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Hug a Warm Puppy!

In our area of Virginia, the temperatures have started to dip into the 40s and even the 30s. This means that some dogs will already have started shivering. And when it comes to resisting the cold weather, size does not matter at all. The biggest, strongest, toughest-looking pit bull or Doberman can be seen looking hunched over and miserable outside because their short, thin coats are not doing it for them. This is one reason why it’s so tragic that Dobermans are often used as guard dogs. They have to endure loneliness and freezing-cold temperatures. My late Doberman, Shandy, was always a chilly dog in winter, so I bought him a sporty blue cape-like jacket from a greyhound catalog that made him look like Superdog. He loved it and seemed to walk taller in it too.

Many people don’t realize that some dogs need winterwear because they assume that a dog’s coat is sufficient protection against the cold. But look at it this way: Don’t you sometimes feel cold when you’re outside with a coat on? And it gets worse if you’re not given the opportunity to move around much, such as in the sad case of dogs who are chained or penned outside.

A good rule of thumb is this: If you feel comfortable in a light jacket and your dog has a medium-thick coat, everything should be fine. If you feel the need to put on a heavier coat and mittens, then start thinking about buying outerwear for your dog too. Don’t worry about it if you have a husky, collie, chow-chow, or other dog with a thick undercoat, but do worry about it if your dog has a thin, short haircoat or is old or infirm. Worry less if you’re going for a brisk walk or run that will warm you both up quickly, and worry more if you’re going to be standing around outside for any length of time.

Or you could just observe your dog and see if he or she shivers. Then get your dog some outerwear pronto!

You can knit or crochet your own dog sweaters—there are lots of patterns on the Internet. Teresa, the guardian of Joey and Chandler, whose picture accompanies this post, whips out dog sweaters like nobody’s business. And choosing your own colors can be a lot of fun. If you’d rather go with something store-bought, there’s a lot to choose from both online and at your local pet supply store: sweaters, coats, thermal underwear, sweatshirts—even boots to fend off snow and ice.

Boots are particularly good for dogs with furry feet who are going to be walking around in the snow. I remember my cocker spaniel Rogan accumulating little icy snowballs all over his fluffy feet when we walked in the snow the first time. Not too pleasant—in fact, he stopped walking altogether and made me carry him.

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  • Erin says:

    I have a Chihuahua and being a chihuahua, she’s always shaking, even in the summertime. 😛 I’ve bought her a raincoat and a cable sweater.

  • Victoria says:

    I have two Shi-Tzus at home, Jessica and Jake. We have a couple of different coats, ones more of a sweatshirt material, and then we have others that are like winter coat material that are thicker for the cold canadian winters we get!

    I think people should realize if they are cold than their animal is probably cold to. Unless of course they are dogs with thicker undercoats that keep them warm in the cold winter.

    I couldn’t imagine leaving, even my “guard dog” which i would never have, outside all of the time. I mean no human would want to be left alone outside to freeze, while being tied up and restricted. I rescued a dog like that when i was younger, I saw it tied up outside on a clothes line, just a water bowl which was empty. I asked my parents if we could take it home we talked to the owner and they agreed, they told us her name was Destiny. That dog was my best friend, she knew what we did for her you could tell. Sadly, A couple years later she ran out in front of a car right at the back of my house and it was a hit and run. We never found out who did it…luckily for them. I think people take animals for granted sometimes like they do people.

  • Lisa says:

    I think it’s very important for pet owners to have atleast 2-3 dog sweaters or coats for their dogs! They have just as much right and need for warmth as you do! I have purchased 3 of them on Ebay for a very reasonable price! Lot’s of Ebay sellers actually make these coats/sweaters to the owner’s size and color specs! I always get compliments when I walk my rescue Greyhound and Whippet with their fancy sweaters/coats! The dogs seem so much happier too! One other thing: Please, please have a warm dog-house for your pooch if you normally keep your dog outside during the colder months! Either that or let him/her inside to join you by the fire! You have your dog for a reason! They live to please you and they are such wonderful, loving creatures! Please remember to treat them with love and kindness! And! Lose the chain/rope! Nobody wants to be restricted like that! Happy Holidays!

  • Chris Flis says:

    I lost my little dog two months ago or so and someone who loves animals dearly convinced us to adopt instead of purchase. I’m so glad my parents did; they couldn’t be happier. I don’t think they’re new little dog will wear a sweater though as I fear it will only send him into a comically violent rage. They keep him inside though so he will definitely be warm enough during the winter season. He would probably just end up eating the sweater anyway in jovial disaproval of dry dog food. Thanks for the advice.

  • kristen avilas says:

    it’s sad that we have to remind people that our pets need to be kept warm during the winter but i’m very grateful that ya’ll are putting the reminder out there. we step out in 40F weather and we know that we need coats and sweaters. our pets feel cold and often times their fur is just not enough. plus it allows us to indulge in having our pets look adorable in their winter gear 🙂

    thanks to peta for all that ya’ll do!!!

  • Sophia says:

    My name is Sophia I’m in 7TH grade in a large middle school in Leander Texas. I am doing an advanced language arts project on a topic so large you could bag the world with it…. Animal cruelty; which includes factopry farming,puppymills,animal testing,dogfighting,
    foie gras(>>KP’s Response:

    Hi Sophia!
    The world needs more people like you–that’s for sure! Yes, you can do many, many things to help animals right now. Please go to this part of PETA’s Web site to find out how kids your age can help: Thanks for being there!