Do dogs need winter coats? Sweaters?

Walking along 59th street towards Central Park, a dog with a bright blue sweater and matching booties walked past.  A safe distance away, my friend blurted, “Why do dog owners torture their dogs by dressing them up like that!?  The dog must feel utterly humiliated!”  I guess his rational is that dogs aren’t like people, and were designed to not need clothes.

Since today was the first day of the year when I felt my nose hairs freeze up and my teeth ache from the wind chill, I wondered – “Do dogs really need coats and sweaters in the winter?”  So I did a little research and it turns out that some dogs actually do benefit from having a coat or sweater to keep them warm.  What I found makes total sense.

Dogs that are small and have really short hair benefit more from wearing winter coats and sweaters.  Chihuahuas, Daschunds and even Greyhounds are breeds that lose their body heat faster than the average dog.  Puppies are also more susceptible to the cold.  If your dogs is shivering a lot and suddenly stops – THAT’s something to be concerned about. But a Husky wearing a turtleneck is probably a little over the top.  What do you think Mr. Jobs?

Steve Dogs

I know Apple isn’t the same without me.

Unless you’re making them wear one in really high temperatures, putting on an extra layer for warmth probably won’t harm the dog, so if it makes you feel better to play it safe and don’t mind the extra steps before going on your nightly walk, looks like it’s okay.  Still, I might avoid going overboard.  Exhibit A.

A Christmas Story Snow Suit

Imagine if a dog couldn’t ‘put his arms down.’ HIs belly laying flat on the ground.

Also, older dogs, especially ones with arthritis, suffer from the cold much more than younger ones with healthy joints.  So if you have an older dog, in addition to the outdoor coat, one might even consider getting them a heated dog bed or tucking them in with an extra blanket and after the goodnight belly rub.  Or I guess one could try one of these?  Hmmmm.

dog snuggie

Is she knitting him a sweater to wear over his Snuggie?

Especially when it snows, as much as dog booties make me giggle, they can protect your dog from tracking in salt that could contain impurities that you don’t want to be licked off their paws.  I mean – I’m Asian, so I guess I would even make a dog take off their shoes before letting them into my apartment.  There’s GOT to be a command that gets a dog to wipe their feet before coming into the house.  Anyone seen it?

Thanks for reading!

If you’re looking for local New York dog community that share pet sitting favors and like the idea of a play date, why not check out Waggit?

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New York hasn’t had a serious snowfall since Halloween, but it’s only a matter of time before we get pounded with the flight canceling, car burying, ‘my pants are soaked’ blizzard of 2012.  So especially if you have a small dog, getting the right booties for him or her might be something you’re considering.  Collaborating with the New York Times, Ada Nieves, the founder of the New York City Chihuahua Meetup Group, and her dog Cinnabon Bon tried out different dog booties and gives some helpful reviews on 5 very different dog booties.  The pictures alone make this worth sharing.

New York Times Slide Show  Winter Dog Booties

Dog Boots Winter

I wish I could get away with wearing boots like that. They look so comfy.

While dog footwear might look like the sort of fashion indignity that Paris Hilton would inflict on Tinkerbell, it turns out that in winter it serves a practical purpose.

Gear Test | Dog Boots