When winter winds come whistling through our Idaho valley, I’m the first to don a heavy overcoat, a knit hat and boots — and my dogs aren’t far behind. It’s a common misconception that dogs, equipped by nature with fur coats and a higher body temperature than humans, will do just fine in without accessories such as sweaters, coats and booties. That might be true for hardy sled who spend their days in training for the Iditarod, but I can assure you that dogs with short or thin coats or those with certain size or health limitations need just as much protection from the cold as you or I do. Here’s what you need to know about dressing your dog for winter.
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My senior dogs still need regular activity and adventure to keep their bodies moving and their minds sharp. For an older dog, I look for a coat that is easy to slide on. It needs to have a wide opening so I’m not putting strain on the dog’s neck or head, and with adequate leg openings that a dog with joint pain or stiffness can easily step into and out of. I avoid coats with legs for seniors, because lifting their feet and bending their legs to get into the coat might cause discomfort.
Green Cable Knit Wool Dog Sweater · Cable Knits Sweaters
Winter dog coats come in many styles. Some have a full leg, others have a slit, while others have a wide opening for the leg to move in. A calm dog who is content with a slow and steady pace will be fine with a coat that covers his legs. An older dog who suffers from joint pain or may not tolerate putting the process of sliding his legs in each leg hole (it can take a lot of bending to get that coat over all the legs). And any day of the week, I always go with function over style.
Monkey Hoodie Dog Sweater · Characters Sweaters