Many dogs will benefit from a layer of clothing in the wintertime, especially when they head outdoors. For dogs with thin or short coats of fur, a coat can help keep the body warm, and boots will help protect the sensitive paw pads from cold surfaces, dangerous road salt, and ice-melt products. Outer layers are also a good choice for senior dogs with more fragile immune systems, and they’re absolutely essential for hairless breeds like the Chinese Crested and the Mexican Hairless.
It’s important to note that some breeds are, in fact, built for the cold, harsh conditions of winter. The Siberian Husky and the Saint Bernard are just two examples; these dogs may actually become dangerously overheated if forced to wear extra clothing!
Jackets, coats, and parkas are best for dogs who frequently venture outdoors, especially when it’s snowing. Sweaters may hold moisture when they get wet, making a dog very uncomfortable and potentially even contributing to deadly hypothermia—it’s best to have your dog wear a sweater indoors, then switch to a coat when it’s time to head out. Boots are a good idea for most dogs, except those who have evolved to grow heavy fur on the paws to help protect the paw pads.
Jackets, sweaters, parkas, snowsuits, boots, and other winter clothing may come in small, medium, or large sizes, or garments may be designated with a weight range to suit particular sizes of dogs. Choose the closest fit that is applicable to your pet—you don’t want to dress your dog in clothing that’s too tight or too loose, as either scenario can make a dog uncomfortable and anxious. Do your best to choose garments that fit your dog snugly, but still allow plenty of movement with no restriction. If you’re handy with a needle and thread, you can even customize your pooch’s clothing for a perfect fit!
Wondering what type of winter clothing will best suit your dog? Call your vet’s office today!
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