Does Your Dog Need to Wear a Winter Coat?
December 9, 2018
We've all heard people scoff at the notion that dogs need to wear clothes. During the cold winter months, however, a coat might be just the ticket for making your pup's life a whole lot more comfortable and help you both survive winter cabin fever. If you're concerned about the cold, there is absolutely nothing wrong with putting an extra layer on your dog.
But how can you tell if your dog really needs that extra layer of warmth this winter? Here's a fairly simple answer; some dogs are better equipped for the cold than others. They've been prepared genetically with thick layers of fur that withstand cold, while other dogs were bred for warmer climates and may be really uncomfortable when the temperature drops. It's all about his breed, size, age and even how you keep him groomed. Short-haired breeds like Pugs, Whippets, or French Bulldogs will definitely appreciate a winter coat when you take them out for walks. If you keep your Poodle in a 'puppy cut' or relatively short to prevent their naturally thick fur short to prevent matting, they should get a warm sweater also. Consider your dog's age and how the cold might affect their joints and overall health as they go into their senior years.
Of course, there are some dog breeds that do not need to wear coats and that extra insulation of a winter jacket could make them uncomfortable and potentially cause them to overheat. These are dogs that were bred for extreme winter temperatures. Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, and Saint Bernards, for example, thrive in cold weather and love nothing more than running outside in the snow.
Finding the right winter coat: If your pup needs a good winter coat a great place to start is finding one with a good blend of wool or acrylic that is machine washable. Depending on what your dog is used to on their neck or body, try out different styles. Velcro around the chest area might feel more natural if you use a harness and if your pup only wears a collar she might be unfazed by a turtleneck. If you're a D.I.Y. maven here's a great way to make your own doggy winter sweater using your own wardrobe.
Your dog's winter coat should fit snugly but not be too tight around the neck or chest as to cause discomfort. First things first, get out your measuring tape and measure around the neck, the largest part of his chest, and measure the distance from his neck to his waist. His coat should end at the waist. Getting the right fit is very important, no loose material that can get caught on anything as he's moving around. Also, avoid winter coat extras like zippers or buttons. They may be super cute and fashionable but could be a choking hazard if chewed off and swallowed. It's good practice to remove your dog's jacket as soon as you come inside and put away like you do your own, so he knows it isn't a toy.
Share your pup's winter wardrobe with us on Instagram by using hashtag #linkakc!