Why Some Dogs Need To Wear Sweaters In Winter [PHOTOS]

 @rpalmerscience
on January 24 2013 9:19 AM

 

Does a dog really need a jacket in winter?

 

Dog Sweater This research is changing the manner in which many dogs are trained. Trainers initially avoided color related objects in their exercises but many are now expanding their lessons to incorporate these findings.  Flickr via Creative Commons/mbtrama

 

In certain parts of New York City, high-end dog clothing shops are as ubiquitous as coffee shops. Not all well-heeled pooches are dressed up for reasons of fashion, though. When the weather turns frigid, even furry creatures might appreciate the comfort of a warm sweater.

 

“Just like people, pets’ cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet, based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level and health,” The American Veterinary Medical Association says.

 

dogredsweater On especially frigid days, vets recommend keeping walks short.  Flickr via Creative Commons/lindyj

 

Certain breeds, especially short-haired ones, are not as naturally adapted to be cold-tolerant as, say, a Siberian husky. Smaller dogs with short legs may also feel the cold more because their stomachs and bodies are more likely to touch snow-covered ground, according to the AMVA. Pets with certain medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease or hormonal imbalances may also be more susceptible to the cold because they can't regulate their internal temperature as well.

 

doggreensweater In moderate temperatures, dogs might be better off naked.  Flickr via Creative Commons/eco-pup

 

If you do choose a dog sweater or coat, experts recommend that you bring a spare.

 

“Have several on hand, so you can use a dry sweater or coat each time your dog goes outside. Wet sweaters or coats can actually make your dog colder,” the AMVA says.

 

bigdogsweater Even big dogs might appreciate a little extra warmth when it gets really cold.  Flickr via Creative Commons/Laertes

 

But pet owners should exercise caution, especially in moderate temperatures.

 

“Wearing a coat can be very dangerous for a dog, especially if it’s a heavy coat and the dog is doing a lot of exercise,” Bonnie Beaver, a past president of the AVMA, told the New York Post in 2010.

 

Another cold-weather accessory to consider is booties. Both city and country dogs wear them to protect their feet from freezing sidewalks or ground.

 

whitedogboties Booties can help protect your dog's paw pads from frostbite.  Flickr via Creative Commons/goldberg

 

Even sled dogs get in on the act!

 

sleddogbooties Dog competitors in the famous Iditarod race in Alaska.  Flickr via Creative Commons/Alaskan Dude

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