Understanding Dogs and What Cold Weather Means For Them

Understanding Dogs and What Cold Weather Means For Them

Understanding Dogs and What Cold Weather Means For Them

When temperatures drop during winter, dog owners are a worried lot. They start questioning if their dogs need heavy coats like them, or not. The dog’s breed, age and type play a big role in determining whether it will need to dress up for the cold or not. Since your dogs will most likely still venture outside to exercise and experiment, it’s up to you to provide them with proper protection from the cold. This article will provide all essential information you need to protect your dog from cold hazards.

Dogs and cold weather

Naturally, most dogs handle their weight with the cold weather up to freezing point- which is roughly about 32 degrees Celsius. In much the same fashion as many of us can withstand the cold differently, so will dogs. A dog’s ability to withstand the cold will vary depending on their breed, size, etc. Small dogs of about 21 pounds or less or including even larger dogs like the famed Greyhound which has very short hair tend to be more susceptible to cold weather biting. Watch your dog and see how it responds to changes in wind, precipitation, temperature and ground conditions. Most of them will show their signs by shivering, although some will not. You should be able to make a decision on whether the dog needs apparel for protection from the harsh conditions.

Fur and cold weather

All dog breeds comfortably have fur for protection from harsh weather. It’s important to note that while fur plays a critical role in how much a dog is susceptible to cold, the real deal breaker is the number of coats the dog has. Currently, there are single and double-coat dog breeds. While some single-coated dogs might have a lot of fur, they might not withstand cold weather like the double coat breeds, whose examples include Siberian Huskies and German Shepherds. Dressing your double- coat breeds with heavy coats during winter can overheat and make them feel uncomfortable. Therefore, don’t rely on fur size to make your decision about what coat to buy for your dog. Consider your breed type, and number of coats first before buying coats and shirts to protect your dogs in winter.

Clothing your dog

Dogs which find it hard to retain body heat like smaller breeds, those with thinning hair or older ones need a jacket or sweater. The old and sickly must always be dressed so as to protect them from the harsh cold environment.

Finding the right coat for your dog

The first thing you should remember when buying a winter coat for your dog is form follows function. Fashion and trends while equally essential, should be the least of your worries. Limit the number of plain wool coats as these can itch. Instead, opt for a mixture of wool, cotton and acrylic fabrics which tend to be more comfortable and thus accommodating. Going for waterproof coats for outdoor breeds can also be instrumental when buying the right coat.

In addition, you should be concerned about the fit of your coats before buying. Before making a buying decision, make sure you know your dog’s real size for the right fit.

Over to you

From this post, you now realize that cold means different things for different dogs. Some withstand it better than others and the amount of fur has a small role in this requirement.  Dogs which can’t withstand harsh weather, like single coat breeds, old dogs and those will less hair should be given priority. They must be protected with ample coats from the cold, lest they freeze. Others, like the outdoor German Shepherds which are double coated, need light waterproof protection during the cold rainy months because they can tolerate cold more.


The information shared on this site is for information only. It does not take the place of professional advice from your pet’s healthcare provider.

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