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Does my Dog Need a Winter Coat or Sweater?

Now that the weather is changing from cool fall days to cold snowy weather, it’s time to think about your dog’s needs for the new season and whether a new wardrobe is warranted.

Although most large breed dogs and those with thick coats already have all they need, puppies and older or debilitated dogs are more susceptible to the cold. If a dog shivers and is reluctant to go outside, a sweater can be a good way to acclimate them to the cooler environment and also age and health bring considerations. Heat regulation begins to decline with age, so a sweater can help an older dog or one with arthritis to enjoy his walk. Also dogs such as grey hounds and toy breeds like hairless Chinese Crested and Chihuahuas have very fine soft hair, and they would certainly benefit from a winter coat or sweater.

If you decide your dog would benefit from a warm coat or sweater, be sure to accurately measure your dog – a coat that is too tight will be uncomfortable and may generate too much heat and will cause irritation. It is also a good idea to buy a wool/acrylic blend because as with humans your dog may find pure wool itchy on his skin. You should also consider having more than one sweater in case it is soiled or wet and you should also have a waterproof coat for those wet icy days. If the skin gets wet, your dog will feel the cold even more.

You may also want to think about boots if your walks are on your city streets and salt covered sidewalks. Salt will burn and irritate your dog’s paws, and though not common, dogs can and do get frostbite. Clean and dry your dog’s feet and belly when they come inside. Pets should never be left outside when it’s below freezing. Short walks are okay but only take your dog on leash walks, and if it’s too cold limit your time outdoors.

Let’s hear from you…does your dog wear a coat or sweater? comment below.

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