How to Know If Your Pup Needs Winter Gear
You’ve likely seen a wide variety of winter clothing options available at your local pet store, and although many of these are undeniably adorable, are they really necessary? In some cases, yes, they are a great benefit to your pet. Here’s how you can tell if your pup needs any winter gear.
Look at your dog’s breed
Some breeds are born for cold weather. Malamutes, Huskies, and German Shepherds all do just fine with their own natural furry coats. These larger breeds with lots of fur tend to do well in the cold, and some even enjoy frolicking in the snow.
Other breeds, like Whippets, Greyhounds, and very small breeds, like Chihuahuas, have a difficult time retaining body heat. Their smaller body mass and thinner coats make temperature regulation more difficult in the cold, so they would definitely benefit from a coat or sweater.
Older dogs may suffer from arthritic joints and thinning fur, so a coat or sweater could provide the added warmth they need to make outdoor excursions more bearable. With any dog, limit the amount of exposure to very cold weather, but especially take care with older dogs, who might find the cold painful.
Consider your dog’s overall health
If your dog is otherwise healthy and is a breed that is fairly well-suited for the cold, a sweater or coat isn’t necessary. But, if your dog has health issues, is elderly, or is chronically ill, you’ll probably want to put an extra layer of warmth on them for outdoor activities. You may even want to limit the amount of time spent outdoors, at least until the weather warms up again.
Regardless of whether or not your dog wears a coat or sweater, limit their time outdoors when the temperatures are very low and don’t forget about your dog’s paws. Ice and snow can be hard on any dog’s feet, so be sure to watch for signs of frostbite after outdoor play and consider putting booties on your dog for long walks.