Can You Turn Up the Heat?
Well here in Michigan we’ve already had some 30º days and over the next months the temps will continue to drop. I know Bear doesn’t need a winter sweater but I believe some dogs do. Is your dog one that needs an extra layer of insulation for the colder months? Here are some suggestions to help you answer that question.
My Dog’s Coat is Better Than Your Dog’s. . . .
This is true for the dogs who are already equip with a layer of undercoating. “Dogs such as Bernese Mountain Dogs, Huskies, Saint Bernards and Labrador Retrievers have their origins in cold climates, and were bred to trek through drifts of snow or plunge into icy waters. The thick undercoat that kept these dogs warm through these conditions remains today, and insulates them when romping in the snow-covered woods or playing with the kids outside on a chilly day.”¹ And of course, Goldens too!
“In fact, putting a sweater on a dog whose coat is already thick and warm may cause pet health concerns like heat exhaustion, especially if the canine is engaging in aerobic activity. With these breeds, it’s best to let their natural coats do the protecting.”¹
Dogs with shorter hair and lean body features such as the Pincers, Greyhounds, Dachshunds and Whippets, as well as toy breeds such as the Toy Poodle, Chihuahua, and some Terriers will benefit from a winter coat or sweater. “Thin and small breeds have a more difficult time generating their own body heat and keeping it in.”¹ If you have a type of dog like this, observe them. If he’s shivering or shaking then a sweater is needed. They may also need a sweater indoors if you tend to keep the thermostat set low.
Age and Health of Your Dog
Just as humans get older and tend to require extra warmth, our canine friends can too. If your dog is elderly she may also have a weaker immune system. In addition, if your dog has a health issue that causes weight reduction or hair loss then your dog may require an extra source of warmth and may be a good candidate for a sweater. A puppy of any breed may also benefit from a sweater during he winter months.
Oh, So Comfy!
The sweater you choose for your dog should be comfy, fit right and be unobtrusive for him. First, consider what the coat or sweater is made of. Although wool is very warm it has a tendency to make one itch. A combination of wool with cotton or acrylic would be a more comfortable choice.
Second, be sure to measure your dog to get a proper fit. “The most important areas to measure are around the neck, around the largest part of the chest, and the distance from the neck to the tailbone. The sweater’s length should end around the waist, leaving the lower bellow free. Knowing your dog’s actual weight will also help you to determine the correct size.”²
Third, look for things that would hinder your dogs movement or endanger him. Leg covering could hinder your dogs movement just as metal zippers may be cold on their skin. Also, look for additional buttons, hooks and strings that could be chewed off and cause choking when they are not under supervision.
Finally. look for a sweater or coat that will be easy to get on and off. You nor your dog will be happy if you have to fight him to get it on.
Now That’s More Like It
We all need to stay warm in these winter months ahead, including our”furry” friends, and your dog may think that style is just as important as function and fit! Don’t be shy about the coat or sweater you choose. There is an array of doggie sweaters and coats to choose from. From the simplest of cable knits to the fanciest with glitz and boas. So go ahead, make a statement! Have fun and stay warm!