When it comes to whether or not dog sweaters are necessary for our canine companions, opinions are quite varied. One thing is a given, though – dogs can catch a chill, although there are breeds more susceptible than others.
Like many other issues concerning dog clothing, there are many myths surrounding dog sweaters. However, a little research will clear up most of these myths.
Having done this research, therefore, we bring you a summary of our findings. Let’s get educated.
Do All Dogs Need Dog Sweaters?
There is a heated debate over this issue among a lot of dog owners. We’ve made research and are going to argue from both perspectives below:
Perspective 1: Yes, all dogs need dog sweaters
Many people with this bias are of the argument that dogs absolutely need sweaters in the cold weather. They claim that just like you would need a sweater to go out when it’s snowing, so does your pup.
They go ahead to adorn their pups with sweaters during the winter no matter who stares them down.
Perspective 2: No, all dogs do not need dog sweaters
The other side of the great divide says that no dog at all needs a sweater. They claim this with the argument that dogs have fur which can protect them comfortably against the snow.
They bring forward the fact that dogs are still canines and still very much like their cousins – wolves and wild dogs. These guys (our furry friends inclusive), according to them, have adaptive features that protect them against even the toughest of climate conditions.
After doing a lot of research about both perspectives here is what we have to say about the matter:
Our Perspective: Does “Your” Dog Need A Sweater?
That’s the main question you should be asking. Nobody knows your dog more than you do. Even your vet will advise you to get your dog a sweater if you think he needs it, and if he doesn’t, then it’s okay to leave him “sweaterless.”
If you are of the first school of thought that all dogs need and want to wear sweaters, you might be shocked. Some dogs, even after wearing a sweater, freeze still because they don’t feel in any way safe or comfortable in sweaters.
If your dog is totally uncomfortable with sweaters and doesn’t have any problem with going out in the cold, he might not need a sweater.
In the same breath, keep in mind that while dogs have some form of insulation against the cold more than humans, some situations are too cold for some dogs.
So, as we said earlier, the key is to monitor your dog. If he appears to be shivering during the winter, he might need a sweater.
Dog Breeds That Need Dog Sweaters
The following list of dog breeds absolutely need dog sweaters if they’re going to be exposed to extremely cold situations like walking outside when it’s snowing. We will go on to discuss each breed and explain why they would need dog sweaters.
The chihuahua is the smallest breed of dogs in most recognized kennel clubs as recorded by Wikipedia. Being that small we can almost immediately tell why they need dog sweaters to guard them against the cold.
Aside from its small stature, another major factor that limits the chihuahua’s insulation against the cold is that they are short coated.
The breed was first discovered in Mexico, a country that sits very close to the equator and as such can be considered to have a warm climate. This breed then moved to other areas with warm climates as well.
However, as time passed, its popularity grew largely in other parts of the world and many dog owners from colder regions began to adopt them. Most of these areas are a whole lot colder than Mexico, which the pet is used to, so, dog sweaters are important if you live in one of the chillier environs.
Many people who believe in wearing pet sweaters also believe that only small dogs should wear dog sweaters. That is a wrong ideology. Although size goes a long way to aid insulation, a few large breeds need sweaters. One of such breeds is the greyhound.
The greyhound is originally from Egypt where temperatures rarely drop below 20 degrees celsius. With that, you can easily tell why this dog can’t keep himself warm in cold conditions, they are simply alien to him.
They have short hair and almost invisible fur. Their body structure is also reed-thin and spread. They aren’t fleshy and rarely get fat. They simply have no weapon against mother nature when she’s cold and raging.
3. Small Terriers
The terrier group of dogs is a large group containing many different breeds, but we will be focusing on small terriers.
Small terriers are mostly sporting dogs and as such have really short coats. The Boston terrier is a good example of the small terriers we are talking about here.
As for the other small terriers with the long hair, dog sweaters will go a long way to ensure that their hair stays dry even when going out on rainy days.
4. Mini Pinschers
Just like the other small breeds listed above, the dogs of these breed types have short sport coats and thin structures.
Mini pinschers are close relatives of the Greyhound and like their cousins enjoy a nice warm feeling. They also love to stretch out rather than cuddle up when sleeping. This makes them even more susceptible to the cold.
Another sighthound on the list, Whippets were originally called Greyhounds. However, they were returned when their owners realized they weren’t as good hunters as their cousins due to their smaller size.
Even to date, these Whippets are still, sometimes, called miniature Greyhounds because of the many similarities they share with Greyhounds including their susceptibility to catching a cold.
