KATIE A. VOSS
As the winter weather picks up and temperatures drop, many pet owners may consider zipping up their pooches in something warm and cozy. Tanya Borud, DVM, practices at Southgate Veterinary Hospital in Fargo, N.D., where the mercury regularly dips to 10 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter. Borud says that while outerwear isn’t a necessity, it does help make some dogs more comfortable.
“If dogs are going for [short] walks outside, it may not be necessary, but it probably does increase their comfort,” she says. “But any short-haired dogs could benefit from a coat if they are going to be outside for any extended amount of time.”
Susan Strible, director of marketing for Ruff Wear, says that the breed and the type of coat are good indicators of whether or not a dog needs outerwear.
“There are some breeds of dogs that thrive in colder temperatures like malamutes, huskies, Newfoundlands, and other dogs with thick, heavy coats,” she says. But for short-haired dogs, like boxers, greyhounds, and vizslas, a coat will keep them more comfortable for longer periods of time when outdoors. They will conserve body heat and can utilize energy for walking and running, as opposed to expending energy staying warm.”
Outerwear is a good idea for pets recovering from surgery. “Immediately after an animal has had anesthesia their ability to regulate body temperature is affected, so it’s important to keep them in a temperature-regulated environment or use some type of outerwear,” says Borud.
And don’t forget the boots. They are a good idea if you’re going out for a long walk and will protect your dog’s pads from sharp ice.
Also, make sure to remove any clothing items when your pet comes inside.
Here are more tips:
- Clothing should fit snugly without restricting movement.
- Look for easy-on, easy-off clothing. However, Velcro often traps fur and becomes ineffective in wet, snowy conditions.
- Avoid clothing with small embellishments that can be eaten off.
- If the coat has a sewn-in D-ring, make sure that it’s secure enough to hold dogs that are strong pullers. If you’re not sure it will hold, go with a coat that has a harness opening instead.
What’s in This Season
Climate Changer Fleece Jacket is machine-washable, quick-drying, and made with 87% recycled content. Reflective trim provides visibility in low light.
Ruff Wear Inc., 888-783-3932, www.ruffwear.com
Fleece-lined Muttluks are made from waterproof fabric. The bottoms are made from water- and salt-resistant leather, and self-tightening hook and loop straps keep them snug. Fit many sizes of dogs.
Muttluks Inc., 888-688-8585, www.muttluks.com
The Puffy Coat is lined with Polartec WindBloc fleece for serious warmth and serious style. Fits many sizes of dogs.
Scooter’s Friends Inc., 312-718-3359, www.scootersfriends.com
The Cloudburst Jacket is made from 100% recycled fabric and can stand up to nature’s elements for years before being recycled again. Features adjustable and reflective flares on the back.
West Paw Design, 406-585-0505, www.westpawdesign.com
For More Information:
This article originally appeared in PetsMatter Nov/Dec 09 - Volume 4 Issue 6, published by the American Animal Hospital Association. Copyright © 2009 AAHA. Find out more.