Weather or Not: Should Dogs Wear Clothes?

Weather or Not: Should Dogs Wear Clothes?

Adorable? Silly? It’s debatable, but the fact is that yes, many dogs do need clothing in the cold weather. Learn if you shoudl be shopping for kicky winter gear for your fashion forward fido. 

Which Dog Breeds Need Clothes

Much of whether your dog requires clothing in the winter months will depend on how warm your dog can stay based on breed, size, and age. For instance, if your dog is smaller, a light bodied breed, such as a Chihuahua, Greyhound, or terrier, your dog may benefit from wearing a protective sweater or coat to stay warm when going outside. Additionally, dogs that have short-cropped hair, such as poodles, or older dogs and dogs with diseases such as Cushing’s disease or hypothyroidism, will gain comfort in layering up when hitting the street for a walk.

Many larger dogs, that were breed for cold weather climates, such as the Siberian Husky, Malamute, and Saint Bernard do not require a sweater or coat as their fur provides enough warmth to protect them from extreme winter temperatures.  

Fitting My Dog with a Sweater or Coat

When shopping for winter gear there is more to consider than if your dog is going to get tons of admiration from passers-by or if the sweater will compliment your own fashion statement. First and foremost, you must make sure you are purchasing the right size for your dog and that the fit is right.

As there is no standard of what a small, large, or extra large is with manufactures of dog clothing, you should measure your dog prior to ordering. To determine the right size for your dog, measure around your dog’s neck, around the largest part of the chest, and the distance from the neck to the waist, and first and foremost, know your dog’s weight.

Ideally, whatever garment you choose for your dog, the fit should be snug, but not too tight allowing for comfortable freedom of movement, and be easy to put on and take off. A properly fitting sweater or jacket should not drag on the ground, get caught on anything when walking or running, and cannot be pulled off by your dog. Additionally, the garment should end around the waist so your dog can easily take care of business.

The Best Material

Once know your dog’s measurements, you can begin shopping for the perfect sweater or jacket (heck, maybe two or three). Before buying that adorable wool sweater, take into consideration that, wool, while great for insulation, isn’t a material you can throw in the washing machine after a day at the dog park. Also, will it make your dog itch? Look for materials that can be easily washed and that, while snuggly and warm, also breath. Consider a blend of washable wool and cotton or an acrylic.

Give ‘Em the Boot

While a sweater or jacket may be easier to understand, boots are also important protective gear for your dog in the harsher weather. When it snows the pads of your dog’s feet are exposed to multiple hazards including ice that can form balls between the webbing of your dog’s feet and salted sidewalks and driveways. The salt used on sidewalks, driveways, and roads can often burn the pads of your dog’s feet. In addition, when your dog is cleaning the pads of his feet, there is the risk of ingesting chemicals from the salt and deicers.

Have Fun!

Now that you know why your dog should wear a sweater or jacket and a pair of boots the fun part begins: shopping. Whether you are a hipster, a sports fan, or a perky prep, there is a sweater or jacket to sync up your dog’s style with your own. In fact, you can check out a few stylish sweaters selections here or coats here.  

Photo via Flickr user mbtrama

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