As the temperature drops, you might be considering investing in a comfy coat for your furry friend. After all, many brands and pet stores offer a wide range of coats, so you can find one to suit every pet.
The North can get cold in the winter, and you want your dog to be comfortable all year round so that you might be considering a new coat for them. There’s an option for every dog owner, but are they necessary?
After all, pet stores sell loads of pet care products that you don’t need, so you need to make sure that you spend your money wisely. By making an informed choice, you’ll keep your hard-earned cash for the things that your pup needs and wants.
At the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, we understand that dog owners have many choices when buying new products for their pups.
To help you make an informed decision that suits your budget, lifestyle, and, most importantly of all, your dog, we’ve put together this guide to deciding if you need to get your pup a coat this winter.
Work Out If Your Dog Needs A Coat
Before you spend your money on a pricey coat for your pet, you need to consider if it needs one. Dog coats are a relatively recent trend, so dogs haven’t needed a coat for thousands of years.
Many breeds of dogs have thick, waterproof coats that protect them from the wind and rain. If your dog’s breed lived in a cold part of the world, it probably wouldn’t need a coat in the southern United States.
However, there are also many uses for a dog coat. They can be great for short-haired dogs such as Chinese Crested dogs, or if you had to shave your dog before a veterinary procedure, such as spaying. Ill or older dogs benefit from a coat, as they need their temperature regulating better than healthy, young pups.
Another factor to consider when thinking about buying your dog a coat is your lifestyle. If you take your dog out a lot or on long hikes, then it might need more protection from the elements than a pup that spends most of the day indoors.
Find The Right Coat For Your Dog
Should you decide that your dog needs a coat, you need to make sure that you find one that fits them comfortably and keeps them warm and dry.
Browse the selection of coats online, and then visit a pet store to try them on and make sure that they fit. If you cannot visit a pet store, then order several sizes from an online retailer with an excellent return policy so that you can send back the coats that don’t fit correctly.
When choosing a coat, try to find one that fits your dog well, is warm, and has all the features you need. For example, if you walk a lot at night, you might consider a coat with reflective stripes.
Other coats offer functions such as pockets, hoods, and leg sleeves for your dog, so ensure that you review all the options before committing to buying a coat for your beloved pup.
Get Them Used To Wear Their Coat
If your dog needs a coat, then you should help them to get used to wearing it. Try putting it on your pup for a short period each day, and let them wear it around the house.
Use treats to incentivize your dog to like their coat, and give them repeated verbal reassurance when they wear their coat and don’t fidget or bite it.
Start taking your dog for walks in their new coat early in the fall so that they have time to adjust to wearing their coat and can feel more comfortable in it before the temperature plummets.
When beginning a walk, make putting on their coat part of the ritual. Like many people, dogs enjoy routine, so taking the time to instill the habit of getting their coat put on before a walk will make your dog feel secure.
Make Sure Your Dog Is Comfortable
Ultimately, the main factor that you need to consider if your dog’s comfort. If your dog looks uncomfortable in their coat, then don’t force them to wear it.
Instead, try to find a coat that your dog likes wearing. If you can’t, then don’t make your dog wear a coat. There could be many reasons that your dog doesn’t like wearing a coat.
Rescue dogs might have had a problematic experience wearing clothes and not feel comfortable wearing them. If you’ve owned your dog from a pup and raised them, then it could be their personality.
Like people, every dog has a unique personality, and you need to allow them to be themselves. If your dog is uncomfortable in their coat, then don’t make them wear one.
Instead, consider other lifestyle changes, such as keeping your dog indoors for most of the winter and only taking them out during the warmest part of the day. Keep a close watch on your dog’s health and if you notice any severe issues, then consult your vet immediately.
A dog is not an accessory, so you shouldn’t make your pup wear clothes because they look cool and stylish. Only put a coat on your dog if they are comfortable, and it helps them keep warm during the colder weather.
Ask For Advice
If you’re still not sure if your dog needs a coat, then ask for advice. Your vet or dog trainer will be happy to talk to you about this issue and any other purchases you’re planning to make for your pet.
Alternatively, if you’re thinking about making your dog an animal-assisted therapy dog, then you can discuss this and much more with the team here at the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. We offer an informative blog, so you can find out about how to you’re your pup healthy and happy.