With winter’s return this past weekend I thought that now is the perfect time to discuss dogs wearing coats. I have been talking to owners and taking fun pictures over the last couple of weeks of some “models” wearing their 2012 “runway” coats.
Many people have a story about the purchase of the coat. More often than not in my research it is women that are the buyers of jackets for their dog. I had a giggle a few times as some men would say immediately after being asked about the coat’s origin quickly, “my girlfriend or my wife bought it,” so I would not for one minute think that he had bought it. The funny thing was, these coats were not even embarrassing to look at or ridiculous.
Certainly some breeds do benefit with an added layer. Small dogs – being closer to the ground – take more of a hit in deep snow or in the frigid temperatures. Also, dogs with shorter and less dense fur can get colder faster. Some breeds are not really winter savvy by nature or through their DNA.
From my years of owning a dog and through park observations I have a few suggestions regarding dog coats. It is wonderful to buy an eye-catching pattern or style but make sure it is functional. Many dog coats are very thin with their fabrics. If your dog requires a coat make sure it has some weight to it, or, even better, an inner layer that lays next to the dog’s body in a fabric that would trap heat like flannel. The outer layer should be water proof allowing the snow to slide off when running or by the dog giving a body shake. This is also great if the snow is coming down heavy and wet.
The coat is best tried on in a store. I have seen many dogs wearing jackets that are not long enough to cover the whole dog’s back or is too large so any body heat generated escapes! Dogs, like adults, do not like it when some extra pounds are gained and our clothes are really snug. Adjustments need to be made for fluctuating weight. The coat should cover most of the belly and not just the dog’s back. This added bonus keeps slushy snow and cold splashes from puddles off their chest and bellies if a smaller breed.
On occasion the Velcro on coats can be useless from years of wear and tear; this can be annoying for yourself or your dog walker as your dog runs with buddies at the park and the coat is hanging half off presenting a trip hazard! This off the shoulder look can be funny but problematic.
A woman I spoke to had trouble sourcing a coat for her large dog and found the answer at a riding store by purchasing a saddle blanket! A great idea as the fit was perfection from my view-point. It was for a Great Dane.
Make sure the coat does not obscure their vision by having a hood – dogs need to see where they are going!
The stories were fun to hear from the owners regarding the origin of the winter coat. Many owners said “oh he/she has many coats and would recite off the different kinds with delight! Some jackets were sweaters that were handmade by loving hands. A dog I saw today had a Maple Leaf bomber jacket that drew quite the attention at the off leash park. The owner said that she was a big fan of the Leaf’s and that it was purchased in Hazleton Lanes at a boutique where George is groomed.
I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures of different coats – dog booties are a whole other story!
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