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Doggy, It’s Cold Outside

Does your dog need winter clothes?

Many dog owners enjoy dressing their pets in sweaters, coats, scarves, and even doggy booties, but do canines need that extra layer?

A dog’s natural fur coat can tolerate pretty cold temperatures, although some factors might come into play when considering winter apparel, including;

  • Health
  • Size
  • Breed
  • Coat thickness
  • Groomed or not

Dogs are very efficient at holding on to heat. They don’t sweat through their skin. They only lose heat through their pads and panting.

Dog booties can help minimize contact with the harmful chemical used to de-ice your walkway during the winter and also helps keep those toes warm.

Finding the right gear.
If your dog needs a sweater or coat to stay warm, here is what you should look for when shopping:

  • Snugly fit around the neck, chest, and waist. But allow freedom of movement.
  • Good fit that it doesn’t drag get caught on anything or prevent normal movement.
  • It can be easily taken off and on.
  • No zippers, buttons or other items that can be chewed or swallowed.
  • Booties that are insulated, waterproof and provide traction.
  • Snug fit of any bootie to prevent tripping.

Some dogs are uncomfortable wearing apparel and should never be forced to do so. Have a quick fashion show with your dog to see how your dog reacts to clothing, try letting your dog wear the coat in the house for minutes at a time.

Even if your dog is geared for the cold weather, you should still limit your pet’s time outside and look for signs of frostbite or hypothermia. Frostbitten areas (nose, ears, scrotum or tail) may appear pale or gray in colour and be painful or hard to the touch.

If you have any questions or concerns about your pet, give us a call for more information.

Written by: Monica Blanchard, RVT

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