In order to be a dog walker and remain sane, you must have proper gear and clothing to withstand the elements. Being properly prepared is especially important in the winter. Trust us... wearing the right stuff can make or break your entire day. Making small investments in good quality products (such as boots or a locking carabineer) will pay off. If you are comfortable and in a good mood, then the dogs you walk will feel happier and more secure!
For Every Day
Citronella spray: Citronella spray or “doggy mace” can be used to break up dog fights and prevent bites. It's a good idea to carry some around in case of an emergency.
Carabineer: To keep your keys safe and organized, get a locking carabineer at a hardware or outdoor store. Locking carabineers can prevent your keys from getting lost, which is of the utmost importance as lost keys can lead to lost clients.
Lock Grease: You will need lock grease for your bike lock and for people's doors, especially when the air is particularly dry or humid.
A Comfortable, Durable Pair of Walking Shoes: Some walkers like sneakers, but I prefer something more waterproof. I have found “keens” are an excellent choice. Though they leave the style guru with a bit more to be desired, they are waterproof, lightweight, durable, open (yet have a sturdy toe guard), and ankle strap. I have been wearing mine for over 2 years and they still look new. My feet are never sore when I wear them, even when I have over 10 walks in one day.
For Rainy Days
Waterproof pouch or “dry sack”: It's nice to have a dry sack to put things like electronics or money in when it rains. You can also use plastic bags.
Garbage Bags: You can use a garbage bag to cover your bag when it rains, or use it as an emergency poncho.
Plastic Bags: Not only are plastic bags the perfect pooper scoopers, but they can help you keep your stuff dry.
Raincoat: Since carrying an umbrella and using one during walks is impractical, it is a good idea to invest in some sort of waterproof jacket with pockets that can keep items dry.
Gators: Gators will also keep your feet dry and warm on rainy or cold days.
For Cold Days
Boots: You will absolutely need a good pair of boots if you are dog walking in the winter. We have found good quality, waterproof hiking boots work very well. I found an excellent pair at the army/outdoor supply store.
Wool Socks: For those super chilly, snowy days wool socks are a must. If they get wet, the wool will still retain heat (unlike cotton).
Layers: Layers are the key to outdoor winter survival! Invest in a nice pair of long johns or wear multiple pairs of pants. Wear a tank top under a light layer (such as a long-sleeved tee) and then pull on a sweater (preferably wool).
Gloves: You will absolutely need gloves, especially if you are biking from walk-to-walk. Lobster style gloves work very well, as they are warmer than regular gloves. I have also had good luck with mittens that have a removable flap to expose your fingers (these provide greater dexterity for handling keys).
Winter Tires or Zip Lock Method for Bikes: If you'd like to spare the expense of getting winter tires for your bicycle, you can attach zip ties around your tire.
Bike and Car Tune-ups: During the winter, remember to get frequent tune-ups on your bike or car. The ice, snow, and salt are really tough on your gears, breaks, and tires.