Do Dogs Need Sweaters in Winter?

Do Dogs Need Sweaters in Winter?

Owning a dog has a lot of benefits, you can even shop for them.

Do dogs really need clothes? At first, this might appear at first to be a small concern for those who scoff at owners who put clothing on their pets, however, there are a majority of dog owners who have witnessed their own dogs and others’ dogs shiver from the exposure to violent, cold winds yet they may hold back from using a sweater simply because they do not want to appear odd.

However, if it is for your dog’s well-being, if they need a sweater, put one on them. Here are some things to consider: although dogs come equipped with their own external layering system, some dogs have lighter layers of fur than others, and some are not genetically suited to the environments in which they find themselves transplanted. So your dog may in fact be extremely uncomfortable with the winter temperatures — as uncomfortable as you would be if you went outside without clothing.

If you are still on the fence about this, hopefully the following information can help you decide.

Does Your Dog Need Clothes

A sweater or jacket can be useful for your dog during the cold months, especially if your dog is hesitant to go outside in the snow to do their business. A sweater or jacket can also be beneficial for your dog, if you tend to keep your home’s internal heating system low and depend on blankets for your human family members.

How warm your dog is able to physically keep himself will depend on his breed, size and even age, even if he does not have a heavy hairy coat, there is only so much curling up that he can do in order to conserve his body heat. Smaller, light bodied breeds, toy breeds, and breeds that typically have short hair or thin coats benefit from a warm dog sweater when they go outdoors, or even when they are just hanging inside the house.

A dog sweater can make a crucial difference in your dog’s feeling of well-being.

However, short, thin hair is not the only prerequisite for outer clothing. Dogs that tend to have short-cropped hair — like poodles, which may grow thick hair but which owners tend to keep short to avoid matting — should also be given a sweater to protect them from very low temperatures.

Also, older dogs with weaker immune systems and dogs with diseases that impair hair growth typically need an extra source for warmth, and this can be easily provided by a sweater or jacket, even indoors.

On the other hand, larger dogs with dense hair coats don’t have a need for additional insulation, and would be very uncomfortable if they were forced to wear outer clothing, possibly to the point of physically overheating. Their fur is already genetically designed to protect them from extreme winter temperatures. The Siberian Husky, Malamute, and Saint Bernard breeds are all excellent examples of dogs that are perfectly suited to cold temperatures, while the Chihuahua, Greyhound, and many terrier and pinscher breeds are good examples of dogs that would do well with a little extra outer insulation.

Finding a Good Dog Sweater 

Once you have decided to get a sweater for your dog, you will need to begin by considering material. Wool is very warm and one of the best insulating materials, but take into account how often it will need to be washed, and whether it will make your dog more uncomfortable due to itching. A good blend of washable wool and cotton or acrylic may be the best bet.

Also, just as you would measure your own neck, chest and waist before buying a piece of clothing, measuring your dog is the best way of assuring the best fit. Why do you want it to fit? So that your dog cannot easily pull the piece off, so it doesn’t drag on the ground, and so it doesn’t get caught on anything during normal movement. You want the piece to be snug without being tight.

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 waist. 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. If possible, take your dog along to the store with you try the clothes before buying them, as returns are very difficult when it comes to clothing for animals.

The holidays are the perfect season to adopt or foster a dog.

Have any more tips on finding the right sweater for your dog? Share your thoughts in the comments.


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