Winter has arrived in Toronto, in spite of the odd day that’s not quite so cold. It’s definitely time to start wearing a coat, though, and that applies to your dog as much as it does to you. Coats not only keep your best friend warm in cold weather, but make a canine fashion statement at the same time.
A recent Ipsos Reid study showed that the pet industry in Canada is worth more than $8.9 billion a year. With a good chunk of that spent on doggy clothing each year, your Chi-girl isn’t the only one wearing custom-made clothes. But should your dog be wearing a coat? Here’s how to decide:
Type of Hair-Coat
The type of hair or fur your dog has affects how much he feels the cold dramatically. Dogs with thick, weather-proof undercoats such as Siberian Huskies and Welsh Corgis can handle low temperatures well, with some even preferring the outdoors in winter for that reason. Dachshunds and Greyhounds, on the other hand, are genetically unsuited to cold weather. Even dogs with long and thick fur such as Border Collies might feel the cold, especially if some of the other factors apply.
Size of the Dog
Your cuddly little Dachshund, MinPin or Yorkie-Poo is likely to feel the cold faster than a bigger dog does, for several reasons:
- Smaller dogs’ bodies generate less heat than bigger dogs;
- When you walk a little dog outside in the snow, he or she is closer to the cold ground
than a bigger dog would be;
- Dogs lose body heat through their ears, and little dogs’ ears are usually bigger in relation to their bodies.
Size definitely plays a role in determining whether your dog feels the cold enough to wear a coat or not.
While your best friend is in the prime of her adult life, she’s able to handle more extreme temperatures than when she is very young or older. Puppies generate higher levels of body heat but cool down faster, and like baby humans, they need more help to handle the elements. Once your pooch reaches seniority such as 7 years or older, her immune system might be weaker and she will feel the cold more keenly. A warm, fleecy coat will give her the extra source of warmth she needs and matching booties will keep her feet dry and snug.
State of Health
Give your pooch a coat to keep her warm if she has poor health or specific medical conditions. Illnesses that impair hair growth such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease can cause her to feel the cold more. If you see her shivering, whining, slowing down or seeming anxious in chilly weather, she might benefit from a snug, fleecy coat. Without proper care in cold weather, dogs that aren’t in peak health condition might get frostbite or suffer from hypothermia more easily than others.
Does your dog wear a coat or booties in winter? Send us your photos for the Richmond Hill animal hospital gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org.