Saturday, June 18, 2016

Product Review: ThermaFur Air Activated Heating Dog Coat

ThermaFur's Air Activated Heating Dog Coat is the only heated dog clothing I am currently aware of. This waterproof dog jacket is fleece-lined. It has four pockets to hold four Heat Pax hand warmers, which stay warm for up to eight hours. This coat is available in six sizes to fit dogs with backs up to 30" from neck to tail.
warming dog jacket
Photo by Erin Koski

When I found this jacket in a thrift store, I assumed that ThermaFur was a brand of dog clothes. Makes sense, right? It turns out they actually make human products, and a couple of things for dogs. They also make the Heat Pax handwarmers that go in their vests, blankets, gloves, scarves, hats, and other accessories.

Heat Pax are a brand of chemical hand warmer. There are a variety of different types of these, including metal ones heated with lighter fluid, and reusable ones that use crystalization to generate heat. Heat Pax are disposable air activated warmers that use an iron oxidation reaction to generate heat. The reaction can last 8-10 hours, but puts out a lot less heat after the first couple of hours. Air activated warmers are kind of cool because you can stop the reaction by sealing them in an airtight container.

Reynaud's solutions
Two peas in a pod.
As I have only ever lived on the beach in Southern California, the entire concept of hand warmers would be foreign to me if not for my friend Liz. She has a whopping case of Reynaud's phenomenon. When she gets cold, her capillaries clamp down and refuse to open again until warmed with an outside source of heat. Ru is her spirit animal.

Chemical hand warmers are how Liz rescues her fingers and toes from the painful grip of the cold. I honestly never would have though of using them for my dogs until I found this ThermaFur coat. Since the heat packs are designed to go inside human gloves and shoes, I'm pretty confident they won't get hot enough to burn my dogs.

The jacket itself is pretty basic. It's waterproof and fleece-lined, but fairly thin. A lot of reviewers report that it keeps their dogs reasonably warm, and it stays on well. The coat has good chest and belly coverage, though it's a better for for short backs and relatively wide chests. The neck does not adjust.

Pros: Has pockets for chemical hand warmers to keep dogs toastier than body heat alone. Waterproof and insulated. Good chest and belly coverage with reasonable freedom of movement.

Cons: Does not cover most dogs to the base of the tail, does not provide as much coverage as I'd like.

Bottom Line: I might actually get a Ru-sized ThermaFur jacket when we finally move somewhere with seasons.

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