With temperatures well below freezing, you may be wondering if your dog needs a winter coat. The answer depends on 3 things.
- The breed of your dog and what type of a natural coat he has. If your dog has a single layer coat or short coat, he is more likely to need extra protection from the cold. Single layer coat dogs include Dobermans and Poodles. Short hair coat dogs include Boxers and Greyhounds. Double coat dogs such as Siberian Huskies, Akitas, Newfoundlands, Mountain Dogs, Shelties and German Shepherds have an outer coat that gives a layer of protection from the elements. Dogs with Standoff coats, which are double coats so thick the fur tends to stand off from the body, such as Norwegian Elkhounds and Eskimo dogs are well protected naturally for cold weather. Small fragile dogs such as Whippets, Italian Greyhounds and Chihuahuas tend to get cold easily and will definitely benefit from a warm winter coat.
- Your dogs' age. Puppies and older dogs need more protection in regulating their body temperature and will benefit from a coat in cold weather.
- Your dogs' health. If your dog has a health condition such as arthritis or heart disease, he will benefit from a winter coat to help regulate his body temperature and add comfort.
The pet fashion industry is reported to have been a 300 million dollar industry in 2009. But a warm coat is more than just fashion for many dogs. Be aware of how your dog is reacting to the cold. Even indoors, a coat may help his comfort level, especially if you are keeping the house cooler to save on the heating bill.
When choosing a dog coat, make sure you buy one that fits snug but not tight. Too tight a coat can cause problems for your dog, especially if he is exercising. Also, if a coat is not right for your breed of dog, it could even cause heat stroke. The key is to be aware and use common sense.
A good coat does not have to be expensive. There are plenty of coats under $20 that will help protect your dog. If you are ambitious, knitting your dog a sweater will be something you always remember and take pride in.