Why would a dog wear a jacket during the winter?
We had one of our dedicated readers, Cheryl, write in to us about whether or not she should be putting a jacket on her chihuahua during the winter. This sparked a debate among the members of our staff. Cheryl had just moved to the Northeast from the deep South. Both her and her pup are not accustomed to the harsh, frigid winters that the Northeast is known for.
Cheryl was worried that her chihuahua would not be able to handle the cold weather well. Her main concern was that her chihuahua would get frequently get sick due as a result of the new climate – especially when she was outside enjoying some great snow activities with her dog!
Did she have a reason for concern?
One on hand…
One one hand, it can become extremely cold and frigid here in the Northeast. Temperatures during the heart of winter are regularly in the single digits. When you factor in wind chill, temperatures are often in the negative degrees. If you live in a city, such as Boston, Hartford, or NYC, you’re most definitely going to be on the receiving end of freezing wind gusts going between the buildings.
For those of you that do not live in the Northeast… having it be negative degrees outside and getting blasted with a freezing wind gust really sucks!
But you’re human and dogs have fur, so they can take it, right?
Well, not necessarily. Dogs can stand to be outside for periods of time. If they’re just going outside to relieve themselves, then they’ll be perfectly fine.
If you’re taking your dog on a 5 mile hike in the dead of winter, your dog’s body temperature will significantly lower. When body temperature falls outside the normal range, then your dog will have a harder time fighting off the natural airborne viruses that they encounter in their daily activities.
So how would a jacket help?
It’s pretty simple – a jacket will help to keep your dog’s body temperature up.
Most dogs coats have two layers to them – an inner fleece layer and an outside polyester layer. The inner fleece layer does a fantastic job of retaining body heat. The outside polyester will help to shield your pet from wind. The combination of the two layers provides an excellent guard against the winter elements.
It’s also advised that when you finally do come inside, you have a heated dog bed waiting for your pup.
Keep in mind…
Keep in mind that a winter jacket on your dog is not the end all be all to keeping them warm. You should exercise caution when taking your pet outside for prolonged periods of time during the winter.
Treat your dog like they were your child. If you think your child would be too cold after X amount of time, then odds are your dog would be too.
If you live in an area that’s prone to snow and ice, you may want to pick up some paw wax.
Thanks for reading. We hope Cheryl’s question sparked you to take action to protect your dog during the winter.
Be sure to check out our extensive list of articles and product reviews!DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. Should you think that your pet needs medical attention, please contact your local veterinarian.