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Should Your Dog Wear a Coat in the Winter?

photo of a cute dog wearing a coat | Whitworth Animal ClinicWhen it’s very cold outside, people bundle up in sweaters and coats to stay warm. But is it necessary to put a coat or sweater on your dog in winter weather?

Is your dog shivering outdoors?

If the answer to this question is yes, then you should consider putting some protective clothing on your best friend when the weather turns chilly. Some pooches have excellent layers of fur while others may not be as comfortable in certain environments. It can be due to their genetic background or the type of hair or fur a dog is born with. Their levels of warmth can also have something to do with how short or long you keep their fur. If you live in the Madison or North Alabama area, the groomers at Whitworth Animal Clinic understand the importance of appropriate hair length for different breeds of dog.

Imagine if you found your child’s body trembling and teeth chattering outdoors. You would likely make sure he or she goes inside or puts on a jacket to keep warm. The same is true of your pet who is visibly shivering.

Does Your Dog Avoid Going Out in the Snow to Relieve Herself?

If so, there could be a very good reason for this, such as not wanting to endure the cold, wet weather for any amount of time. When it’s very cold outside, we humans tend to put on a sweater and stay indoors more often. We might keep the thermostat low to save energy. But your dog may not feel as comfortable as you do, even while inside. A light dog sweater can make all the difference to your best friend.

Dogs That Need Protection From the Cold

Certain breeds of dog can handle cold weather more naturally than some. Northern breeds like Siberian Huskies, Chow Chows, Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes and other dogs hailing from snowy climates tend to have a dense coat to naturally insulate them from the elements. These animals are usually just fine in the coldest weather without any added protection.

Dogs that have short hair, are small, and don’t weigh much are more susceptible to becoming too cold when outside, especially for extended periods of time. These dog breeds can range from terriers to shepherds to beagles. Even poodles, who usually have very dense coats, can suffer in the cold if their hair is shaved or cut too short.

Smaller, lightweight breeds, such as a Pomeranian, Yorkshire Terrier and Bichon Frise, do not tend to handle the cold very well. They may not have enough body fat to insulate them in addition to having shorter hair or no fur at all.

Ask Your Vet

If you’re unsure about putting a coat on your pet, ask your veterinarian or Charles D. Whitworth, DVM in north Alabama for advice. Should you decide to purchase a coat or sweater, consider one that is made of wool or an acrylic/wool blend for best insulation. Measure your dog correctly for a good fit that makes it easy to take the coat on and off without it being too tight or loose. Your shivering pet will thank you for the extra warmth in his or her own way.

If you reside in Madison, Huntsville, Decatur, or north Alabama’s surrounding communities, Charles D. Whitworth, DVM would be happy to speak with you if you have any questions concerning your pet. Contact the friendly, helpful staff at Whitworth Animal Clinic to inquire about our services that range from health to boarding, grooming, and training.

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