As a dog walker, owners often ask me if their dog needs a coat during the cooler winter months.
It's a great question but one that I can't give a definite answer to!
Even though we're feeling the colder air and rug up when we head outside for a walk, your dog may or may not feel the same.
To help you decide if your dog needs a winter coat, let's explore why some dogs love a coat, and others don't.
Is a winter coat for a dog purely a fashion statement?
You may have seen some dogs in your local park looking like their owners have 'styled' their pooch! The dog is flaunting a beautiful winter coat as it trots along.
Pet fashion has boomed over the past few years, with many new pet parents treating their dogs as children and spending money on doggie fashion.
And this may leave you thinking, should my dog wear a winter coat? Even if it's just a plain one!
The answer depends on your dog's breed, size, age and coat.
Not all dogs will need a winter coat
When deciding if your dog needs a winter coat, you'll need to consider its breed, size, coat and age.
Dogs who benefit from a winter coat include:
Small or medium dogs with thin coats, such as Chihuahuas, Terriers, Dachshunds etc.
Thin dogs such as Whippets or Greyhounds
Dogs that have been clipped short, such as Poodles
Older dogs as they can't regulate their body temperature as well
Dogs who won't need a winter coat include:
Small or medium dogs with thick coats, such as Pomeranians or Chow Chows
Large dogs with thick coats, such as Huskies, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Collies etc.
If you're unsure whether your dog needs a winter coat, ask your vet or local pet shop for advice.
When should my dog wear a winter coat?
Now you've decided if your dog needs a winter coat or not, you're probably wondering how often or when it'll need to wear it.
Generally, when your dog is inside, you'll have the heater or fire on, and your dog shouldn't need to wear its coat. However, if you notice it's shivering, you can put the coat on to help warm them up.
When your dog goes outside, wearing their jacket is always best, especially if it's raining.
If you head out for a walk, you can put your dog's jacket on to help keep the wind and rain off them. Watch them and feel their body during your walk, as you don't want your dog to overheat with the exercise and jacket combination.
How to choose a winter coat for your dog
You'll find many varieties of winter coats you can choose for your dog.
At a minimum, your dog's winter coat should protect its neck and belly and cover them comfortably from the base of its neck to its tail. Ensure that when you do it up (underneath), they can still go to the toilet!
Their winter coat should fit snuggly but not be too tight to restrict their natural movements or suffocate them as they lie down.
You'll find you can buy:
Knitted coats (not ideal for rain but cosy for inside or nighttime)
Waterproof coats (perfect for toilet breaks and walks)
Thick insulated coats (for icy, snowy areas).
If you're unsure about the size, most online stores will have measurements you can check against your dog. Most pet stores will also allow you to take your dog into the store and try on their various winter coats.
Would you prefer a dog walker to take your dog out during the winter?
If you shudder at the thought of winter walks with your dog (winter coat or not!), why not consider booking a local dog walker?
I service the areas of Glen Iris and beyond and love
taking dogs out for their daily walks. I can also tell you whether you should have a winter coat for your dog.
Here's a list of all my services.
Using my new online booking form, you can book a pet minding service online, including dog walking and pet sitting.
If we're meeting for the first time, please book a meet-and-greet session so I can meet your pet.
Until next time, pat your fur babies for me!