Do Dog Sweaters Really Work?

doggie in a sweater
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The debate on the value of dog clothing rages on. The most faithful proponents of it argue that some dog breeds don’t have the natural abilities to protect themselves from extreme weather and temperatures, which justifies the use of clothing. On the other side, some people think that dog clothing has nothing to it but aesthetic value.

The truth is that dog clothing comes in different shapes, sizes, and types. The type of clothes that you put on your dog determines its function or purpose. Some clothes don’t have any use other than dress up the pup, while others come with practical function.

doggie in a sweater

Another thing to factor in is the breed of your dog. If you sneer on the concept of letting your dog wear the best dog sweater, then you probably haven’t read that much about the vulnerability of certain breeds against freezing temperatures. It means that if you’re situated in a place with winter every year, then your dog is at risk of getting harmed merely by exposure to the cold weather.

Some dogs like the Siberian Husky, American Eskimo Dog, Tibetan Terrier, and Alaskan Malamute are well-built for the winter as they have a thick coat. On the other hand, dogs such as a Beagle, Basset Hound, Chihuahua, and Boxer are susceptible to the cold since they’re short-haired. For these breeds, you need to put clothing on, even if you don’t want to.

The Need for a Sweater

Don’t wait for your dog to get sick or end up dying out there in the cold before you acknowledge the value of sweaters. Although this type of clothing does not have any use during the summer, you’ll be glad you bought one for your pup once the winter sets in.

Dogs must go outside for several reasons. You don’t want them to pee or poop inside, do you? You also might have to expose them to the cold weather to go to the veterinarian. If you’re used to taking Fido for a walk, then you can’t stop it merely because it’s snowing outside. Dogs need to relieve themselves and to do that, and they must spend at least a couple of minutes. That short period could put the animal at risk of hypothermia and frostbite. Some dogs indeed have natural protection (thick coat) against the cold season, but you can’t take that risk if your pup is short-haired or has a thin coat.

Light-bodied and small dog breeds like Poodles and Chihuahuas certainly will benefit from a dog sweater when they go outside. The sweater is meant to keep the pet comfortable and warm. Some breeds aren’t built for frigid temperatures, and the lack of clothing reinforcement puts their well-being in danger.

small dog sweater

Aside from small and light-bodied dogs, the need for a sweater is imminent for your furry buddy who has a weak immune system because of old age. Some dogs also suffer from diseases that impair natural hair growth – it’s another argument in favor of letting them wear sweaters.

On the other hand, a handful of large dog breeds with dense or thick hair coats don’t need added insulation in the winter. The truth is that you may do more harm than good if you insist on having your Alaskan Malamute or Siberian Husky wear a sweater when he’s outside. It sounds extreme, but the dog can overheat. Since some breeds are meant to thrive in cold temperatures, it means that sweaters are useless for them.

So, for the question of whether sweaters work, the answer is a resounding “yes!” Nonetheless, the answer is quite relative. Sweaters are a unique type of dog clothing because they cover the majority of the dog’s body. Hence, they provide maximum insulation, which can either be a good or bad thing. For instance, you can’t have your dog wearing a sweater when he’s inside the house, and your heating equipment turned on. You can’t also force it to wear the sweater while sleeping on a cozy bed and with a blanket on while the heater is in full blast. As mentioned earlier, there’s a risk of overheating.

Additionally, dogs wrapped in clothing with the warm temperature outside may develop skin allergies and irritation.

What’s in a Good Sweater?

A dog sweater only works when you choose the right one. There are thousands of them out there, but only a handful are considered useful. The first thing to factor in is the material. Although wool offers the best insulation and warmth, it’s inconvenient to wash and maintain. The material also makes the dog itch more than he usually does. So, the best sweater is that one made from the combination of cotton and wool. A cheaper alternative comes in the form of acrylic and wool.

Your decision to buy a sweater depends on a bevy of factors, including your location and weather, dog breed, size, and budget. The sweater only works for small dogs, those with health issues, and the ones with short hair or thin coat.

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