We live in a Mediterranean climate, and even though the days are getting shorter, it’s still warm, and a fleece is only really needed in the evenings. However, I have already seen a lot of Dogs out an about wearing thick winter coats.
When we lived in England our Schnauzer Nessa had a warm coat for winter. This was because it often snowed and she loved playing in it. So my question for today is “Do Dogs need Coats?”
Not all Dogs Need a Winter Coat or Jumper
Obviously where you live and your breed of Dog are very important factors. Just because us humans are beginning to feel the cold, this does not mean your loved one is too.
Larger long haired Dogs do not need to have an extra layer. Examples of these are Malamute’s, Saint Bernard s and the Siberian Husky. These are perfectly happy in cold temperatures. For them an extra layer would be extremely uncomfortable and would most likely result in them overheating. There are also large breeds that might need an extra layer to keep them warm. For instance, a Greyhound is a large Dog, but with very short fur and little body fat. An extra layer will definitely be suitable for these animals.
Small short haired breeds will often need an extra layer in cold spells. Also, older Dogs, puppies and poorly Dogs can benefit with some extra warmth. If it is cold outside then put the jumper or coat on for when they are outside and doing their business. Once inside, where it is nice and warm, take it off. You do not want your Dog overheating.
If, you live in a warmer climate you do need to ask yourself if any Dog needs a coat or jumper. Yes, I know they look cute, and it’s certainly a conversational piece when all the Dogs are together running around in their woolly jumpers. However, they do have fur, so do they need a coat?
A Jumper will Not Always keep your Dog Warm
An important thing to remember is that we are a lot taller than our four legged friends. Where it is comfortable for us to walk around in a Jumper it might not be the same for our Dogs. If, you are walking on wet grass or there is dew on the ground the jumper is going to get wet. This will act in the same way as it would for us. Wet means cold and uncomfortable. It doesn’t matter how cute they look, their health and happiness is your priority.
Personally, I would only have my Dog wear a Jumper if it was really cold and the ground was dry. Also, if it’s really cold in the house, then I would recommend a jumper for a smaller short haired breed.
If it’s wet and cold then a fleece lined waterproof coat is the best idea. This will keep him warm and dry. Once home you can remove the coat and you will only need to dry his paws and face.
Not all Dogs will Become Accustomed to Wearing a Jumper or Coat
Some Dogs take to wearing outer garments like a duck to water but others will never take to it. If, you leave it until the last minute before you walk out the door your Dog may dislike the idea and “freeze in place” or go absolutely bananas. You can try to calmly “dress” him and let him wander around the house first to get used to it. NEVER force your Dog to wear an outer garment and then drag him out of the house. You may just have to deal with the fact he won’t wear it. Then you may need to come up with another idea.
Our Hudson has a waterproof jacket for when it’s tipping it down. He has no qualms whatsoever wearing it. On the other hand our Nelly hates it with a vengeance. Although she hates the rain, she would rather get wet than wear her coat. Luckily she only weighs 3 Kg so it’s not too much to dry her when we get home.
Quality not Quantity
When choosing a Jumper or Coat remember it’s quality not quantity that counts. A thick coat does not mean it’s going to keep your Dog warmer. It is more likely to be uncomfortable for your Dog and could impair his movement resulting in him getting stressed out and possibly overheating. Technology these days provides lot lighter garments that are lined adequately, therefore presenting a more suitable warm garment.
Even when buying Jumpers, make sure you do the research first. You must make sure it is a comfortable fit and doesn’t have bits hanging off it that could get caught in bushes or furniture. These include zippers, buttons, tags and hooks. All these can get caught or chewed off and swallowed. Make sure it is easy to pull on and off and it does not cause your Dog to struggle. The most common mistake I have seen is jumpers that are too tight which cause your Dog to act like a fish on the end of a line when they are being removed.
Think about the material, a wool jumper may be warm but how often will you need to wash it? Will your Dog be comfortable with wool or will it cause him to itch? A good blend of wool and cotton is a great idea. Make sure it has a tight weave so it is more durable and will last longer.
Measuring for a Jumper or Coat
Make sure you know the measurements of your Dog before you go to the shop or order online. Make sure your best friend is standing up and measure from the base of his neck (where the collar should sit) to the base of his tail. Also, measure his chest and waist. The majority of clothes use these measurements. If unsure go for the larger size as comfort is paramount. Never make him wear tight clothes that impairs his movement or breathing.
Once you have your garment and he is wearing it, check he has plenty of movement around the neck and the armpit area and he has plenty of freedom of movement. If, you are happy with his fit then he should be too.
It can be a confusing time once winter arrives on our doorstep. Does my Dog need a Coat or Jumper or is it just a fashion thing? It really does depend on where you live and the breed of your Dog. Just because your neighbour has a Yorkie with the latest trendy dog coat it doesn’t mean he needs it. He could be overheating and dehydrating quickly in his coat.
On the other hand you maybe in your house and your toy poodle who is shivering uncontrollably. There is only so much curling up they can do to keep warm. Get a blanket to cover him and he will let you know when he is too warm. Alternatively put a pretty jumper on him to keep him warm. He won’t care what design or pretty pattern it has. As long as he is warm he will be happy.
I hope this article has helped with any misconceptions as to whether or not to go and buy a Coat or Jumper for your loved one this winter. Please see a few of my favourites on amazon.co.uk.
Any tips or comments please feel free to leave me a message below.
Until next time.