People think that a dog’s fur coat should be enough to keep them warm during the winter months. They think: “They’re animals naturally meant to be in the wild.”
However, dogs are susceptible to the cold just like humans. Not to mention, some dogs have thicker coats than others. Giving your dog a winter coat can keep them warm and cozy — it can even help you survive the cabin fever we experience during the cold season.
If you’re concerned about how you should dress your pup during the winter, we’ve got a short guide to help you out:
How to Tell if Your Dog Needs a Coat
As mentioned above, some dogs are better suited to the cold than others. Dogs like Siberian Huskies are genetically prepared for snow with thick layers of fur. Other dogs were bred in warmer climates and might be very uncomfortable living in colder climates. Determining whether your dog can withstand the cold means you should look at their breed, size, age and how well you keep them groomed. Short-haired breeds like French Bulldogs, Pugs and Whippets definitely need a winter coat when you take them for walks. Other dogs like Poodles have thick fur, but often have it cut. If you tend to cut your dog’s fur, it’s wise to give them a sweater on walks around the block.
Older dogs often need a warmer jacket. Aging animals are more susceptible to the weather and are often outdoor longer especially if they have a health issue which makes them move slower. Cold weather often affects the joints and overall health of an older dog, so make sure you pay careful attention to how comfortable a senior dog acts in the cold.
On the other hand, some dogs don’t need coats at all. Dogs with thick fur have added insulation; you can call it their own natural winter puff jacket. If you put a dog jacket on these breeds, they could overheat. Some dogs breed for extreme winter weather like a Saint Bernard — nicknamed a mountain dog — or a the super fluffy Samoyed! These type of dog breeds are great to play with in the snow!
Finding the Right Winter Coat
So, what type of winter coat does your dog need? Consider buying a good blend of wool or acrylic that is machine washable. You might want to try out different styles. If you use a coat with velcro around the chest, it might be better for you to use a harness. If your dog if used to wearing collars, then they might be fine with wearing turtlenecks. DIY owners might even consider making their own dog winter coats using pieces of fabric from your own wardrobe!
Just like a human, your dog’s coat should fit snugly, but not too tight around their necks or chest; you don’t want to make them uncomfortable! A word of advice from one dog owner to another: get out your measuring tape and measure your dog’s neck, the largest part of their chest and the distance from the neck to their waist. The coat you purchase (or make) should end at their midsection. It’s important to find the right fit, especially if your dog is active (which I’m sure they are). And for your dog’s safety, don’t get a goat with zippers or buttons. These are often choking hazards for your sweet pup.
We hope you enjoy a cozy winter with your dog! If you have any pictures of your dog’s winter wardrobe, share them at the Eddie Croman Foundation site!