With cold weather descending upon most parts of the country, dog owners will again be divided by the question, “should dogs wear clothes?” Although some people think that a dog wearing a sweater or jacket is superfluous, there are, in fact, many reasons for pets to wear clothes. In fact, sweaters and jackets are necessities for certain breeds.
There are a number of reasons for a dog to wear a jacket, sweater, or other article of clothing. When the weather is particularly wet or snowy, a waterproof rain jacket can make your dog, regardless of breed, more comfortable during walks. A jacket can also eliminate the “wet dog smell” from emanating the house after you return from outdoors. Even for dogs with long, thick fur that are not as affected by wet snow (such as Siberian Huskies) a jacket is convenient for reducing the amount of time it will take for your dog’s coat to dry after a romp in a blizzard.
For some breeds, clothing is necessary. For instance, a hairless dog, such as a Chinese Crested, has poor insulation against wet and cold weather. Toy breeds, even those with lots of fluffy fur, are too small to adequately regulate their body temperature outdoors and may require clothing for even short stints outside. Even larger breeds that have short hair, such as the German short haired pointer, are more comfortable in winter with an extra layer of fabric protecting his or her skin from the cold. Additionally, if your dog regularly goes to the groomer for a specialized haircut, such as a poodle cut, the removal of fur may necessitate a jacket or sweater.
The age of your dog also dictates whether a sweater should be worn. Older dogs tend to suffer from poor circulation and stiff joints, making cold weather difficult to bear. A sweater or jacket can make necessary trips outdoors more pleasant for the senior dog. Pups suffering from chronic illnesses, such as Cushing’s Disease or hypothyroidism, where temperature regulation is affected, can also benefit from an additional insulating layer.
A number of dog breeds will never require extra clothing, unless ill. Any northern or double-coated breed, such as a Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, Saint Bernard, or German Shepherd, has enough insulating fur to stay comfortable even in sub-freezing temperatures. However, if your dog has lived his or her entire life in southern California and is suddenly transplanted to Minnesota, then a light coat may be necessary until the dog has fully acclimated to the new environment.
Some pet owners do not want to put a coat or sweater on their dogs because they do not want to feel “judged” or have someone else think their dog isn’t “tough.” Ultimately, some dogs simply need to have an extra layer of protection, for any number of reasons. Always bear in mind that for some pups, being outside in the cold is no different than for humans: if you would not like to be outside without a jacket, then why make your dog stand naked in the cold?
What are your thoughts ?