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Product Reviews

Winter Dog Gear

My parents should never have taken me to San Francisco when I was 15.

You see, they have nice weather - they never slip down slippery stairs, walkways, ramps or streets covered with snow and ice. Not that Toronto gets a HUGE amount of snow or ice - we're about comparable to New York City, if not getting a little less since we're on the other side of the lake - but we do get some, and other than three weeks in December when I welcome it and love it and snuggle up in front of the fire because of it, really, I'd just prefer t-shirts and sweaters weather with the occasional cold snap (jackets) or heat wave (shorts) weather.

In a word, San Francisco.

But, Toronto I am and Toronto I'm staying, which means winter. Ew. The only good thing about winter? Awesome winter clothes. Especially for the pug.

When we got an entire warm-you-up winter clothing care package from CanisWear, I was over the moon. Cute. Cute. CUTE! Plus, I love red. My winter coat is red. I'd have four red winter dog coats if I could. Seriously. Love red.

The first item up - the BAWA "jacket" - is already one of my faves. Though it's really kind of a misnomer to call it a jacket - it's like a sweater, only with a sturdier outer shell than you'd normally see in a sweater. It's all one piece, though, and goes over the head like a sweater.

Actually, the BAWA is made from stretch Polartek - it's kind of like neoprene on the outside, and has incredibly soft fleece on the inside. The entire thing is fully water and snow resistant - and we also love the bungee cord at the waist to keep drafts from sneaking up and chilling the dog out as well as the slight turtleneck design to keep your dog as warm as possible while still allowing freedom of movement.

Quality is literally second to none. Incredibly strong seams, double stitched at the cuffs and waist, and a really solid design and fit means this is one of the warmer, sleeker, movement-friendly cold-weather outfits we've ever tried out.

(We are also in love with the screened design on the back - it says "Scratch Me!" in the center with white text, and then little white arrows jut out from the center all over the back - "here" and "a little more here" and, right over the bum "oh yes here!". Too cute; but the BAWA's also available without it if you don't share my sense of humour. :)

The second outfit can actually be worn separately or together. The red dog hoodie is called the PILUS Kangourou hoodie and is a roomier cool-weather "jacket" (again, this really fits more like a sweater) made from incredibly minky soft fleece - the company calls it "stretch synthetic fur" - to obtain a second coat on your dog. It, too, comes with a handy bungee cord at the waist to adjust the fit and the sleeves are finished in a "rolled up" fashion. But hands-down the cutest thing about this sweater is the hood with ear holes. That's just gotta be the cutest - and smartest - thing ever. I know from experience walking Merry that a hood can often block a dog's acute hearing - this is a fabulous solution, while helping to keep their head warm on chilly nights!

The third photo shows an additional jacket called the UMBER jacket, which is completely waterproof and fastens with velcro at the neck and belly. It can be worn on its own (would make a great spring raincoat) but, when added on top of the PILUS hoodie, makes an awesome layered look for winter - warm, partially waterproof, and the epitome of urban style to boot. Note that we found the fit on the UMBER jacket - when worn over the bulky PILUS - to be a little snug at the neck. If you have a wide-chested breed like a pug, I'd suggest talking to the company about sizing before making the purchase to make sure you're buying something that will work best.

Finally, the company also sent along one of their absolutely hysterical ALPIN toques. They've carried across their "ears should be free" concept to this cute fleece toque and I think it's ingenious. It's a simple design, and the fleece ties on either side (plus the dog's ears) help to hold the toque on pretty securely - and it will help to keep 'em warmer. Plus, honestly - how CUTE is that? We found the ties a little short on Merry, thanks to all that extra pug skin, so if you have a dog with a lot of chin and neck fur you might consider going up a size.

Honestly, I can't tell you when we've enjoyed a winter gear evaluation more. These products are fabulous, urban, simple and clean - incredibly well made and ready for testing this winter!

[sob] Unless any of our San Francisco readers want to take pity on us and adopt us? Merry and I don't take up much space! Well, other than room for clothes... You can find out more about CanisWear from their web site at www.caniswear.com.

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