Vet Q&A: Does my dog need to wear a coat on winter walks?

by PDSA | 28 October #Dogs

Despite their fur coats, some dogs feel the cold more than others. Most dogs are usually fine with short periods in the cold, but some definitely need a bit of extra warmth!

Despite their fur coats, some dogs feel the cold more than others. Most dogs are usually fine with short periods in the cold, but some definitely need a bit of extra warmth!

Dogs with fine or thin fur (e.g. greyhounds and whippets) and dogs that are very young, underweight, old or unwell should wear a dog coat when it’s cold. They feel the cold much faster than other dogs and should only be taken out for short periods during colder weather.

A healthy dog with thick fur should be ok without a coat for short periods, but no pet should never be left outside without access to shelter and warmth. Some dogs, such as Huskies and Malamutes, are well suited to colder weather so you may find they’re happier to be in the cold for their usual walk. Keep an eye on them though and take them home if they aren’t coping.

If you notice your dog is shivering, bring them into the warmth straight away, as this is a sign that they are cold.

If your dog does need a coat out on walks, remember to get one that fits them properly. Our dogs can get just as uncomfortable as us if they’re put in clothes that don’t quite fit right! Obviously, you need to get a coat made specifically for dogs. Have a look in pet shops and look on the packaging to find the right size for your pooch.

Your dog should be able to move freely in their coat and do all the things they normally do without the coat on (running, jumping and, of course, pooping to name a few!). If they bite or scratch at the coat, that’s a sign it doesn’t fit right and is irritating them. You might want to look at waterproof and windproof coats for extra protection if the weather is bad.

If you’d like to know more, read our advice on how to fit your dog’s coat and staying safe on winter walks.

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