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Clothes for Dogs: A Winter Necessity or Extravagance?

January 9, 2019

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Clothes for Dogs: A Winter Necessity or Extravagance?

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We all love our canine companions and want to keep them warm during the winter – so as a pet-parent, should we invest in a coat or booties? Canine fashion is definitely growing in popularity, but here, PetBucket explains whether dogs actually something warm to wear in winter…

Does your dog really need an extra layer to keep them warm?

When winter hits, humans aren’t the only ones donning extra layers. Pet owners also dress their dogs in coats, sweaters and boots to protect them from the cold. But with Fido’s built-in fur coat, does your dog really need another layer to keep warm? It turns out, that depends on his breed, size, age and health.

Consider the coat

When determining whether your four-legged friend needs extra protection from the elements, this biggest factor to consider is his coat. Breeds with short, thin fur such as greyhounds, boxers and bulldogs will appreciate or even require added layers when walking in the snow. Dogs adapted to cold climates, however, like Huskies, already have thick coats that provide them with adequate protection.

Is your pooch old or well-groomed?

It’s worth noting that owners who keep their companion’s coat short with dog grooming may also need to invest in extra layers for their pets, even if they are cold-weather breeds. Older dogs often struggle to retain their body heat more than younger pets and may lose their fur, too, so may require extra help staying warm in the winter.

Think about the size of your dog – and how close they are to the ground!

Fur isn’t the only factor in determining whether Fido needs a coat, however. You dog’s body size also plays a role in how fast he gets cold. Smaller breeds like Chihuahuas and Terriers don’t generate as much heat as big dogs, and so often require extra layers to stay warm in the winter. Dogs that are low to the ground, such as Corgis and Basset Hounds will get cold faster in the snow, too, and owners should consider a coat that covers their vulnerable stomachs.

How to pick the right coat for your canine friend

When you’ve determined whether your dog needs a coat, do your research to pick the best design to meet their needs.

In very cold climates, a winter coat that covers your companion from neck to tail is ideal, while more moderate winters may only call for a light layer. If you plan on spending a lot of time in the snow, look for coats with a waterproof design.

While dogs’ paws are built for a range of outdoor elements, pets with cracked or dry pads will appreciate a set of booties, as will those with fur between their paws that can act as a magnet for snow. You may also want to invest in boots if your pet is sensitive to the chemicals used to melt ice.

Coats should fit snugly to preserve body heat, but not restrict your pet’s ability to move. Make sure you choose a design that allows Fido to go to the bathroom, too, or you’ll be in for some major mishaps.

It’s also important to remember that fleas and ticks still operate in the colder months, so remember to take your pet’s coat or sweater off when they’re inside to check for parasites, or to invest in preventative flea treatment for dogs such as Bravecto Chews or NexGard Chewables.

Tips on how to dress Fido  

Not every dog will readily accept being dressed, so you may need to practice. Start by putting your pet in his coat for just a few minutes at a time, allowing them to slowly adjust to their new attire. Your pooch should become comfortable over time, although some dogs never adjust to wearing layers.

If this is the case for your companion, you will need to consider alternative ways to keep him warm, such as spending more time engaged in indoor play and watching carefully for signs that your dog is overly cold, such as shivering or whining, when taking walks in the winter.

About the author

PetBucket is an online retailer of flea, tick and worming treatments who ship globally. Shop their website for top brands Bravecto, Seresto, Revolution and more.

Anne is a wellness writer with a lifelong love of animals large and small. As a former veterinary technician, she has a passion for your pet’s well-being. Anne rescues and rehabilitates animals in need. She shares her farm with lots of critters including horses, sheep, dogs, cats, rabbits, and chickens
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