Please welcome Elena and her Dachshund Moo to the blog. I introduced her in our 6-year anniversary blog post the other day . Today is her second guest post on the blog.
I recently embarked on an outdoor excursion with Moo, two of my friends from work, and their two pups. Our four-legged companions made an unlikely trio: a Dachshund, a St. Bernese Mountain Dog, and a Shih Tzu. We opted for Rattlesnake Ledge in the Snoqualmie area, thinking it would be a good hike for our beginner-level hiking dogs.
I was excited to get started on this hike so that I could test out the Hurtta’s Summit Parka (affiliate link) on Moo Jessica gave us. Before moving to Washington, I had an embarrassingly large collection of fashionable little coats and jackets for Moo, but not a single one that was actually designed to keep a dog warm or dry in the outdoors. It’s safe to say that I have retired my cute but otherwise ineffective collection (aside from a few token sweaters), and am now starting from scratch with the good stuff.
Upon setting out for Snoqualmie, the day was clear and a balmy 65 degrees, with Mt. Rainier even making an appearance after hiding in the clouds for a few days. I considered not even bringing the jacket but decided, eh, why not? She may get cold towards the top once we slow down.
Rattlesnake Ledge is a Washington favorite, due to its close proximity to the big Western Washington cities and the fact that it offers a big bang for your buck. The hike itself isn’t very long at only two miles up, but the view is one that’s hard to beat. I’ve hiked quite a few trails in the Snoqualmie Pass area, but I’ve yet to find one that gives you as great and vast of a view as Rattlesnake does for the relatively short distance needed to get there.
Lo and behold, as soon as we parked the car, the sun disappeared and we were welcomed to the trail head with a steady drizzle. I patted myself on the back for bringing the Summit Parka for Moo, and inwardly celebrated the opportunity to put this outdoor jacket to use in all of the elements it was designed to shelter my dog from.
For starters, the Summit Parka comes in four colors: Raven, Cherry, Mud and High-Vis Orange (this last color is only available in certain sizes). Moo has the Cherry colored jacket, which looks hot pink in person, and she couldn’t look more adorable in it. The jacket itself is designed to keep a dog’s body temperatures stable in winter weather by protecting the chest and key muscle groups, especially short-haired pups that don’t have quite as much protection.
It comes in multiple different sizes, so this jacket can work for almost all dogs. This was a big deal for me, since jackets that cover the entire length of a Dachshund’s body can be hard to come by. Sure enough though, this jacket bundled Moo up from the top of the neck to the base of her booty.
The jacket is equipped with pretty much everything you would need to adjust and tighten it to your dog’s individual shape. It has an adjustable back length to make it shorter or (in Moo’s case) longer, as well as an adjustable collar, which offered Moo complete rain coverage up to the base of her ears. It also has a belt that wraps and clips around the waist area, which ensures the jacket is nice, snug and form-fitting. There’s no twisting or turning their way out of this jacket, even if they wanted to.
That being said, Moo seemed comfortable in her jacket. It has a warm fuzzy fleece on the inside and waterproof Houndtex coating on the outside (with small 3M reflectors), which kept her warm as we hiked up in the rain.
The only issues we had with the jacket were the opening for the harness and the attachment loops that are supposed to go around the back legs, and those were minor.
While there is an opening for harness attachment (which, hey, that’s half the battle), it was a little high up on the back for the harness I had on Moo. This caused a bit of harness tugging underneath the jacket. In addition, the harness opening has clasps to close it, which is a great idea to keep your dog dry, but it caused a weird kind of folding and bunching when I attached the leash to the harness buckle. These things were pretty small potatoes though, and by no means deal breakers.
The other issue we had was with the hindquarter attachment loops. This is a feature designed to keep the jacket sides laying against your pup’s lower end but Moo was just not a fan. She wouldn’t walk when they were around her legs, and barely waddled when I threw the tennis ball for her (there are few things in this world that will keep Moo from chasing after a tennis ball, so these straps were a no-go for us). Granted, this is no flaw of the jacket itself. I actually appreciate that they’re there and think it’s a great feature in and of itself. Because we didn’t use the straps, however, the jacket stuck out a little more than it probably should have it the back, which was only an issue because it caused the jacket to get a little wet and muddy on the inside fleece. (note: Jessica says that the straps don’t bother Chester and Gretel at all so each dog is different)
I should mention that, due to Moo’s low stature, her stomach, as well as the bottom part of the jacket, did get pretty muddy. This mess is one that I’m sure all Doxie owners out there can relate to. If there’s mud on the ground, Dachshunds will be wearing it, jacket or no jacket. This is no deficiency of the parka, just the nature of putting any article of clothing on a dog breed that hovers only a few inches above the ground. Luckily, the jacket is washing machine friendly, so it was easy to get it clean and ready for Moo’s next adventure.
Overall, I really can’t say enough good things about this parka. I would recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a quality outdoor jacket for their dog this winter. It’s really adorable on Moo but, most importantly, She likes it and is comfortable climbing a mountain in it. I applaud Hurtta for this awesome parka design, and look forward to watching Moo climb mountains in comfort and in style.