Sweaters for Dogs: More than a Fashion StatementPublished October 26, 2011
Victoria Schade/Do no reproduce
Think dog sweaters and coats are just for fashion? Check out this article to discover why some dogs appreciate a sweater in the cold season.
Does your dog like to wear sweaters and coats?
I often hear people say, "I don't dress my dog," implying that it's torture for dogs. Granted, many dogs would rather be naked - like every one I've ever owned up until now - but there's a select few that actually appreciate something cozy on a chilly day.
I tested that theory today and determined that Millie is one of them. We went outside to play and instead of going after her toy with gusto, she sat with one paw raised, shivering. When I presented her with her fleece jacket (pictured above), she politely came and sat in front of me so that I could put it on. The game commenced without a hitch.
I've given canine sweater appreciation some thought, and here are a few of the factors that influence whether or not a dog might like wearing one:
1. Fur type: Typically, the thinner the hair, the more likely it is that the dog will appreciate an extra layer. (Yes, there are exceptions to this rule, like my nearly hairless Boston Terrier who hated sweaters.) One of our shoppers is a hair-impaired Chinese Crested mix that I've never seen without some sort of covering. In the summer she wears a light t-shirt for protection from the sun, and in the cold months she sports everything from hoodies to sweaters. Being covered is natural and comfortable for her due to her lack of fur.
2. Age of sweater onset: The earlier you begin "coat and sweater training," the more likely it is that your dog will appreciate a covering. It's the rare adult dog that accepts clothing for the first time without a fuss, even if he hates getting rained on or snow-covered. Our boxer Sumner had thin fur, and I could tell that he was cold out in the snow. I invested in a beautiful (expensive) quilted coat when he was middle-aged and the guy stood like a statue every time I put it on him. If you want your dog to tolerate a rain coat to avoid wet dog smell every time it rains, introduce it when he's young.
3. Type of covering: The varied world of canine fashion (I write those words with a grimace on my face, as “canine fashion” can veer into ridiculousness) allows for a myriad of coat and sweater options. Millie has a sweater that she seems to like, but her new pink fleece is the bomb. It's soft, it doesn't have constricting sleeves (it's got big arm hole cut-outs instead), and it's streamlined so she can run around unimpeded. Though she would probably wear her sweater without complaint to avoid being cold, it seems as though she appreciates her fleece much more. If your cold dog isn't digging that wool sweater you bought, try a softer sweater blend, or a cotton hoodie. And do consider your dog's reaction to the arm holes, neck hole and fasteners as well.
4. Wimpiness: How high is the wimp factor in your dog? Does he avoid walking through puddles? Expect a blanket on top of him when there's a nip in the air? Then he might be a good candidate for a sweater or coat. That's not to say that these wimpy dogs are less dog-ly ... it's just that they appreciate being comfortable.
Millie is indeed a comfort queen, and she wears her pink hoodie without a complaint. How about your dog?