When temperatures drop, our minds go straight to winter coats and scarves. So when it gets cold outside, should we be asking, ‘does my dog need a coat or jacket, too?’
It all depends on the breed. When you’ve got a Siberian Husky, the clue is in the name. They join dogs like Malamutes and Chow Chows who were all bred for life in very chilly climates.
When you haven’t got a dog with a halo of thick fur, these are the ones we think might benefit from having an extra layer, especially if they’re not used to cooler temperatures.
- Smaller dogs, like Chihuahuas or Italian Greyhounds, find it harder to retain body heat
- Short coated breeds – think Greyhounds or Whippets – might like more of a snuggle in cooler temperatures
- Underweight dogs have less body fat and lower muscle density, so find it hard to keep themselves warm
- Senior dogs can really feel the cold as they struggle to regulate their body temperature
- Cold weather isn’t great for stiff joints – so if your dog has joint problems or arthritis, a coat that also covers their legs will support their joints
- If your dog has been unwell, exercise can help with their recovery, so make sure they’re kept nice and cosy if it’s cold outside
- When it’s freezing cold – we’re talking minus temperatures – or there’s lots of snow, most dogs will benefit from an extra layer of warmth if they’re not used to the cold.
What about dog boots?
It’s true, you can buy boots for your dog! And they’re actually really useful.
If paths feature in your walks, you’ll probably come across grit and salt to stop the pavement from getting icy – this salt can get into your dog’s paw pads, causing irritation. Either make sure you clean their paws when you get them home, or consider investing in a pair of doggy boots.
When it’s really cold outside, and your dog is whining and stopping to lift up their paws when you’re out on a walk, they might have cold feet! Something to protect them will make winter walks a lot more comfortable.