Do Dogs Need a Winter Coat?

April Livingston | November 10th, 2017

As the temperatures drop in areas all over the United States, it is beginning to get quite chilly outside. This means that humans add more layers of clothing and bundle up in order to stay warm. But it really begs the question: should dogs be wearing a winter coat as well? While many dogs have a natural coat thanks to their fur, still other dogs are at a disadvantage in the colder months because they do not have a layer of natural protection. Many dogs might show or tell you that they need a coat by shivering, but others might not be able to communicate that to their owners. This can be a point of contention with many people, as some humans prefer to not outfit their dogs in clothing. On the flip side, many dogs do not like wearing clothing and will rebel when a human tries to put them in an outfit.

This particular decision really just comes down to biology, say veterinarians. Some dogs are naturally able to withstand the rigors of cold temperatures and snow thanks to their particular breed. A husky, for example, is well equipped to be in the cold and snow for extended periods of time. This is a dog that has the ability to generate its own heat thanks to its furry coat. But still other breeds of dogs do not have such a natural ability and might struggle if outdoors for extended periods of time. For this reason, an owner should think about their individual dog and its breed when making a choice for clothing or even a winter coat.

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Other dogs that tend to be more lean and have a lighter coat, like a greyhound for example, really need to wear a coat in order to maintain a good internal temperature. This is best utilized on a walk that might last a bit longer than, say, a quick trip outside to go potty. It’s important to use your judgement and do what works best for your dog.

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