Your Dog May Very Well Need a Winter Coat

Not all dogs have the fur to keep them warm enough.


Some dogs seem happiest in cold weather, thrilling to a drop in the temperature and enjoying rolling on their backs in the snow to make canine snow angels. But even though most dogs are covered in fur from head to toe, not all are built for winter. The American Kennel Club says the following dogs need a coat in cold weather.

-Small, toy, and miniature shorthaired breeds. Think Chihuahuas, French bulldogs, Chinese crested, and so on.

-Dogs whose bodies go close to the ground. Although a Pembroke Welsh Corgi has a thick coat, his belly will sit low enough to the ground to keep brushing against snow and ice. Ditto for basset hounds, whose coats aren’t thick to begin with.

-Breeds whose hair grows long but may be clipped or shorn. If your poodle is still sporting a summer crewcut, a winter coat is in order.

-Lean breeds with short hair. Greyhounds, Weimaraners, and Whippets come to mind.

-Senior dogs. Not all, but many, older dogs have weakened immune systems that make a winter coat a good idea, as well as arthritis, which might feel worse in cold, wet weather. Also, inclement weather can slow a dog down. And when he’s not going as fast, it’s hard for him to keep warm. Even if such a dog has a thick coat, he may feel uncomfortable in the cold and would appreciate some padding between him and the elements.

A dog’s winter overcoat should fit somewhat snugly around him but not tightly to the point that it restricts movement. And it should extend from the base of his neck to his tail.


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