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Lipton’s Pet Peeves: Why some dogs should wear clothing in the Winter

I once heard an emergency medicine specialist at a New York City veterinary practice state during a TV interview that no dog needs to wear a coat in the wintertime because they all have fur coats.

I believe that is wrong, wrong, wrong. So much depends on the individual dog’s characteristics: the type of climate from where the breed originated, haircoat, size, body condition, illness, climatization, duration of time outdoors, specific weather conditions (temperature, wind chill factor, and precipitation), and other parameters.

What about Mexican Hairless dogs or Chinese Crested dogs - most are essentially furless?

There is a Physics theorem that smaller objects retain heat less than larger objects because they have a larger surface-area-to-volume ratio. Heat dissipates more quickly from smaller bodies. So what about that little Chihuahua walking outside during a DC Winter for 30 minutes?

Based on my training in Chiropractic, dogs with arthritis, neurologic weakness, IV disk problems of their backs or necks, and severely debilitating diseases should wear coats, sweaters, and sometimes scarfs in order to keep tissues warm. When tissues are warm muscles move with more flexibility, blood vessels circulate blood more easily, lymphatic vessels drain better, synovial fluid which lubricates joints are less viscous. These are only some of body functions that work better when tissues are warm.

Remember seeing boxers wearing robes prior to going into the ring? Horses exercising in sheets or blankets?

“Cold is the enemy of arthritis and back issues.” Cold can cause muscles to spasm very quickly which can be painful.

When a dog is shivering outside is it cold, anxious, or both? I only saw my 22 yo Dachshund shiver on very cold days.

There are many wonderful blankets and coats for dogs on the market. Perhaps someone will someday soon design a good pair of leg warmers too.

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