Brrrr ! Winter is here. You may be snug as a bug in a rug in your winter coat. But, what about your pooch? Dog winter coats may be cute … but, does he need one?
Here’s your answer! Some do; some don’t! Shorter-haired breeds, puppies, dogs with some medical conditions and older dogs definitely benefit from the additional warmth a coat or sweater can provide.
Some dogs with a thicker or a denser coat, such as the Siberian Husky, probably don’t need a coat. Greyhounds, on the other hand, are more sensitive to the cold weather, so this particular breed could really use some extra warmth. Assess each breed and individual dog.
Some dogs aren’t comfortable wearing ‘clothes’ and shouldn’t be forced to do so.
What to Consider When Buying a Coat
You will want a coat that adequately covers the neck and belly, and that also allows for neck-to-tail protection.
Waterproofing is something to consider, especially for a small to medium dog with thicker fur to keep him dry. Perhaps a polar-fleece lining with a waterproof outer layer is just what you need.
You should also consider your dog’s mobility. It shouldn’t be tight, but it does need to be snug.
Make sure there are no zippers, snaps or parts that can rub or irritate a dog. Check how any straps or fasteners sit on his coat and belly.
How to Determine the Size of a Sweater or Coat
While he is standing, measure him from where the collar would sit to where his tail begins. You will also need his chest measurement to ensure a good fit.
What about Dog Booties?
A dog’s pads won’t necessarily protect him or her from winter snow, ice and chemicals such as antifreeze. Chemicals are absorbed through a dog’s pads and then licked by dogs causing severe problems. So, dog booties may be a smart idea in the winter. If you don’t use booties, wash your dog’s pads off thoroughly after a walk. If any ice balls have formed on their feet, use warm water and a cloth to melt them.
An Alternative to Dog Booties
Musher’s Secret is an invisible boot for dogs, made of dense, barrier wax that forms a breathable bond with your dog’s paws. It was developed in Canada for use with sledding dogs and it provides tenacious protection even in the most extreme conditions. It is both safe and natural even if he licks his paws. You generally only need to apply it once a week.