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Chase Away the Chills–Which Breeds Need Assistance with Winter Clothing

a dog dressed up warmly for the cold weather


Yep, dogs can get cold too, so depending on the breed you have, you might have to dress them properly to keep them warm in winter weather. Here is some information on breeds that may need help and how to outfit your doggo for frigid weather.


So, Does Your Dog Need Help with Cold Weather?

Some breeds do well when the air outdoors turns cold, others don’t. Depending on your dog’s breed and coat, you might need to bundle them up before going on winter walks.


Characteristics of Easily Chilled Breeds

Here are some things to look for when you are trying to determine if your dog needs help staying warm:

  • Small dogs–They chill easier than larger dogs.
  • Short-legged dogs–Their legs aren’t long enough to keep their bodies out of the snow.
  • Dogs with short haircuts, While they might have enough of the right type of hair before it was cut, if it is cut short, they won’t have enough to keep them warm.
  • Dogs with a single coat–Single coats don’t provide enough insulation to keep the dog warm.
  • Senior dogs–Because of their lower metabolism, they can chill more easily than when they were young.

So if your doggo falls into any of these categories, you will want to keep an eye on them when you are out in frigid weather.


Breeds that Need Help Staying Warm

While this list isn’t exhaustive, these are breeds that need help when the weather outdoors turns cold:

  • Basenji
  • Beagle
  • Boxer
  • Chihuahua
  • Dachshund
  • French Bulldog
  • Great Dane
  • Greyhound
  • Poodle
  • Pug
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Shih Tzu
  • Whippet
  • Weimaraner
  • Yorkshire Terrier

These breeds and similar ones will need help staying warm on those cold, snowy days.


Signs of Hypothermia

If you and your furry baby are out in cold weather, here are some hypothermia signs to look for:

  • Cold limbs
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Tired and lethargic
  • Sluggish reactions
  • Shallow breathing
  • Unresponsive
  • Dilated pupils
  • Loss of consciousness

If your forever friend is on the list, keep an eye on them while they are out in cold weather–they might need a sweater and booties!


Buying and Fitting Doggy Coats and Sweaters

Looking for a warm sweater or a nice coat to keep your dog warm? You have a lot of choices, but there are a few things to remember.


Make Sure It Fits

Before you buy, make sure that you are getting something that fits. Accurately measure around the neck, around the chest, and then from the neck to the base of the tail. This will ensure that you are getting something that will fit your dog properly.

As you are shopping make sure that it is:

  • Easy to get in and out of
  • Not too tight, not too loose
  • Doesn’t rub around the neck and front legs
  • Covers the chest, tummy and back

If it isn’t comfortable, your dog won’t like wearing it.


Sweater or Coat

a dog wearing a warm jacket on a walkway


Not an easy choice. Coats can keep your dog warmer, but sweaters will stretch a bit and move with your dog making them a little more comfortable. So if you are in doubt, try one of each. You might even want to get a coat that is a little loose, so you can put it over the sweater on those very cold days.

If it is dry outside, cotton is fine, but it can absorb a lot of water which will chill your furry baby. So you might want to find a sweater of acrylic or wool. Fabrics like fleece, denim and canvas are warm and durable, especially when they are quilted with fiberfill. Finding a coat with a nylon shell, especially if it is waterproof, will help keep your dog dry and keep snow from sticking to them.

You will find an almost unlimited choice of colours and patterns–pick the one that reflects your doggo’s personality best!


What about Boots?

What is worse than walking in cold, wet, snowy slush? If you don’t like it, you can bet your dog won’t be a fan of it either.

Boots do more than just protect your pooch's feet from the cold–they will protect them from hot and rough surfaces as well. While many dogs resist boots, with a little work and some tasty treats, you can get yours to wear them happily.

They will keep your dog’s feet warm on bitterly cold days and protect them from frostbite if they are playing and running in the snow. They can protect your doggo’s feet from salt and other chemicals that are used to melt ice, as well. De-icing agents can get ingested when your dog licks their feet after a walk and can cause health problems.

You will benefit as well. Have you ever come in after a walk in cold, wet conditions, only to have your dog leave wet, muddy tracks on your carpeting? Well, if they are wearing booties, just take them off at the door, and “poof” no tracks!


If You Think Your Dog Is Suffering From Hypothermia…

Maybe it is colder than you thought, you end up walking longer than you had planned and you notice that your dog is struggling with the cold. You need to act immediately. The longer you wait, the worse it will become

  • Get your dog into a warm place–usually your car or home–as soon as you can.
  • Wrap them in your coat, blanket…anything that can help them retain their body heat.
  • Once home, wrap them in a blanket with one or more hot water bottles.
  • Call your vet to see if you need to bring your dog in for treatment.

Quickly getting your dog’s core temperature up to normal is necessary to prevent the harmful effects of hypothermia.

a dog snuggled up in warm blankets


Dealing with the Cold

Even though it’s cold, you can still take your forever friend out, just remember to keep the walks a little shorter and look for signs of hypothermia. Dress them up warm in a sweater, coat or both, and don’t forget their booties. Now you can go out and enjoy the worst weather that winter can throw at you!