Today is the first really cold day in our city of Toronto for the winter (however based on the calendar its actually still fall). The temperature reads -9C however the wind-chill is making it feel -19C. (For our US WOOF friends that is 15.8F and -2.2F respectively) I don’t know about you, but I still walk my all my girls no matter what the temperature is! Not only do us humans need to start to get used to the cold, but our pets do as well.
Some people believe that our pets have that lovely fur coat and are much less prone to cold weather issues. However depending on the type of dog you have that lovely fur coat may not keep them as warm as you think. Pets can be prone to hypothermia and frostbite just like us. If your dog doesn’t seem to want to stay outside for too long and wants to go home, they are trying to tell you something. Remember every dog is different and has different needs.
On the other hand, there are dogs that just love being out in the cold weather. My three girls love the winter. Miya and Meesha love running through the crisp forest. However Jackie our golden girl may love the cold but her legs and extremities can’t take the cold for too long. These girls would probably stay out for hours, but you as their owner need to pay attention to what is the right amount of outside playtime on a bone chilling day as today.
Products to help keep our pets warm
There are many products for keeping our pets warm on days like this. Putting a coat on your dog shouldn’t be just about making a fashion statement. Keeping a chilly dog warm, thereby preventing hypothermia . Normal canine body temperature is 38.05C (100.5F) to 38.89C (102F) degrees. When a dog’s internal body temperature drops below 35C (95F) degrees hypothermia or worse death can set in.
Since every dog is different what your dog needs in terms of a warm coat will be different. Labradors such as Miya and Meesha and certain Northern dogs (Huskies and Malamutes, or a Karelian Bear Dog for example) have developed special physiological responses for coping with cold. However, many other breeds and elderly dogs could definitely benefit from extra warming layers in cold weather.
What to look for in a dog coat?
There are many dog winter coats on the market from wool sweaters, polar-fleece and fleece coats, blanket type coats and neoprene parkas. Depending on the size of your dog, getting a coat with Velcro, buttons, snaps or zippers all depends on your preference and the dogs. The best fit I find for my dogs is a coat that has the ability to fasten on both sides of the dog with a wide swath of Velcro. Your fabric will depend on where you live and what activity the dog will be doing outside. For example a neoprene dog parka is designed to keep hunting dogs that live up north warm even when they are soaking wet. However this may be a bit too much for a small Maltese who is going out for a short walk.
Here are some of the coats that have been popular with dog owners:
Ruffwear Quinzee Lightweight Insulated Jacket (Miya and Meesha have a similar coat), Back on Track Therapeutic Dog Blanket Outerwear, and Shearling Dog Coat Brown Extra Large ( Jackie has this coat).
Whatever dog coat you purchase for your pet, make sure it fits and is the right product for you and your pet’s needs.
Winter is setting in ……
Winter is setting in and we all want to stay warm. So have fun with your pets outside even on the coldest days. However remember, if the weather’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet. So when you get back home pick up a good book and settle in by a warm fire with your best friends and enjoy the season.