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Do Dogs Need Sweaters or Jackets?

Do Dogs Need Sweaters or Jackets in the WinterSome people think dogs in sweaters simply look cute, while some think it is absurd for the descendants of wolves to be dressed in fluffy jackets. Regardless of your stance on the matter, dog jackets and sweaters can be a useful tool to keep your furry best friend safe and healthy in the colder weather.

Which types of dogs need sweaters and how cold is too cold? Use this handy guide for all the advice you need before buying your pup some outerwear.

When Dogs Need Sweaters

Not every type of dog needs help staying warm. Huskies, for example, will do much better in the cold than a chihuahua. In general, dogs with thick coats will be more naturally insulated against the cold than short-haired dogs.

Many people assume that if a dog is big, it can withstand the cold and if it is small, it cannot. While this is true to an extent (larger dogs generate more body heat than smaller dogs), there are still plenty of large breeds who suffer in the cold because of their short hair. Picture a great dane or a greyhound. They may be large, but their short coat will not protect them against the cold as well as a small breed with lots of fur, like the adorable Shiba Inu. Size is only one factor in your dog’s ability to withstand the cold.

Just because your dog is large and has a thick coat, however, does not mean Fido is totally impervious to the cold. It just means they may be able to withstand colder temperatures better than short-haired and smaller breeds.

Additionally, senior dogs, puppies, and dogs with medical conditions are also more at risk in the cold, so pay extra attention to them if you are going out for a snowy walk.

Signs That Your Dog is Too Cold

  • Cold to the Touch
  • An easy way to determine if your dog is cold is to feel their ears and body. If either are cold to the touch, you need to warm them up.

  • Shivering
  • If your dog starts shivering or shaking, skip the sweater and bring them inside. Shivering could be an early sign of hypothermia.

  • Slow Movements
  • Your dog may start moving slowly or acting lethargic when they feel too cold.

  • Cuddling or Curling Up
  • We all love to cuddle with our pets, but if your dog is being extra insistent or starts to curl up under objects to get out of the cold, they are likely trying to keep warm.

  • Limping
  • A dog’s paw pads are not impervious to the cold either. If your dog is uncomfortable with the snow, they’ll start limping or picking up their legs extra high with each step. There are some commercially available products to protect your dog’s paws, such as dog booties, but try to minimize your dog’s exposure in the snow if they do not seem comfortable.

Coat buying tips

If you decide to get a sweater for your dog to help them out, make sure they are comfortable wearing it first. Not all dogs easily adapt to unnatural layers on top of them. Make sure the sweater is the correct fit — it should be snug without restricting your dogs movements.

Lastly, if you are ever unsure about your pet’s health or your pet is showing any of the signs contact Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care today for an appointment!