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It’s getting cold, so many dog owners are asking: “Does my dog need a sweater?”
Some dog owners absolutely refuse to dress their dog; however, this may be necessary in harsh weather conditions. If you are concerned with your dog being warm, there is no harm in putting a sweater on your dog.
Some dog breeds are perfectly fine in cold weather; however, other dog breeds do not have many layers and can develop hypothermia fairly easily. The level of warmth your dog is able to maintain depends on several factors:
Small breeds, like the toy breeds, have short, thin coats and will often need a sweater to keep warm. Poodles, due to their hair being kept short to prevent matting, may also benefit from a doggy jacket or sweater.
Dogs with weakened immune system are also at risk. These dogs include those with Cushing’s Disease or Hypothyroidism.
Larger dogs with dense fur coats often do not need any type of sweater or jacket and may become uncomfortable if forced to wear one. Their fur is genetically designed to maintain warmth in cold conditions. These breeds include the Siberian Husky, Malamute and Saint Bernard.
If you decide to purchase a sweater for your dog, you need to consider the material of the sweater or jacket. Wool is very warm and would insulate well; however, it is a difficult material to wash and may result in your dog itching. Cotton or acrylic clothing is often the best, most efficient choice.
You should also take your dog’s measurements prior to buying clothing to ensure the best fit possible. You want to make sure your dog is comfortable in the clothing he is wearing. Normal movement should not be restricted, as you want the sweater or jacket to be snug but comfortable. If your dog needs a leash while wearing the jacket, you should also ensure there is an area where the leash is able to be attached.
Amber L. Drake, a Professional Canine Behaviorist and Adjunct Professor of Biological Science, has extensive experience in the Animal Science Field. She has worked with dogs professionally for over ten years. Her clients range from private pet parents to large canine rescue organizations. In addition to accepting clients on a regular basis, Drake serves as an Adjunct Professor at Jamestown Community College and Kaplan University. Drake has earned a Doctor of Education (ABD), Educational Specialist Post-Masters, Master of Arts in Education and a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She has completed coursework at Cornell University for Pre-Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, Biochemistry at UC Berkeley, Veterinary Technology at Penn Foster and a number of Continuing Education courses to remain up-to-date in her field.