During the winter months, no one can deny it gets rather chilly around the UK. From the horribly bitter winds to icy rain and snow, it can be a nightmare!
While we're always told to wrap up warm and stay safe, what about our dogs?
While our pets are more suited to cold weather than we are, they've got loads of warm fur, there's no denying that some pets can feel the freeze too, and the cold is just nasty for them, as it is for us. So, should our dogs be wearing coats?
A large part of answering this question comes down to two things, the breed of the dog and the personal preference of the owner. This isn't an easy question to answer however.
Does my dog need a coat?
- Dogs with naturally thinner coats will be much more vulnerable to the cold than thicker furred dogs. This includes dogs whose fur is normally cut to prevent matting, breeds like toy poodles and Chihuahuas are especially vulnerable to getting chilly.
- Dogs with a more lean physique are also more exposed, breeds like greyhounds and whippets are exposed just as much. Their more muscular build doesn't hold heat in as good as long thick fur. Breeds like these are very prone to shivering in the cold.
- Some medical conditions can also affect a dog's ability to keep warm. Dogs with compromised immune systems are also especially vulnerable during the winter months as well as dogs with conditions affecting fur growth.
- Breeds like German Shepherds or Newfoundlands will actually begin to overheat if given a doggy coat. Their long thick fur is more than enough to keep them warm and they can become dehydrated from the excess heat of a doggy coat.
- It is important to remember that just like us, dogs get very hot during exercise too. This is important to remember when going out for a doggy run or playtime.
Are all coats good for all dogs?
- Most doggy coats are made out wool and fleece, and while this is a warm combination, the wool can sometimes be itchy for your pet. Which can cause irritation and scratching. If you notice your dog acting weirdly about their coat, a coat made of washable wool and cotton may be a better choice.
- When choosing a size as well, one size doesn't fit all. the fit should be snug without being uncomfortably tight. Covering the the stomach and base of the tail is essential.
- Some coats also come with ‘sleeves' which cover the legs and can restrict movement.
These things can be easily spotted, if you notice your dog acting strangely while wearing their coat, never rule out the coat as the cause.
The Verdict on doggy coats..
The conclusion here is that it's up to the owner. If your dog is naturally vulnerable to the cold, then the choice may be obvious. For some middle ground breeds though, the choice can be more difficult. For breeds like these, it up to the owner to decide more than ever. If you notice your dog is getting very cold often, maybe consider a doggy coat. Some common signs your dog is cold are:
- A hunched posture, back arched upwards with their tail between their legs.
- Whining or barking
- Early signs of hypothermia, like weakness or lethargy.
Now, what are your thoughts? Does your dog wear a coat? What made you decide to give them a coat or not? We'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas on this. Let us know on Facebook and Twitter and share this page using the buttons below.