Article by Gen Wright
The dog coat is made especially for dogs with a low tolerance for colder climates. All dogs were not created equal. Some are bred to withstand sub zero temperatures while others are bred to live a little closer to the equator, where on occasion it can get uncomfortably cold in certain places.
Dogs like the St. Bernard and Newfoundland have a lot of meat on their bones and a natural thick wooly coat of hair to protect them from harsh outdoor conditions. The Alaskan sled dogs, Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute, are amazing when it comes to withstanding the frigid Alaskan weather. Everyone has seen those clips of the sled dogs asleep on the snow during blizzard conditions. This is what these dogs were made for, withstanding extremely cold climates.
Most dogs with a short coat of hair and a muscular build are not bred to tolerated cold climates. There is virtually no fat on these dogs to protect them from the cold. These type dogs are the ones that need extra protection, in the way of a dog coat, during the cold winter months. Even with limited exposure to the cold, certain breeds need extra protection.
There are big dogs and small dogs that fit these criteria. Two extreme examples are the short haired Chihuahua and the Doberman Pinscher. Neither dog has enough fat for protection and they surely cannot rely on that short coat to keep them warm. These type dogs suffer when the temperature dips below 40 degrees.
Senior dogs suffering from joint pain due to arthritis, can be negatively affected by the cold. Cold natured dogs need protection from the elements even if they are only exposed for a short time. Going outside to eliminate does not take long, but it might be long enough to have an adverse affect on the dog. A good quality dog coat will provide that protection from the elements, rain and bitter cold temperatures.
Considering the warmth factor, check the thickness of the coat. Does it provide enough protection for the climate in your region? Is there adequate padding? People living a cold rainy environment would definately need a waterproof coat. Be sure to measure the dog correctly, from the shoulderblades to the base of the tail, to ensure a good snug fit while covering all the vital areas that need to be protected. Some dog coats will fasten around the chest and mid section with padded velcro straps. Plastic snaps or buckles and nylon straps are used for others.
Before making the purchase, throw together a makeshift coat at home to see how the dog will react to wearing a garment. The last thing to take into account is whether or not the dog coat is machine washable and safe for the dryer.
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