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Is it Bad to Dress Dogs in the Winter?

 
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. March 6, 2017
Is it Bad to Dress Dogs in the Winter?

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When the cold weather arrives, we humans wrap ourselves in layers. Sometimes we even miscalculate and wear too many clothes - it takes some time to adapt to each new season.

The same thing happens with animals. We think than they will feel cold when we take them out for a walk, so we make them wear a coat to keep warm. In the case of cats that stay at home, there are many people who place extra blankets on their bed, thinking that they can't regulate their own body temperature.

In this Animal Wised article we want to try and answer the common question: is it bad to dress dogs in the winter? What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing so?

You may also be interested in: Is it Bad to Give Dogs a Haircut in the Summer?

Do all dogs feel cold?

When caring for a dog, you need to take many different circumstances into account. A dog that lives in the city is not the same as one that lives in the countryside; a dog that lives with a 90 year old man is not the same as one that lives with a young family. Every dog has its own circumstances that need a particular approach.

Furthermore, dogs are also different in their anatomy, behavior, age and coat type. There are millions of combinations with millions of circumstances, which means there are millions of different variables. In other words, we cannot answer the question of "is it bad to dress dogs in the winter" with a broad "yes" or "no". Instead, we will help you look for the best option for your dog.

Is it Bad to Dress Dogs in the Winter? - Do all dogs feel cold?

Caring for a dog in the winter

We have to use common sense: sudden changes in temperature can lead to health problems.

Animals that live in snowy climates might face very different situations than those in milder regions. For colder areas or extreme weather conditions, the following tips may be useful in determining whether it is bad to dress your dog in the winter or not:

  • When you take your dog out for a walk, don't take it directly fromthe snug warmth of its bed to the bitter cold of the outdoors, as this change of temperature is too abrupt. Play with your dog for a while before heading out, or take it to a slightly cooler place first.
  • Small dogs are more sensitive to the cold, so it is a good idea to get them used to wearing a coat. However, dogs should only be dressed outdoors, never indoors. Some of the breeds prone to getting cold include the Chihuahua, the Prague Ratter and the Maltese.
  • Take care of your dog's paws and pads, as they are very sensitive. Animals that spend most of their time indoors are especially susceptible to suffering from the cold if you take them for a run outside in the snow. They may suffer from plantar lacerations, although you can prevent them by using a specific protector for dogs.
  • Outings in the rain can be very harmful to your dog's health if you don't dry it thoroughly on your return. It could suffer from skin lesions or more serious pathologies as a result of the cold: a raincoat is a must.
  • Prevent your from eating snow, ice or frost, as it can lead to serious digestive disorders.

Sudden changes in temperature can cause your dog to suffer from a cold. If the weather conditions are extreme and your dog is small or doesn't have a thick coat, it is good to dress it up with a coat.

Is it Bad to Dress Dogs in the Winter? - Caring for a dog in the winter

What is the best diet to keep dogs warm?

Everybody craves high-calorie and warm foods in the winter. However, this type of food isn't usually light: therefore, it can be tricky to watch your weight during this time of the year.

The same goes for dogs. They need to consume more calories in the winter to obtain energy and stay warm, so this must be reflected in the portion of food. Ask the vet before making changes in your dog's diet to help prevent obesity, weight loss or other more serious pathologies such as diabetes, diarrhea and vomiting.

A carefully monitored, balanced diet is especially important for outdoors animals, as indoors pets have the advantage of heating. Still, use common sense. If you are feeling cold, a dog without a thick double coat will feel it as well. In our article on should dogs live outside or inside we explained that dogs suffer when kept outdoors, as they are social animals. This gets worse if it is cold and they aren't given extra food.

Is it Bad to Dress Dogs in the Winter? - What is the best diet to keep dogs warm?

If you want to read similar articles to Is it Bad to Dress Dogs in the Winter?, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.

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