No dog parent would “intentionally” go out of their way to make their canine friend uncomfortable, and getting your dog a sweater is one of those situations where you want to know more before making a decision that might cause discomfort to your pooch.
Dog’s might look cute wearing clothes, but this leads us to fall into the appeal of humanizing our furry friends, which can have some not-so-obvious side-effects.
The first thing to discover before choosing a sweater for your pooch is…
Does your dog need a sweater?
Here are the things you can do to decide if your dog really needs a sweater and how to choose a dog sweater that is appropriate if needed!
Here are 7 steps to help you get a suitable sweater for your pooch:
The first step is to determine if your dog needs one in the first place.
Most dogs have an easy time staying warm during the winter thanks to their coats. However, there are some exceptions:
|Short-haired dogs, especially those with no double coat.||Boston Terrier, Jack Russel Terrier.|
|Skinny dogs without enough fat to keep them warm.||Greyhounds, Miniature Pinscher.|
|Short dogs with bellies that are close to the ground||Dachshund, Basset Hound.|
|Dogs with a weak immune system or medical condition like cancer, diabetes, a heart problem, or arthritis.||As described.|
|Senior dogs, which are less able to keep their body temperatures stable.||Also as described.|
If your dog has thick fur or handles the cold and rain well, then the likelihood they would need a sweater is very low!
There’s no need to make our canine friends wear a piece of clothing that does not benefit them. 🙂
Dog clothes have gained huge attention from dog parents lately, so I think it will be useful to address the myths and facts about dogs needing clothing.
|1||All dogs need to wear sweaters in winter.||Only those listed above might benefit from clothing.|
|2||All dogs can get used to wearing a coat.||Even if you introduce a sweater gradually, your dog might still not like it. And that’s totally fine.|
The key is not to force your pooch to wear it.
|3||Large dogs don’t need sweaters.||Greyhounds, for instance, need sweaters due to their short hair and little body fat.|
|4||Dogs can wear a sweater for hours.||To avoid overheating your dog, only use a sweater or jacket when you take your dog outside.|
|5||Dogs only need a sweater in winter.||If your dog has skin allergies, as some Boston Terriers and Pugs do, a cotton sweater can help keep them from breaking into their skin, regardless of the weather.|
To avoid disappointments and wasting your money on clothes that don’t fit… you should measure your furry friend first!
Insider Tip: When measuring your dog, place your dog on a flat surface, and have him stand up, looking straight ahead. It may help if another person stands in front of your pooch, so hold his attention, whilst you take the measurements.
Take a measuring tape and follow these step by step guide to measure your pooch:
When choosing a sweater for your furry friend, it is important that it fits properly in order for your pooch to be comfortable, look cute, and stay warm.
When clothing doesn’t fit right, your dog can:
If your dog is uncomfortable wearing a sweater, don’t force him. Even if it’s the right fit, your dog might not like the sweater.
To see if your doggy is comfortable wearing one, you should test it out, gradually. Start at home and try letting your pooch wear the sweater for minutes at a time. If he consistently shows discomfort or he simply “freezes in place,” scratch the idea of a sweater and move on to other things your dog likes.
P.S: look over #5 and #7 below for the types of material and clothing to consider.
Here are a few tips to determine is a sweater is functional and comfy:
Just like we do when picking our clothing, the type of material of the garment should be considered, as it can make a huge difference:
Insider Tip: When picking the fabric for your dog’s jacket or sweater, go for an easily washed and dried option. Also, pick a material that won’t itch or irritate your dog’s skin.
To keep your doggy safe, choose clothes that have no pieces that can be chewed and swallowed like zippers, hooks, buttons or tags.
Also, when your pooch is wearing clothes:
But, how can you tell when to put on a sweater?
As a general rule of thumb, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably cold for your pooch too. Temperatures lower than 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celcius) can cause hypothermia or frostbite.
Plus, you can also look for signs in your dog’s body language such as shivering (shaking).
Here are the signs that your dog is uncomfortably cold:
Note: Dogs with chronic disease, puppies and senior dogs are more vulnerable to the cold than healthy youngsters and adults.
Depending on the where you live and how the weather is, there are different options to consider:
These are choices that you can easily shop for in Amazon.
You can also browse for more options in my dog clothes list.
Although providing for good health and a suitable environment are part of your dog’s welfare needs, animal welfare experts are warning pet owners about the risks of using clothes.
This growing trend for dog parents to clothe their furry friends is causing animals to overheat. This is due to clothing dogs that don’t need sweaters and also leaving clothing on dogs for too long.
Here’s what two experts had to say about it in an interview with Jasper Copping for The Telegraph Newspaper (source):
“Under the Animal Welfare Act, you are obliged to provide appropriate conditions and environments for your dog. So if you are slapping a great big coat on it when it really doesn’t need it, then that could cause it to suffer if it is overheating. It is the same as if you leave a dog in a car in hot weather.
Some breeds have been bred to have less fur, so in some cases it is quite appropriate for a dog to wear a coat in very cold weather. But if an owner is just doing it for a fashion statement or because they think it is cool, I would question that. If people are worried that their dog might be cold, it is worth getting some advice from their vet to see if it is appropriate or not.”Helen Briggs, a spokeswoman from the RSPCA.
“There are very few occasions when an animal needs a coat, even in the recent cold weather.
Dogs have developed a very effective coat of their own, which will protect them from the elements. It is adjustable so they can raise the fur to control their temperature. Dressing them in a coat diminishes the animal’s ability to regulate their own body temperature and could be detrimental if the animal gets too hot.
Too high a temperature is more of a risk to the dog’s health than too low a temperature. Clothing could also rub and cause sores and if the animal is wearing it for a long time, it could cause skin conditions. Fashion-wise, coats are pointless for dogs.”Mark Johnston, from the British Small Animal Veterinary Association.
That’s why it is important to determine if your dog needs clothing in the first place. Hope this article helped you have a better understanding of your dog’s needs when it comes to picking or using a sweater.
To add to the wealth of knowledge you now have, the next best step after this is to familiarise yourself with the Dog Care Pillars. This way you discover more about your dog’s welfare needs. 🙂