Great question! And it’s one that we get asked regularly. While there are certainly some dog owners who will choose to dress their pets in a variety of apparel purely for fashion purposes, there are actually scenarios where ‘dog clothing’ is in fact highly beneficial, and protective for your pooch!
In our experience, this is the number one most important piece of apparel that a dog parent living in a cold, snow blown climate can own. Dogs use their paws to regulate their body temperature. In the heat you will find that dogs love to splash around in kiddie pools, rivers and mud puddles, and will prefer to walk on grass rather than hot concrete. In the winter however, there really is no way for our dogs to avoid walking on cold surfaces, not to mention the snow and ice build up that can happen in their pads!
Putting boots on your dog may seem silly to some, but your dog will appreciate it (once they get used to them). Well made dog boots serve a variety of purposes - they offer a warm waterproof barrier between paws and snow, they provide better traction for walking on icy surfaces (helping to prevent slip injuries), they prevent balls of snow and ice from forming in between pads and toes on fluffier breeds of dogs, and they also protect your dogs paws from the caustic burning of commercial ice melt products! I have seen dogs with their pads burnt nearly off by ice melt, and most pet owners have no idea how dangerous those little blue crystals are to walk on!
The second most important item for winter protection is a well fitted dog jacket. Some breeds with thick double coats may not need a jacket (such as a Husky or Shepherd) however short and single coated dogs are extremely susceptible to the cold, and especially the wind. Add active snowfall into your walk and you now have a dog that’s also wet. A terribly uncomfortable combination!
Dog jackets are water and wind resistant, fleece lined for maximum warmth, high necked to keep snow out, and offer great coverage underneath the belly to prevent snow contact with that sensitive skin. Most jackets also include reflective detailing on the outside to make you and your pooch more visible in the winter darkness.
Snoods (aka hoods)
Short coated breeds also have very frostbite vulnerable ears. Snoods or head muffs are essentially a turtleneck style tube that covers your dogs ears, and can be snugged around their head to hold it in place. Breeds like Greyhounds, Pitbulls, Viszlas etc have very sensitive ears with little fur, and these are a wonderful protecting option.
Our team at Tail Blazers West are always happy to help you size and fit your dog for all their winter apparel needs!