Baby, it’s cold outside! Just like humans, when the mercury drops, your fur child may experience discomfort. Though it’s true that they technically already have a coat, depending on their breed, age and health status, it may not be enough to fully warm their bones.
Unsure if your pet needs an extra layer this winter? Let’s investigate some signs that it’s time to buy a winter coat and unpack how to pick the best dog sweater for your chilly canine.
Does my Dog Need a Sweater?
If you have a Siberian Husky or Saint Bernard in your pack, skip the sweaters. These cold-weather breeds are built for cooler temps. Adding anything extra is likely to cause overheating.
However, toy breeds, shorthaired hounds, and puny pups, may benefit from a few additional threads. Very young or very old pets could also experience trouble regulating their body heat, so a dog coat or sweater is often a welcomed relief.
Some additional signs your dog is cold enough for a sweater include:
- Just like you, trembling is the body’s last-ditch effort to produce heat. A dog sweater is a good way to stabilize the shaking.
- Outdoor resistance. Dogs that refuse to go outside for potty breaks may be struggling with the cold. Try layering up before you head out.
- Cold ears. Feeling the tips of the ears will give you a good idea of your pup’s body temperature. When chilly to the touch, consider a dog jacket.
- Whining or barking is your dog’s way of communicating. If it appears they may be uncomfortable with the cold, don’t hesitate to help out.
- Body language. Slow movements and hunching are signs of distress. The tighter Fido’s curled into himself, the more likely he’s wanting for warmth.
How to Choose a Dog Sweater
Start by taking your mutt’s measurements. The circumference of the neck, chest, and waist are just as important as the length. Pair these with your dog’s weight to pick the best fit. Before you buy, make sure the dimensions will accommodate rather than simply relying on a S, M, or L tag.
When assessing the fit, make sure the neck fits loosely and their mobility is completely unrestricted. If you notice the leg holes are too snug or prevent your pup from moving with ease, best to trade up a size. The dog jacket or sweater should also be easy to take on and off.
Keep in mind that some fabrics are likely to fare better than others. Wool is warm no doubt, but it can irritate the skin, so blends are often preferred. You can also look for water-resistant outerwear if you’re primarily concerned about potty breaks. Otherwise, choose a fabric that can be washed and dried at home. You’ll also want to avoid too many zippers or buttons as they may create a choking hazard.
Dog sweaters aren’t the only way to keep your pup toasty. Focusing on a few nutritional elements can also help warm your dog from the inside out.
When the temperature drops, try increasing high-quality fiber sources in their diet. Feed them a high fiber all-natural dog food and the digestive heat created during digestion will help raise their body temperature.
If you’re worried all that shivering has them expending too many calories, increase their caloric intake with healthy fats like omega 3’s. These fatty acids have twice as many calories per gram as carbs and provide a host of other health benefits.
In short, though your dog was born with a coat, it may not be enough to fully stave off the winter chill. Whether your dog is sickly, skinny or short on fur, a well-chosen extra layer and some high-quality puppy chow can help bring the heat!