Have you wondered whether or not your dog needs a coat or booties in the winter? Every dog is different, so here is a guide to help you choose the right cold-weather gear to protect your dog from the cold, snow and ice.
Does your dog need a coat?
How do you know if your dog needs a coat in addition to her natural fur coat? Well, if you live in a brutally cold area such as Fargo, almost any dog may need an extra coat, at least on longer walks. But regardless of temperature, it's best to look at the individual dog.
Does the dog appear cold? Does she shiver on walks? Is her fur short? Does she have a lot of body fat? Is she a senior? Older dogs tend to get colder easier, and so do puppies.
Also consider how much energy your dog has and what you'll be doing outside. Dogs with more physical energy tend to be mostly moving around, pulling and jumping with excitement. They may not feel as cold since they're moving around more. However, if you're going to be out for a long walk, you may still want to consider a coat for your dog. This is especially true if your dog will get wet from rain, snow or slush.
I didn't think my Lab mix Ace would need a coat the first winter I had him because he just never seemed cold. He was one of those young dogs who would always race around rolling in snow, jumping in it and eating it. But I soon realized that after so much time outside, his fur would get wet and he'd start shaking. I ended up buying him a dog coat for our winter hiking trips so he wouldn't be miserable after playing in the snow.
If you like to do a lot of outdoor activities with your dog in the winter like hiking or long walks, a dog coat will be a good idea for those extra cold days.
What kind of dog coat is best?
At dogIDs.com there are several dog coats and sweaters to choose from.
Dog sweaters are nice for keeping a dog warm indoors or on walks as long as it's not slushy or raining. The ProZip dog sweater (pictured above) is one great option because the fabric is quick drying, breathable and machine washable. Frankly, I don't know why anyone would buy a dog sweater that's not machine washable. dogIDs.com also carries a variety of eco-friendly dog sweaters.
How about dog boots?
Again, every dog is different, and a lot depends on the type of activities you do with your dog outside. Some dogs don't like to step on anything cold or wet (can you blame them?), so a thin pair of dog booties may be all they need to feel more comfortable on winter walks.
Dog booties are also a way to protect your dog's paws from chemical de-icing materials found on some sidewalks, driveways and roads. These chemicals can irritate your dog's paws, and obviously it's not healthy if your dog comes home and licks his paws.
Finally, dog boots can protect a longhaired dog from getting snow and ice caught between her toes. This tends to happen on warmer winter days when the snow is wet. It can cling to the hair on a dog's paws and eventually turn into ice as the dog keeps walking. Not only is this annoying to the dog, but it can also be painful. A set of dog booties can prevent this by keeping the snow and ice away from your dog's paws.
Does your dog wear a coat or boots in the winter? We'd love to see a photo!
Feel free to post yours to our Facebook page at Facebook.com/dogIDs.