What to consider when choosing a dog jacket
Have you ever found yourself hesitating halfway out the door with your dog, trying to decide if the chilly weather calls for a dog jacket? How do you know whether your pet’s natural coat is cut out to keep them cozy in the cold?
To bundle or not to bundle?
Although the many sizes, shapes and coat types of our dogs makes it impossible to have one hard and fast rule about when to bundle up your best bud, here are some dogs who should always cover up in the cold:
- Small dogs, like chihuahuas and Yorkshire terriers, lose heat very quickly from their tiny bodies.
- Lean breeds, like greyhounds and whippets, likewise don’t conserve heat well thanks to their elegant, skinny shape.
- Short-legged dogs, even if they are long-haired (like some dachshunds) or thick-coated (like corgis), can easily be chilled when their warm bellies contact snow or ice.
- Dogs who have been groomed to have short hair, like poodles, no longer have their natural insulation, so they will need a jacket to do the job.
- The very young and very old don’t regulate their body temperature as well as dogs in their prime and get chilly easily.
- Dogs with certain illnesses, like diabetes or kidney disease, may also have difficulties regulating their temperature and struggle with extreme cold.
Even if your dog didn’t make the list, they may still sometimes enjoy a jacket when the weather gets very frigid or if they stay outside for a prolonged time. Always watch your dog for signs of hypothermia, like whining, shivering, lifting their paws or refusing to keep walking, and be ready to get them back to warmth quickly. Also watch your jacketed buddy for signs of overheating, like panting or drooling, which can happen once they warm up from their frolicking.
Tips for choosing your dog’s jacket
With so many options to choose from, here are some things to keep in mind when searching for the right coat for your canine:
- Sweaters are great for added warmth indoors, but waterproof jackets are the best option for outdoor use, especially on snowy days.
- For maximum snugness, choose a jacket that also covers your dog’s chest, belly and neck.
- Check the fit to make sure there are no tight spots that may rub (if ordering online, you can use a soft measuring tape or a piece of string and a ruler to measure your dog against the sizing charts).
- Avoid buttons, flowers or other decorations that your dog may chew and swallow.
- Choose a jacket that is machine washable.
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