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Depending on the climate in which you live and how you like to spend your free time, as the cooler weather approaches, you can look forward to participating in winter activities with your beloved canine friend or mentally shudder and start actively warming yourself and your four-legged friend . While you probably have a closet full of cold weather gear, it's important that your dog is also prepared to brave the elements safely.
Let's first understand.
Does your dog need clothes?
Some dogs have coats that are naturally suited to living outdoors all the time. If your dog is a healthy husky, golden retriever, or German shepherd, his coat may be thick and warm enough to keep him warm during your cold-weather adventures.
Other dogs need a little help to keep their body warm, even if you're just walking around the neighborhood every day. Most likely, the following categories of animals will need warm clothes for dogs for the winter:
- Short-haired breeds such as Chihuahuas, Greyhounds and Whippets
- Dogs with shorter legs, whose bellies are closer to the ground, such as dachshunds, corgis
- Elderly dogs with age-related circulatory problems
- Dogs with medical conditions such as heart disease or a weak immune system, or those recovering from an injury
The next question that dog owners are often puzzled by is when is it cold enough to get dressed? You put on an extra layer of clothing when it's chilly outside, but what about your dog? A good rule of thumb is to look for signs that your dog is uncomfortable when the temperature drops below 7 degrees and act accordingly, which means getting some warm dog clothes out of the closet. Most dogs need some level of protection starting at 0 degrees. Even dogs with thick fur can be dangerously cold if the temperature drops below -6 degrees.
No matter what the thermometer says, if your dog looks like he's cold, it's time to get home from a walk and pick up some winter dog clothes. Trembling or other behavior such as whining or looking anxious are signs that your dog is uncomfortable.
Next, let's analyze one of the most important questions - how to choose clothes for pets. If you've already decided that your dog needs winter clothing, here are some tips for finding the best option.
- Take measurements. Just like people, dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Measure the dog's length from the base of the neck to the base of the tail. Loosely measure your dog's girth in two places:
2) around the neck where he wears the collar.
- Material. The type of clothing you buy depends on the climate you live in and the cold weather activities you will both be doing. Choose a water-repellent material for humid or mild climates, and an insulating material like fleece for colder climates, especially if you'll be outside in sub-zero temperatures or biting winds.
- Type. A quick search on the Internet makes it easy to find different types of clothing available in stores. There is no shortage of unique designs to suit your dog's health, breed and size. So, if your dog is old and can't support a certain weight on his body well, choose a light design that will also be easy to put on the dog without having to lift the paws for example. At the same time, make sure that the clothing covers the whole body, for example, it has sleeves for the paws and a hood or extra insulation around the neck. For young and active dogs, designs that provide warmth and protection only for the body are suitable, usually sleeves are unnecessary. And you have many options to choose from. But it all depends on the breed and body size. Some breeds, such as Greyhounds, Salukis, or the handsome Pharaoh Hound, may need a little extra insulation because of their sleek, short-haired bodies. For long-haired breeds, avoid tight-fitting clothing. This can bring them considerable discomfort.Looser clothing is more appropriate and comfortable for breeds such as the Pomeranian, Collie or the elegant Afghan Hound.
- Visibility. This is one factor that most dog owners overlook when shopping for dog clothes. The visibility of your dog's clothing is very important during evening or morning walks. In winter mornings are usually quite dark. Therefore, bright dog clothes with reflective stripes will be of great help in the event that your dogs are walking on a long leash and can move away from you and hide in the dark or fog.
- Fitting. Before you buy, take your dog to a local pet store and try out a few options. Look for clothes that fit snugly but don't restrict his movement. Make sure the piece you choose covers his neck and stomach and is easy to put on and take off. Check for areas that rub or may irritate his skin. If you order clothes online, check the manufacturer's size chart according to your measurements. Use the next larger size if your puppy's measurements are on the limit.
- Style. Looking good is always great, but in this case, that's the last thing you should worry about. Fortunately, pet manufacturers offer a wide variety of stylish options. First, find clothing in the right material that fits your dog well, then choose a style that you like.
It's a good idea to check with your vet to see if they have any concerns about your dog and the winter weather. Your doctor can give you suggestions about appropriate activity levels, length of time you should be outside in certain temperatures. Some doctors may also tell you how to choose clothes for a dog, or you can ask for advice from more experienced owners of the same breed (be careful, all dogs are individual, the subjective advice of a non-professional can even be harmful).
These were the main tips on how to choose clothes for dogs.
Winter is the time for snowball fights and snowman making, and your dog gets a lot of fun out of it. Playing outside with your dog all year round is much safer if you're both wearing the right gear. Whether you're just taking a daily walk around the neighborhood or gearing up for a winter hike in the local hills, winter activities are more fun when the whole family can safely spend time together.