INFO: Does my dog need a coat?
Does my dog need a coat?
A legitimate question. We are happy to the factors you have to consider to determine whether your dog needs a coat ...
- Coat type and physique
- Health / Conditions / Age
- Your comfort
Coat type and physique
Dogs with single short coats are much more sensitive to cold temperatures and many of them need a coat at temperatures approaching freezing. Such as Dobermanns, Boxers, Ridgebacks, Weimeraners, Great Danes, ...
Dogs with a short coat and no undercoat that also have little subcutaneous fat are the most sensitive to cold and enjoy a coat as from 10 degrees. Such as Italian greyhounds, Whippets, Galgos, Greyhounds, Podenco, Vizsla, Dachshunds, ... and crosses with these breeds.
Just like us, one dog has a better tolerance for cold than the other. Even if they are of the same breed. So always look closely at your dog and also feel his body. If he behaves like a he’s cold or his body temperature approaches 35 ° C, he needs a coat.
Of course this also applies to hairless dogs.
In general, dogs with a thick undercoat can withstand the cold. If they start playing in the snow, you should limit this in time if they are not used to those extreme circumstances. Remember that most dogs live mainly in our heated houses and their fur development is influenced by this.
Dogs with a lot of muscle mass and subcutaneous fat, but with a single coat, are more individual in whether or not they need a coat. Some seem resistant to everything, but many turn shiver below a certain temperature. Breeds like Bullmastiffs, French Bulldogs, English Bulldogs, Staffords, ...
Do not be fooled by the length of the coat. Many breeds were developed as companion dogs and, despite a somewhat longer coat, are not as cold-resistant as at you might expect. This certainly applies to smaller companion dogs, especially below 10 kg. More important is to look at the density of the fur and the presence or absence of an undercoat. And of course their behavior during the walk.
Dogs under 10 kg are generally more susceptible to hypothermia. The cold penetrates more deeply into their bodies and they are generally closer to the ground, making them more likely to cool down.
Dogs that are underweight or have lost a lot of weight due to medical reasons are also extra sensitive to cold.
Health / Conditions / Age
Very young dogs often have an insufficiently developed coat and often lay down on the cold ground, causing them to cool down faster than adults.
Old dogs are becoming increasingly sensitive to the cold. They are less active, have more difficulty controlling their body temperature anyway and their fur is getting thinner. Cold temperatures also have a direct impact on their stiffer joints, osteoarthritis, kidneys, lungs, ...
Sick and still recovering dogs are of course also more sensitive to cold.
Dogs with a wound on the body can often benefit with a shirt or UV shirt. A wound can be painful in the cold, the wound and its shaved environment must be protected against UV in the summer. Dogs with certain skin conditions may also need a jacket or shirt for that reason.
But don't forget the recently trimmed and shaved dogs! Their body is used to a full or longer coat, so they often need extra protection in the winter.
And of course the type of walk is also important to consider. Dogs that do not always need a coat will get too hot with a coat if they can play and run freely, but do need a coat during a quiet city walk.
Sometimes a raincoat is a handy option for dogs that do not need a coat. Usually this is for your comfort. If you go outside for a short walk in the rain, it can be labor-intensive to dry your Newfoundland from head to toe. A raincoat with a thin cotton lining (so that does not provide heat) can then be a solution. Always choose a breathable raincoat (certainly not plastic), to avoid sweating.
- Be sure not to put a winter coat on your dog if your dog does not need it. A coat limits the loss of body heat, but if your dog is warm enough by itself, he may be too hot with a coat.
- Avoid jackets with many decorations, dogs can get stuck with them during play or nibble on them.
- Always choose breathable fabrics, even for raincoats. Non-breathable fabrics are less healthy for the coat and, due to condensation inside, less pleasant to wear for the dog (and reinforces a "dog odor")
- Avoid jackets with openings for collars or harnesses. In heavy rain, the water runs down the leash in the jacket via the hole. Also, not all rings of all harnesses are in the same place on the body and due to the movement of the leash the jacket will also "pull" / move around the body, which may be less comfortable for the dog.
- Wool (knitted sweaters) is not well tolerated by some dogs (just like in humans) and can cause itching.
- Choose jackets that do not press in the armpit, they can cause irritation while running.
- Choose flexible fabrics
The PurrFect Design Team
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