Pet Products

Shopping for the right Dog Coats

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Dog coats 101

Many dogs do not like cold weather, usually those breeds that are small and have less fur. To make matters worse, the North American climate is not very animal-friendly. Winters are cold and temperatures often drop below zero. Therefore, most dogs prefer to be indoors during the winter. Unfortunately, dogs have to exercise every day and also take care of their bowels and bladder. Keeping the dog indoors continuously throughout the winter can change the dog’s behavior and lead to anger, frustration, isolation, and home destruction. So for most dogs, going outside in winter is a must. The solution to the cold is a dog coat.

What breed of dog needs a coat?

Not all dogs need a jacket when venturing outside. Dogs like the Siberian Husky, the long-haired Alsatian, Malamutes and the Saint Bernard are already blessed with a thick coat and can easily withstand the cold. For many other breeds, however, the cold can be difficult to tolerate. Breeds such as Havanese, Chihuahua, Yorkshire Terriers, Poodles or Daschund cannot stand the cold and need a dog jacket. However, the dog size alone is not the decisive factor in whether a dog coat is needed. Many large breeds of dogs, such as the greyhound, Great Dane, pit bull terrier, and Doberman pinscher, have very short coats that do not provide significant insulation.

What should be considered when buying a dog jacket?

Today there are winter clothes for many dog ​​breeds that take their age and location into account. However, before you buy a dog coat, there are a few things to consider:

  1. Dog’s Age: In general, puppies and older dogs are more likely to feel cold and therefore need a dog coat. Younger dogs that are active usually generate enough heat in the open air that a dog coat is not needed. However, if the dog is outside for a long time, a dog coat is recommended regardless of age. For example, if you leave your dog outside at night in cold weather, you can at least put on a dog coat.
  1. The dog’s health. Dogs with chronic health problems like arthritis, thyroid problems, cancer, or diabetes are generally frail and cannot tolerate the common cold. Hence, these animals can benefit from a dog coat. Additionally, dogs that are acutely ill or recovering from an injury can benefit from a dog jacket.
  1. Fur Density: It is important to know your dog’s fur thickness and density. For example, a husky usually has a very thick coat, but a rottweiler or doberman does not, which is why the latter breeds are more likely to need a dog coat.
  1. Activity level: Dogs that are active generally generate enough warmth and can tolerate the cold weather. However, if your dog is sluggish, old, and frail, he may not be physically active and, as a result, is not generating enough heat to protect him from the cold.

How do you buy a dog coat?

Take the dog’s measurement to make sure the jacket fits properly and is comfortable. You should measure the length of the dog’s back from the shoulder to the base of the tail. Then get the girth in several places, starting at the narrowest part of the chest below the rib cage and in the chest area just behind the front legs. Finally, you will get the diameter of the collar area. When you have the measurements it is important to correct a slightly larger size by a few inches than a smaller size. The dog jacket should not be too tight around the waist or neck and also not too loose, as the cold wind can then easily pass through.

What types of dog coats are there?

  1. Wool clothing: Dog coats are made from many fabrics, of which wool is very common. The wool is soft, gentle on the skin and ideal for areas in the country where temperatures are not too cold (usually above 5 ° C). Woolen clothing is not suitable for areas where temperatures are below 0 ° C. Dogs with long coats may prefer thin wool jackets because they can retain heat and also exercise without becoming overheated. Small puppies and older frail or sick dogs may need a thick piece of woolen clothing to prevent heat loss.
  1. Windproof jackets: In autumn and winter the weather can be cold and windy. In such cases you should buy a windproof coat for your dog. These windproof jackets are made of nylon or a plastic polymer. The windproof jackets are comfortable, allow ventilation and do not prevent the dog from overheating. When the weather is below OC, the windproof jacket can be combined with a wool coat to give the dog additional protection.
  1. Rain is common in North America and for those who walk the dogs year round, a waterproof jacket or dog raincoat is highly recommended. Made of nylon, these waterproof jackets are comfortable and prevent the fur from getting wet. They can even be paired with the wool coat for extra warmth.
  1. Combined dog coats: Today there are three-layer dog jackets that are not only warm, but also water and wind repellent. These three-layer dog jackets are ideal when you take your dog for a walk in the snow. The inner wool layer prevents heat loss and the two outer layers prevent the fur from getting wet. These combo three-layer jackets are not recommended for active dogs as they can cause overheating.
  1. Reflective Fabric: When purchasing a dog coat, it is important to have a reflective jacket or strap. In winter the days are shorter and it is often dark early in the evening. Therefore, a reflective coat can allow others to see the dog. In addition, this makes it easier for the owner to recognize the dog when it is on a leash and playing in a field.
  1. Dog leash. Many dog ​​jackets also come with a clip that can be hooked onto a leash. Instead of using a collar, the dog jacket can be attached to the leash.

What about accessories?

In North America, the winter months are often associated with snow and ice on the ground for many days or weeks. If you have an arthritis dog that is old and / or frail, consider buying leg warmers. Due to the frequent use of antifreeze and salt on the sidewalk and streets in winter, protecting your dog’s paws is important. The antifreeze can seriously damage the paws. So some kind of dog shoe is recommended. Here, too, choose leg warmers that are tight-fitting. If they are too tight, they can restrict movement and make you feel uncomfortable. If the leggings are too loose, they will fall off. Get adjustable leg warmers. You can buy leg warmers made from fur or silicone.

When should the owner wear a dog jacket?

While it is obvious that a coat is recommended when the weather is extremely cold, sometimes the weather may not be cold enough; Therefore, it is important that the owner pay attention to the dog’s behavior. If the dog is shaking or refusing to go out, it could be an indication that a dog coat is required. In some cases, after putting on the jacket, the dog may overheat and gasp excessively or even scratch the jacket. These are signs of overheating and the jacket should be moved around. Other factors that can determine the need for a jacket are sun exposure, the dog’s activity level, and the color of the hair. Black-coated dogs have tremendous ability to absorb the heat of the sun and generally don’t need a jacket. Ultimately, one should use common sense; If the dog is only going outside for a short toilet break, a dog jacket may not be required, but it won’t hurt to dress.

Keep the dog safe

It is important for dog owners to understand that putting on a dog coat is not 100% effective against frostbite or hypothermia from cold weather. Therefore, the dog owner should always take the following precautions:

  1. Do not leave your dog outside in the cold for long periods of time without protection or even without a kennel.
  2. Regularly check the ears, tail, or paws for signs of frostbite. These areas are often not protected by a dog’s coat.
  3. Always check for any signs of overheating, including red gums, drooling, excessive wheezing, and high body temperature. If these signs are present, take your dog to a veterinarian right away.
  4. Do not leave the dog’s coat on in the house as this can lead to overheating.
  5. Finally, remember that just like humans, dogs can develop allergies to certain substances or detergents. So check the dog’s skin regularly for redness, pain, and itching.

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Robert Dunfee