Sweaters are a necessity for some dogs

Although clothes for pets can be trendy, the AVMA says certain breeds benefit from wearing coats, sweaters, booties and other items when the temperature is too cold for them to handle naturally. However, dogs can overheat in sweaters, so owners should closely monitor the weather, the dog and the dog’s activity, according to Dr. Bonnie Beaver, a past president of the AVMA

In certain parts of New York City, high-end dog clothing shops are as ubiquitous as coffee shops. Not all well-heeled pooches are dressed up for reasons of fashion, though. When the weather turns frigid, even furry creatures might appreciate the comfort of a warm sweater.

“Just like people, pets’ cold tolerance can vary from pet to pet, based on their coat, body fat stores, activity level and health,” The American Veterinary Medical Association says.

dogredsweater(Photo: Flickr via Creative Commons/lindyj)On especially frigid days, vets recommend keeping walks short.

Certain breeds, especially short-haired ones, are not as naturally adapted to be cold-tolerant as, say, a Siberian husky. Smaller dogs with short legs may also feel the cold more because their stomachs and bodies are more likely to touch snow-covered ground, according to the AMVA. Pets with certain medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease or hormonal imbalances may also be more susceptible to the cold because they can’t regulate their internal temperature as well.

doggreensweater(Photo: Flickr via Creative Commons/eco-pup)In moderate temperatures, dogs might be better off naked.

If you do choose a dog sweater or coat, experts recommend that you bring a spare.

“Have several on hand, so you can use a dry sweater or coat each time your dog goes outside. Wet sweaters or coats can actually make your dog colder,” the AMVA says.

bigdogsweater(Photo: Flickr via Creative Commons/Laertes)Even big dogs might appreciate a little extra warmth when it gets really cold.

But pet owners should exercise caution, especially in moderate temperatures.

“Wearing a coat can be very dangerous for a dog, especially if it’s a heavy coat and the dog is doing a lot of exercise,” Bonnie Beaver, a past president of the AVMA, told the New York Post in 2010.

Another cold-weather accessory to consider is booties. Both city and country dogs wear them to protect their feet from freezing sidewalks or ground.

whitedogboties(Photo: Flickr via Creative Commons/goldberg)Booties can help protect your dog’s paw pads from frostbite.

Even sled dogs get in on the act!

sleddogbooties(Photo: Flickr via Creative Commons/Alaskan Dude)Dog competitors in the famous Iditarod race in Alaska.

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