Prior to starting this article I must come clean. My guilt would eat me alive if I wasn’t honest with y’all *sigh*. Dogs actually don’t need dog coats. Now that’s not to say that you can’t get them one and make them look all snug like a bug in a rug but biologically coats are not needed. Most dogs (unless for medical reasons such as Alopecia) have enough fur to keep them nice and warm during those winter months. But this article will assume that you’re going to make your dog look like he should be one of the models in the Milan 2021 fashion runway.
How do I know my dog needs a sweater?
Different dogs display different symptoms so it's important to look for clues. Look for signs such as:
- Shivering when outside or inside
- Reluctant to go outside in freezing weather (even to do their business)
- Doesn’t want to leave house or leave bed
- Signs of seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder such as loss in apetite and reduced energy
If They Aren’t Needed Then Why?
Now I know what you’re thinking, “Tony, why should I buy my dog a coat if it really isn’t needed?”. This answer may look different according to different people. Some people’s decision to buy their dog a coat is purely out of emotion. They feel bad that they’re all rugged up yet their dog is walking beside them with no coat. Although your dog most of the time will be ok this is very emotionally distressing for some people. Dog owners may also want to take a safer than sorry approach as their dogs may need time to use the bathroom or even release excess energy, compelling them to spend large amounts of time outdoors. Although I was joking before, fashion is another reason why people buy coats for their dogs. In fact, according to the American Pet Products Association, $16.01 billion was spent on pet clothing. This has increased 7% from the following year. There has also been a change in pet ownership styles as the younger generations are driving a shift towards a more ‘humanistic approach’ to pet ownership. This has forced brands to offer a larger variety of clothing options for dogs. Although terms like ‘I’m a dog dad’ or ‘I’m a dog mum’ seem funny and cute, they really articulate and represent the changing attitudes towards our pets.
Some Pre Dog Coat Purchase Considerations
Although seeming like a humorous and even impulsive decision to make, it’s important to actually consider several factors when choosing to buy or put a winter coat on your dog. These factors include
The lower the wind chill the more likely your dog will need a dog coat.
If Your Dog May Get Wet
If it is likely that your dog will go swimming, this coat might soak up water, getting heavier, making it harder for your dog to swim. If your dog and you are running in the rain or may even go swimming it is best if you buy a waterproof coat
How Sunny It Is
The more sun, the more likely it is for your dog to get over heated. Keep an eye on your dog for signs such as panting.
Dog’s Age and Health Status
Elderly, very young and sick dogs struggle keeping warm even in milder temperatures. So you’ll find that if your dog is one of these three, it may be a good idea to invest in a dog coat.
Acclimation To Cold Temperatures
Your dog’s age and health status may impact its acclimation to cold temperatures.
So Which Dog Can Really Benefit From a Dog Coat?
Although we’ve established that older, very young or sick dogs may require coats, size and dog breed also play a large role when deciding too. Smaller dogs have relatively larger surface area of which they can lose more heat. Due to this, smaller dogs may actually need a coat at higher temperatures. Dog breeds that fit this group include Chihuahuas, toy terrier and miniature pinschers. Dogs that have a higher body fat percentage thrive in cold environments. But, those who are thin such as Whippet or a Greyhound tend to need a coat more. Dogs with thin fur may also require a winter coat.
On the contrary, we have dogs that are larger and have thicker and longer hair very rarely, if ever, require a winter coat. These dogs may include:
- Chow Chows
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Bearded Collie
- Great Pyreness
Although these are great examples, it is always best to consult your vet when choosing to (or not to) purchase and put a coat on your dog.
Choosing The Correct Coat for Your Furbaby
So you’ve visited your vet and have decided it’s best to get a coat for your dog. You are now confronted with which type of coat your dog needs. It is important to consider the type of material your dog coat is made from. You may even ask your vet for recommendations on the type of materials that may be compatible with your dog’s fur coat type. When first getting your dog to try on his or her new coat, look for signs of an allergic reaction as you may prevent permanent sickness or even death. These signs and symptoms may include:
- Repeated Itching
- Swelling of the face, ears, lips, eyelids or earflaps
- Red and inflamed skin
It is important to also consider measuring you dog when buying a winter coat. This is that your dog is comfortable rather than constricted in their movements or so the coat isn’t dragged around when walking or running.
It is also best not to get your dog to wear his or her inside the house as your dog may overheat.
How to Measure Your Dog
With your dog standing up, measure from the base of the dog’s neck (where the collar sits) and to the base of its tail. It’d also be a great idea to know the size of your dog’s chest.
Although dogs don’t necessarily need a coat, each dog is different and it is important to really observe your dog’s behaviour and needs. As well as being practical, coats also make a fashion statement too. Have a click through our website to have a look at the kind of coats we have up for grabs.