dog. Bonus points if you are willing to take on an early morning spot too.

If you, like me, are dreading the long walks ahead of you this winter, what gifts would you like to receive? Is there anything I missed? What is on your wish list this year?

 

25 thoughts on “Holiday Guift Guide for Dog Walkers

  1. Mummy agrees with the virtue of woolly warm socks. Why she has only just taken off her merino/possum socks that she put on in April. It shows that the weather must be getting warmer. She loves her gum boots, and lives in them all winter. Hers are blue and cost $10, but she lusts after a super dooper pair with fur lining that cost $150.00. Gum boots are what we call rubber boots. Love Nellie and Jasper.

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    • I have a standard lining in mine that comes out and can be washed if they get too dirty. I find as long as my feet are dry, I don’t need any extra insulation. It’s all about keeping out that wet snow. Not that you’d have a lot of that to worry about! (I’m only incredibly jealous. ;-))

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  2. Really like the fleece lined jeans and the light. I wear a reflective vest when walking from dusk through dark; both the light and the clip light offered would help with the dogs being seen; in the past, I’ve used reflective hunter collars, too. Thanks for the hint and the cocoa? Put peppermint flavoring in, too – smells delicious.

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    • Shiva has a reflective vest but I don’t have anything for myself. It might be a good idea if my vanity didn’t get in the way. 😛

      Peppermint cocoa is definitely one of my favourites!

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  3. I like a lot of the things on your list! Have you tried Smartwool socks? Oh, you will love them! They are better than the cat’s pajamas.

    We live on the slow cooker through the winter. I love trying new recipes in it, and honestly, it’s one of the things I look forward to when the weather starts to cool off!

    You mean a can of poop freeze isn’t on your list?

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    • I’ve not heard of Smartwool but I will have to look them up. I am just tired of wearing socks with gigantic holes in them because I am too lazy to buy more. I think I am down to only seven pairs which means I am constantly doing sock laundry! No fun.

      Poop freeze? Do I want to know what that is?

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  4. I’m a HUGE fan of the techie gloves that allow you to utilize touch screen phones without having to freeze off fingers (I’ve got 3 pairs and LOVE them dearly).

    I like the little pocket hand/foot warmers for the super cold days.

    Not related to being cold, but I think that all people who walk dogs in civilization should carry direct stop citronella spray (or some sort of protection from unfriendly or overly friendly off-leash dogs)–I was recently in a situation where I WISHED that I had direct stop with me (though it worked out okay but could have been disastrous ).

    Lastly, there are these fantastic two-layered stainless steel mugs (there is a gap between the inner and outer layer) that keep hot beverages hot for like 6 hours! If you have a dog great on leash you can carry it with you in even the coldest weather and still have a hot beverage or make it before you head out and it’ll still be warm when you get back!

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    • Great ideas, thanks for sharing your thoughts! The pocket warmers would be awesome! I haven’t been able to find a pair of gloves like that which actually keep my fingers from freezing. I have really bad circulation in my hands and my fingers go numb almost instantly in the winter if they aren’t covered 100% of the time. Scooping poop in the winter with mitten covered hands is a serious skill.

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  5. Flannel lined jeans are on my wish list this year for sure! But, you didn’t mention waterproof, breathable socks. They seem like just about the best things ever, for when your boots leak or there is a sudden downpour when you are out in regular shoes.

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  6. Good list. I, like you, dread fall because I know I have at least 6 more months of this crap to get through. Fleece-lined pants are a must and if you haven’t tried Smartwool socks you should. They are expensive but last a long time. I have trouble wearing holes in the back of my heels but these socks still last me at least 2 years.

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  7. I am with you on the socks. I swear a little critter comes out at night and nibbles holes into them:) I suffer with cold feet and it has to be hot enough to fry an egg on the pavement (sidewalk:)) for me to go without socks. As I type this I have my bootie slippers on and am thinking of going and putting another pair of sock on as well.

    Loving the insulated fleece, always like to snuggle with a throw, Wellies are good, but can be cold…we are back to the socks:) and I like hot chocolate rather than cocoa. I tend to wear long johns (keep telling myself they are sexy…yewh right:)) under my jeans, but the ski pants sound a good alternative.

    For misty mornigs I have a little flashing red bone shaped thingy that I can clip to the lead, collar or wherver I like. Have a fab little torch for when it is darker, although I don;t walk Polly when a torch is needed, but it’s good for just going outside with her to do her business.

    I hope the holiday mood soon takes hold of you. when it does, could you send some of it over to me…bah humbug:)

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    • I swear the same thing! I am glad I am not alone in this. It seems crazy how brand new socks will become useless in only a matter of weeks.

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  8. Flannel lined jeans sound amazing. I look like a hobo when I walk the dog in winter. If you’re interested in not waiting until xmas for a light, costco has headlamps right now. Added benefit of looking like a crazy person, but not having to hold anything, and I only turn it on once I’m in the sketchily-not-lit wooded trails, at which point, people thinking i’m crazy is an advantage 😛
    a light up dog collar or leash is definitely helpful both for finding your dog and for ensuring that cars see your pooch. some of those deal-sites have them on sale regularly, too! Or, if you want the less expensive option, check the post-halloween sale items and grab a few of the light-up-reflective velcro arm bands for kids for trick-or-treating… also works very well.
    I do remember seeing boots at Marks last year that were heated… you plug them in to charge them, and they had something like a 5 hour heating-foot lifespan. Kind of tempted, but if the mitt-equivalent ever comes out, THAT’s what I want for christmas!

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  9. Great list. I’m especially jealous of the rubber boots. They must be awesome because I never see them in the thrift shops. I guess most people wear them until they fall apart.

    I have more socks than I could ever use. I decided to sell 2 pairs of Alpaca wool socks that I’ve never worn. Tell your PH I’ll give him a good deal if he’s looking for a snuggy Christmas present: http://ithaca.craigslist.org/clo/3429118817.html 🙂

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  10. Why don’t I have a pair of those pants????????? Adam was just saying the other day he needed some and I definitely need some for dog walks. It’s a pain putting on tights and cross-country ski pants for a trip to the dog park! Also, that zip up sweatshirt looks like another answer to my problems. I highly endorce this list. 🙂

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  11. They all sound lovely and snuggly. I have nothing on my wish list except maybe for someone who will fit a new grill door for us. (Georgia destroyed the old one.) Incredibly, after months of calling, no one wants to come do it. GRRR.

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  12. Wow, awesome list! I would take any of them in a heartbeat.

    But my first choice would be a slow cooker, I’ve been meaning to get one for ages, I just never got around to it. The personal alarm sounds useful, too.

    I hope someone will give one of these things to me for Christmas 🙂

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  13. I have a pair of flannel lined jeans that I love. I should have bought them a size larger but I’m too vain.

    Last year Hubby bought me a light for my hat, this is awesome especially when you have to bend over to pick up poopies. Wherever you are looking, the light is shining, plus it helps cars see you too.

    Need to get some Wellies though.

    As for the crock pot, LOVE mine. Take a whole chicken, and add a whole peeled onion, and a few cloves of garlic to the cavity. Stick it in the crock pot and cut one lemon in half, squeeze the juice from both halves of the lemon over the chicken (you can shake other spices on it as well if you’d like) then throw what’s left of the lemon into the cavity with the onion and garlic. I put it on low when I leave the house and it falls apart when it comes out of the crock pot. I serve it with lemon spaghetti (that requires a bit more work.) Plus you can make soup later!

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