A coat for the dog? A few years ago, dog clothes mostly shook their heads, as it was primarily associated with lap dogs in a pink designer outfit. But meanwhile more and more dog owners are discovering the practical advantages of dog clothes. Dogs with thin fur, old dogs, sick dogs - they can all benefit from dog clothes in winter.
Dog clothes: useful for thin fur
Usually, nature dresses the dog for winter: most breeds grow thicker fur in autumn. Controlled by hormones, the undercoat thickens during the dog's coat change to keep the animal warm in cold temperatures.
However, this does not apply to some dog breeds. The best example is the Mexican Chihuahua, which was bred for a warm climate. In Central European winter, the little four-legged friend freezes very quickly with its thin fur and small body size. But some larger dog breeds also have thin fur that lacks enough undercoat. These breeds include the Dalmatian, the German Boxer and the Doberman. Hairless dogs, of course, also need warm clothing in winter.
Dogs that are naturally very slim or small also need special heat protection. Greyhounds, for example, not only have a short coat, but also no protective layer of fat on the ribs. Small dogs naturally cool faster than large dogs, even if they have a thick or long coat. They are also closer to the cold ground with their belly, which is why they generally freeze faster.
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Functional dog clothes: you have to pay attention to that
If your dog needs additional protection against the cold in winter, you should always give functionality priority over fashionable looks. It is important that a dog coat or dog jacket provides sufficient warmth and protection against moisture, does not press and leaves the dog free to move.
You should pay special attention to the dog's often thin haired belly, especially when it comes to dog clothes. Many dog coats often consist of only one type of blanket, which is closed with a belt at the bottom. Instead, choose a piece of clothing that also protects the sensitive stomach.
In winter when there is ice on the ground or road salt in the snow, so-called dog booties - small boots that protect sensitive dog paws - can be a useful addition to dog clothes.
Make dog clothes yourself in winter: tips
If you don't find anything suitable in the trade, you can also make dog clothes yourself. For this you need to measure your four-legged friend carefully - the neck circumference, leg circumference, waist circumference as well as back length and distances between the legs are important - and it is best to draw a pattern on newspaper. You can use disused sweaters, shirts and fleece jackets as material. Children's or baby clothing may even fit your dog without major changes. If you can knit or crochet, you will have a lot of fun making a warm sweater for your four-legged friend.
The following video shows how you can convert an old fleece jacket into a dog sweater, for example:
Even with homemade dog clothes, make sure that it fits well, does not restrict your dog and also warms him well on the belly. If the fabric itself is not waterproof, you can cover a raincoat over the warming sweater for a walk in winter in the rain or snow.