Dogs are our sidekicks for almost every outdoor excursion. When the weather turns and we find ourselves bundling up to combat winter chill, we should also think of our pets and their own abilities to stay warm. Different breeds will have different requirements for winter. Think of any short haired dog, and you can safely assume they will need assistance when temperatures drop.
The type of outerwear that is right for your pet will ultimately depend on a few factors such as your pet’s body style, temperament, and personal needs. Knowing this beforehand will save you time and effort in the search for the right pet clothing.
Start with a fleece sweater. This base layer adds warmth and comfort. In cool conditions, it can be worn on its own and is the essential piece to every chilly dog’s wardrobe. My short haired mutt is often found laying next to a fireplace or heater vent, so she wears her fleece most of the winter, including indoors.
As winter sets in, an insulating layer is necessary. The puffy styles with high loft offer superb warmth while remaining lightweight. However, if your pet is the rugged outdoorsy type, consider a jacket with a tougher outer shell with an insulated inner liner.
It is also important to choose a jacket that is wind or weather resistant, if not waterproof. This will keep your pet comfortable and safe in the event of a surprise storm that brings cold winds or snow. Do you need the jacket to serve additional purposes such as a built-in harness system, light attachments, or pockets? These choices narrow down the many different styles available.
Short hair, extra long fur or close to the ground pups may do best in jackets with sleeves. This will help to further insulate them and prevent ice balls from forming. Barrel chest, wide neck, or thicker coat breeds will prefer the sleeveless varieties as sleeves can quickly compromise comfort in those instances. Wiggly or aging pets may also prefer a sleeveless option that is easier to put on.
There are step in, zip up designs, lay over and Velcro designs, and pull over the head designs for fleeces and jackets. Depending on how squirmy or apprehensive your dog is will determine which type is better. Velcro styles are appropriate for less active dogs. They can quickly fail on a dog that plays rough in the snow. Step in, zip up designs are the warmest but the most difficult to put on. It is just as important to factor in your patience and dexterity level in your selection process.
I recommend visiting your local pet store with your pet. Pet stores should encourage you to try clothing on your pet before purchase. Getting the right fit is just as important as how easily it goes on and off. Wishing you many happy and warm experiences this winter!