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Dressing Up Doggie in Cold Weather

Wearing more clothing is the first thing we humans do when the temperatures drop. But what about for our dog? If she's already wearing a fur coat, does she need extra cold weather protection? Here are few things to think about before bundling Fifi up.

Breed matters

There's a reason why the image of a shivering Chihuahua is a familiar one. Toy breeds with short, thin coats are more vulnerable to cold. The same goes for small dogs, like Terriers and Poodles, with closely cropped hair. Their lack of insulation makes them good candidates for a sweater. In fact, they might just welcome the extra layer.

Keep in mind some breeds, like Siberian Husky, St. Bernard and Chow Chow, are hardwired to withstand the cold. Clothing over their thick coats could cause overheating and discomfort.

Good fit

A proper-fitting garment is especially important for dogs. Clothing should fit snugly around the neck and chest and allow the dog to move his legs freely. Anything too large or long could overwhelm him and cause undue stress.

What to wear

Doggie clothing manufacturers have upped their design game. You can find sweaters and hoodies in lightweight fleece and washable wool and cotton knits in a variety of animal prints, plaids and stripes. The cut of the traditional rain slicker has been redesigned for dogs too, and they come in both the classic yellow and bright colors and patterns.

Training might be required

If your dog doesn't like wearing clothes, don't make her. The last thing you want is to cause is upset or stress. You may need to get her used to the idea first. Start with something small, like a bandanna tied comfortably around her neck, then reward her with treats and praise. Work up to more substantial clothing for longer increments of time. As with any training, this process takes patience and time.

If your dog is shivering or reluctant to go outside in the cold, then clothing might be just the thing to keep him warm and comfy.