Does My Dog Need A Coat?
Like most things with our pets it depends on the breed, size, and overall health condition of our furry friends to know if he or she needs a sweater or coat in the cold weather. Of course, there may be other reasons to consider a sweater or coat for your dog besides performance. They do look “dog – gone” cute in some of the fashions available today.
The dogs that could benefit wearing a layer include; Small dogs, Dogs who are elderly, chronically ill or both. In addition to these those consider if your dog is used to being outside in the elements or is your dog inside most of the day with the heat on. They don’t like sudden changes in temperature any more than we do.
Some breeds such as Greyhounds, Whippets, Great Danes - and dogs of a similar thin body type, especially those with short fur would be better off with the added warmth on cold days. These lean dogs with short hair lack insulating fur make winter clothing a must. What these dogs have in common is that they have a more difficult time generating and retaining enough body heat on their own. For these dogs, a little help keeping dry and warm is always a good thing.
Toy breeds and small dogs like Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Pugs and terriers – Even though many of these dogs have fairly thick coats, their small size causes them to lose body heat and they don’t produce enough heat while walking to stay warm.
Breeds with a single-coat of fur like the Maltese or Poodle – While the hair on some single-coat breeds might be long and look warm enough for winter weather, the lack of a second coat of fur means these dogs need additional insulation.
Though protection from the elements is the biggest reason to put clothes on dogs headed outside, it doesn't hurt to leave a sweater on these dogs inside if you're keeping the heat down to save energy and money.
If you have a dog with arthritis, protective clothing is just one thing you can do to make winters more comfortable. Sick or elderly dogs – Any dog who is older, suffering from illness, or both, should be given an extra layer when outside in the cold. Doing so will protect their immune systems and keep them more comfortable. Pet-safe heated orthopedic beds are a great idea; you can also talk to your veterinarian about nutraceuticals, such as glucosamine and omega-3 oils that are clinically proven to ease joint pain. Other dogs may benefit additionally from the use of pain-control medication, typically nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Even if your dog doesn’t need a coat, having one certainly won’t hurt him. I know many people who put slickers on their pets before taking a walk in the rain or snow because it saves them the trouble of cleaning a wet dog at the door before coming inside, for example. Boots help keep things neater, too, and where de-icing solutions are used, they can protect your pet from licking toxic chemicals off his paws.
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