People have a variety of reasons why they dress their pet up in clothes. Some put a coat or sweater on their dog in the winter because he gets too cold without one. Others just think their pet looks cute in a costume. Some pets seem to enjoy all the attention they get when wearing clothes; there’s even a National Dress Up Your Pet Day. But from your pet’s point of view, is he really that excited about wearing clothes? There are things to consider when choosing clothing for dogs and cats, and signals your pet sends that will tell you if he’s comfortable or stressed out in his new getup. Dressing your pet in clothes can change his behavior.
I have a windproof/waterproof coat for each of my dogs to wear during heavy, wet snowfalls and when the temperature is below zero. Winter winds can be wicked where I live, and my dogs appreciate their coats. All except Keikei, my Border Collie mix. She is more of a hat and sunglasses kind of gal, and doesn’t like wearing a coat no matter how cold or snowy it is outside. Keikei is a high energy canine and can’t wait to get outside, but with her coat on she has trouble moving around and prefers to act like a statue. Her personality changes, and I know she feels uncomfortable and confined wearing a coat, so I don’t put it on her.
Not all dogs need a winter coat. Their natural one does a fine job, as long as it’s clean and free of mats and tangles. However, some canines don’t have an adequate coat that will keep them warm, and they may need a winter coat. If you notice your dog shivering during the winter months, it’s a sign he is cold and could use a coat. You can find a large selection of dog coats at pet stores, but it’s easy to make your own.
You will need:
● Quilted material (100% cotton face and back and polyester fill) for outer shell, and fleece material for inner shell. It’s recommended to wash the quilted material before using because it will shrink a little. Bast around the edges before washing, to keep it from unraveling. You could also cut the quilted material about an inch wider than the fleece to adjust for any shrinkage and not prewash the material.
Quilted material will cost around $12.50 per yard depending on pattern, and fleece will run from $3.00-$12.00 per yard depending on where you buy your material. For small dogs like Yorkshire Terriers and toy breeds, half a yard of each material is all you need. For most sizes of dogs, one yard of each material should be more than enough, unless your pet is really big. You need enough material to make the body of the coat, a collar, and a belly strap. Read More »
My first dog, Jack, was an American Eskimo. He had a thick undercoat that kept him toasty warm through even the coldest winter blast. Most of my dogs have been large with warm coats, and I never thought much about winter coats for dogs until my two Jack Russell Terrier mixed siblings, Sophie and Kelly, got older. Our Midwest winters can be harsh, with snow and subzero temperatures. Both Sophie and Kelly took the cold in stride when they were young, but as they aged I discovered they got cold when we were outside. Some dogs do need winter coats to help keep them warm!
Winter coats, sweaters or booties are to some people nothing more than an owner pampering their pet. I’ve had people stop me and actually complain because I had a winter coat on my dogs. Some people think dogs don’t need anything on because they already have a perfectly good, natural winter coat. Sometimes, however, a dog’s natural coat isn’t enough to protect them from winter weather. There are reasons why you may need to put warm clothes on your dog.
I had an older dog, Rex, who would get so cold his teeth chattered. He loved playing outside with the other dogs, and putting both a sweater and coat on him helped to keep him warm and made it possible for him to enjoy being outside – without shivering so hard his teeth chattered. Older dogs can have a harder time generating and holding body heat. Putting a sweater and/or coat on your dog when he’s outside is a practical way of dealing with colder weather. It’s important to keep an eye on an older pet to make sure the cold isn’t bothering him.
Another consideration to keep in mind is even inside the house, an older dog can become chilled. If you need a sweater because your thermostat is turned down to conserve energy or there’s a chill in the house just before the furnace comes on, your older dog may also need a sweater.
The Siberian Husky is one of seven dog breeds, identified through DNA testing, as one of the most ancient breeds with bloodlines closest to the gray wolf. Unlike most dog breeds, the Husky coat comes in a wide variety of colors, and some coats have multiple colors mixed in it. One coat is very much wolf-like.
Jet black – Individual solid black hairs make up the outercoat, which is monochrome, meaning, the coat is made up of different shades of a single color. The undercoat is either black or dark grey and the tail, ears and hindquarters are deep black. The paw pads are usually very dark.
Black – The outercoat is made up of individual black hairs, white at the root. There may be solid white hairs mixed in with the black. The tail, ears and hindquarters have yellow and brownish hairs mixed in. The undercoat can be white, beige, charcoal or a mixture of the three.
Silver black – Mostly white hairs with black tips make up the outercoat. The head and along the spine is black with silver on the ears, tail and hindquarters. They have a white undercoat.
Wolf grey – A yellow/brown color makes up the outercoat starting at the root and ending in a black tip. Beige, yellow, red or tan colors are found behind the ears, the hindquarters and along the saddle area on the back. The undercoat is beige.
When I was in high school, my family had a Siamese cat. She had a beautiful light colored coat with chocolate brown markings on her face, tail and legs. As she aged, however, her coat began to darken up. Three of my cats are black, but I’ve noticed one has a reddish tint starting to show up in his coat. If you have a cat with a darker coat, and have noticed a change in the color, there are reasons why the coat color may be changing.
My cats love to lie in the sun. Since they’re all inside cats, I find some stretched out in warm puddles of sunlight entering through a window. As a sun puddle ebbs across the floor, the cats move with it. I can usually find a cat lying in an opened window enjoying an afternoon sunbathing as they spy on the neighbors. Jabbers is my biggest cat and always makes sure he gets a window spot, but his black coat has gotten a red tint to it from lying in the sun. Cats with dark coat colors who spend too much time in the sun can start to get a bleached out look from too much exposure to the sun. The darker colored coats of outside cats who spend a lot of their time in the sun can also have their coats fade in time due to sun exposure.
The coat color of oriental breeds like the Himalayan and Siamese are determined by temperature. More precisely, the temperature of their skin. Himalayan kittens begin life with an almost creamy colored coat. Siamese kittens are born white. As they begin to grow, color changes begin to take place in their coats and the points begin to emerge. Because the neck and body of the cat is warmer, their coat stays a lighter color and the tail, legs, face and ears turn darker because those areas of the skin are cooler. Air temperature can also play a role in coat color and their points can darken or become lighter depending on the season. A change in coat color can also indicate that your Siamese or Himalayan cat is sick and has a higher than normal temperature.
The Aging Process
Just like us, our precious kitties can begin to get gray hairs mixed in with their coat as they age. It’s harder for us to see hairs losing their pigmentation on lighter colored cats, but you may notice a change in their coat color the older they get. One of my cats, Scooter, had just turned twenty a few months before she crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. She had a striking gray coat that faded into white on her chest and stomach. Bits of gray around her mouth began to whiten the older she got. It’s a reminder to never take for granted the unconditional love we get from our pets and to give them an extra hug at night, in the morning and any other chance you get.
You might be thinking it’s a simple thing to choose which winter accessories your dog needs to be warm and cozy in cold weather, but there are a few things to consider.
Winter Coats and Boots
There are winter accessories that would be good choices for your dog based upon his time spent outside. When going out for a walk, the snow and salt on sidewalks, roadways and yards can hurt your pooch’s paws (or at least make them very uncomfortable) so buying him some boots would be a good choice. You can choose disposable boots or reusable ones.
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.