Like their cousins, Whippets are extremely thin and short-coated. They also have shorter legs than the Greyhounds which means they’re closer to the ground and closer to the cold.
Also, because they are a sporting breed, they always want to have a go on the track. If your pup Whippet wants to run outdoors during the winter, it’s best to deck him in a sweater so he doesn’t return with a cold.
So, if you have any of the dog breeds listed above, then you need to look at investing in some sweaters today. However, even if your dog isn’t any of the breeds listed above, there are other scenarios your dog might fit into that requires him to wear a sweater during the cold.
Why Should I Get Dog Sweaters For My Dog?
1. Health Reasons
One primary health condition that might require your dog to use a sweater is arthritis.
Arthritis is typically any medical condition that relates to inflammation of the joints. This results in stiffness and pain in affected areas and becomes worse as the person, or in this case, the dog, ages.
If your dog suffers from arthritis, the winter can get even more painful for him as cold conditions generally make arthritis worse. Hence, in this situation, a nice warm sweater would do him a whole world of good. It would provide him with the warmth to help soothe the affected joints.
Other medical conditions that make it harder for your dog to condone the cold are:
- Heart problems.
Puppies need to be kept in a room with regulated temperature. Exposure to harsh conditions, cold or hot, can kill them.
However, the older a dog gets, the easier it is for him to catch a cold. If your dog is in his teens, chances are that he can no longer produce enough body heat. At that point, their bones become fragile and can crack under extreme colds.
If you want your dog to live long, keep him warm by getting him a sweater if necessary.
How Do I Know My Dog Needs A Sweater?
This is as simple as recognizing whether he wants to pee or something like that. As a parent, instincts immediately tell you some of these things. However, here are a few pointers to look out for:
1. He is reluctant to go outside during the winter- If your dog is normally active and enthusiastic about walks but somehow becomes apathetic during winter, chances are he’s cold.
Dogs who get cold during the winter become scared to go outside. Even if he has to go outside to pee, he runs back inside almost immediately.
2. Shivering- You don’t need a soothsayer to tell you that if your dog is shivering, he really needs some warmth. If you are just back from a walk and your dog is shivering, get him a sweater before the next walk.
Do not assume that he will regulate himself once he’s inside. Dogs that don’t get cold, don’t get cold whether they’re outside or inside.
3. If your dog loves to take shelter under your arms and blankets during winter, that’s a huge sign that he needs his own sweater.
Small dogs like Chihuahuas who are naturally companions, will take shelter with you during winter. If you see him do this continuously, he is cold.
Choosing One Of Many Dog Sweaters For Your Pup
Okay so your dog needs a sweater, and now as a good parent, you want to get him one. There are a lot of dog sweaters out there and you’ll need to take some things into consideration before you get one for your pup.
It must be the perfect fit, the right size. You don’t want a sweater that is too big it restricts your dogs’ movements, or too small that he can’t breathe.
Always measure your dog appropriately before getting a sweater for him. You’ll need to measure his chest, abdomen and waist.
2. Weather Conditions
Do you want to use it when it snows or when it rains or both? How long is he going to have to wear it? How harsh can the weather get? These are questions you’ll have to ask yourself before getting a sweater for your pooch.
If you’re going to be out in the rain, getting a waterproof sweater would be a good idea. The waterproof nature of these dog sweaters ensure that your pup stays dry throughout in addition to keeping him warm.
On the other hand, if he would be in the snow for a long time, you might want to focus on thick sweaters.
This is one that most people overlook. However, it can eventually become a big deciding factor whether your dog wears his sweater or not.
Look for materials that do not itch. While wool is a warm material, it can get really itchy for some dogs. A great alternative would be a wool-acrylic mix. They provide as much warmth but are less itchy.
Cotton can also be a great idea although it doesn’t retain as much heat.
Maintaining some dog sweaters can be quite tasking. There are some materials that can only be washed by hands and don’t allow machine-wash. So, before you buy a dog sweater, make sure its something you can maintain well.
Because you’ll have to wash regularly during the winter, get something that is easy to dry. Well, that is unless your budget can allow you buy multiple sweaters.
Money talks. At the end of the day, you don’t want to drill a hole into your pocket getting a sweater. Get something within your budget. It might not be as fancy, but it sure will do the job just fine.
Please be careful so you do not purchase something that is inferior just because you are able to save a few bucks off of it.
We hope you’ve learned a lot about dog sweaters today. Go on now and get your dog the perfect dog sweater, if you think he needs it. there are also other cool dog clothes and accessories you can try out.