Note: Always consult with a vet about anything your pup may need for their health!
To a canine companion, the only thing cuter than a dog is a dog in a tiny sweater. Of course we dog owners love our animals no matter what, but clad in a miniature halloween costume or raincoat, our dogs are irresistible. But all cute factors aside, how functional are doggie clothing? According to dog trainer Shelby Semel, it all depends on the dog.
For the most part, dogs like Ridgeback Terriers with short-haired coats are less protected from the cold and so a coat may be a good idea in the dead of winter, Semel noted. Similarly, dogs who have hair and not fur like Maltese and Havanese also tend to get chilly during the colder seasons.
Semel also pointed out that the size of your dog won’t protect them from the weather–it’s all about the type of fur they have. “You can have a large dog—it can be a Great Dane—but they don’t have a ton of hair and sometimes you may notice at certain weather points that they do get a little bit shaky, in which case they are likely cold and it would be helpful for them to have a sweater or a coat,” Semel said.
The winter isn’t the only time when your dog might need a sweater. If your dog has skin allergies, like Boston Terriers and Pugs commonly do, a cotton shirt can help keep them from breaking into their skin.
If you can’t decide whether or not your dog needs a winter coat, the best way to tell if your dog is cold is to see whether they are shaking. “The most obvious [sign] that you would notice that is correlated with being cold is [your dog] being a little bit shaky,” Semel said.
If your dog does need clothing to shield them from the weather, make sure you buy them the least traumatizing piece of clothing. “Figure out what works best for your dog and what they are and aren’t comfortable with,” Semel said. A dog who doesn’t like having a harness over their head, for instance, would be better off with a sweater that fastens around the waist. Other dogs may need to get used to wearing their sweater in the house before you can take them outside in it.
Overall, Semel recommends just “knowing your dog in general” and paying attention to the signs. For the most part, our dogs are accustomed to all sorts of weather conditions and they’re happy to frolic in the snow for hours at a time without a whimper!
Featured image via funkblast