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Why your dog might need a winter coat

Of course there are all-weather dogs and Nordic sled dogs who want to romp around in the garden without a dog coat, even at -20 ° Celsius. But these dogs are the exceptions and not the rule. It is our duty to take care of the well-being of our dogs and that definitely belongs to us in winter Not having to freeze your butt off.

Yes, some dogs should wear a winter coat. It depends on many factors when a dog freezes and how thick the dog’s coat needs to be.

Why should some dogs wear a warm coat in winter?

Quite simply: Because they are cold!

If the dog’s body can’t keep itself warm (anymore), walks aren’t fun. You wouldn’t want to trudge through the sleet in a sweater that was too thin.

You don’t soften your dog and he does used not even to the cold.

The body is only able to adapt its thermoregulation mechanisms in a defined area, then it’s over. The physiological limits of body performance are primarily innate and not “muscles” that one could continue to train at will. Otherwise the North Pole would have been settled long ago.

Functional dog clothing helps to preserve the body’s own heat.

A freezing dog should therefore wear a dog coat. Above all, you don’t have to fear any disadvantage from wearing dog clothes. Therefore, even in case of doubt, the following always applies: Yes to the dog coat!

The worst that can happen: Should the dog, contrary to expectations, overheat in its winter dog coat and still get along better without it, the functional clothing is sold on with a small loss.

Which dogs need a coat?

How much cold a dog can tolerate depends a lot on the breed of the dog, its age, the condition of its coat and its general condition.

Does the fur sufficiently isolate the dog from the cold?

  • Dogs without an undercoat freeze faster.

Dog breeds without an undercoat In contrast to dogs with double-layered fur, they hardly shed at all. Some of these breeds lose individual outer hairs all year round. However, many do not hair at all and therefore have to do it regularly coiffed become.

Of course, especially in dogs with long hair or lush curls, the hair also has a bit of a protective effect against the weather. But it’s just not quite as functional as a real layer of top hair.

  • Basenji
  • Bedington Terrier
  • Bichon Frize
  • Bolonka Zwetna
  • Boston Terrier
  • Boxer
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT)
  • Chihuahua
  • Cotton Tulear
  • Dalmatian
  • German Mastiff
  • Dobermann
  • English bulldog
  • French bulldog
  • Havanese
  • Irish Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Short-haired dachshund (some)
  • Short haired terrier (Manchester Terrier, Toy Terrier, manche JRT, …)
  • Löwchen
  • Hungarian Vizsla
  • Malteser
  • Naked dogs (But!)
  • Papillon
  • Pinscher
  • Poodles and curly dogs (Wasserhunde, Lagotto, Kerry Blue Terrier..)
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Shar pei
  • Shih-Tzu
  • Thai Ridgeback
  • Weimaraner
  • Greyhounds (Afghanen, Salukis, Whippets, Greyhounds,..)
  • Yorkshire Terrier

Dogs without an undercoat, who do not have the opportunity, the mobility or the temperament to spend all of their time outdoors, should wear a coat in winter.

  • A fresh shear can ensure that an actually insensitive dog suddenly freezes.

    So if you have your poodle just because of the unspeakable snow bobble in your curly hair, even in winter regularly short hairdos, should offer a winter coat.

  • A functional layer of sebum protects the skin and fur from the weather and dry heated air.

    Also have a look at my article about dry skin in dogs.

  • A normally pronounced layer of fat in the subcutis isolates from the cold.

    Of course, more fat also isolates, but it’s obvious unhealthy for other reasons.

The perception of cold also depends on the physique

  • Compared to a small body, a larger body produces more heat than it loses through its body surface. This is one of the reasons why polar bears even manage to get that big.
  • A lot of heat is lost through the outer extremities and ears.

    (Wind) Dogs that only consist of legs and ears are at a disadvantage here.

  • Short-legged dogs are more exposed to the cold in winter than normally proportioned dogs.

    Their torso is much closer to the cold ground and it is almost impossible to prevent them from quickly becoming completely wet from below while running.

Do I make the dog wait in the cold?

  • Dogs in training are often required to switch between rest times and full throttle several times.

    It does not matter whether we go to agility hall training or tournaments in unheated halls in winter, load the dog into the car during breaks or share some fun sport training time with others in the dog school.

    In human athletes, great care is taken to ensure that the muscles are sufficiently warmed up and that the body does not completely cool down again in short training breaks.

    There is no real data on whether a dog actually benefits from a warming coat during training breaks. But there is also no reason to believe that a functional dog coat would do any harm in winter training breaks …

  • Dogs that are forced to wait in the cold can chill quickly.

    In a stationary car or tied up in front of the bakery, the dog can quickly get very cold. If the dog is deprived of the opportunity to move or seek refuge, he should wear a coat.

    Exception: You should take off your dog’s coat on longer journeys in a heated car. It gets too warm for most dogs. Then one is enough Cozy blanket or a Dog sweaters.

Age and individual preferences influence when a dog starts to freeze

When do dogs get cold?

At temperatures below 5 ° C If you have a medium-sized dog, you can start to see if he gets cold when he spends long periods of time outside.

However, when it rains or when there is strong wind, some small or older dogs freeze miserably below 10 ° C.

It is difficult to determine by a number of degrees when an individual dog is freezing. Due to wind and humidity, the temperature actually felt can also be much lower than the one displayed on the thermometer.

The icy wind in particular “blows” the warm air out of the insulation layer of the dog’s fur and quickly transports the heat away from the skin surface.

As soon as the dog shows signs that he is freezing he should be dressed in clothes or taken home. By the way, especially frozen and old dogs wear a dog sweater or a thick shirt inside with me in winter.

If you find it too cold despite a thick winter jacket, scarf and hat, it is probably too cold for a normally built dog in the long run. At the latest when the dog is obviously freezing, it should be brought inside!

How do you recognize freezing in dogs?

Logical common sense and a knowledge of the signs of freezing in dogs help to make the right decisions in the interests of the individual animal.

Tremor (tremor) is the most obvious symptom of hypothermia. Individual muscle groups move rhythmically in opposite directions and thus generate heat through friction in order to counteract the cooling.

Trembling is associated with energy expenditure due to muscle contractions and cannot be sustained indefinitely. When you freeze and shiver, your body indicates that it is too cold to survive under these conditions in the long term.

Is it always the case that dogs freeze when they tremble?

No one Muscle tremors can also be observed, for example, in internal illnesses, mild forms of epilepsy or, of course, in fear. If the cause is unclear, it should of course be discussed with a specialist. Here, for example, a video recording of the dog, which can be shown to the vet, can help with the clarification.

In some dog breeds, there is a familial accumulation of an apparently not harmful to health Tremors especially on the trunk and limbs, e.g. in many terriers.

Whether the shivering dog is freezing usually results from the context:
If the dog only trembles in winter, the most likely cause is freezing.

Cold ears and cold paws in the dog indicate hypothermia. This is where most of the heat is lost due to the thin fur and the hardly existing layer of fat.

It’s no different for us. Without protective clothing, we too quickly get hold of hands and ears in winter.

Trembling is hardly possible in these parts of the body due to the lack of muscles, the resulting heat would be lost anyway.

So in order to counteract excessive heat loss in the ears and limbs, the outer layers of the skin are only supplied with blood to a minimum in cold weather that allows the skin to carry out the most urgent metabolic processes.

If the dog has cold ears, paws or legs, it is time to bring him inside to a warm and dry place.

Leaving the dog in freezing weather can cause frostbite on the tips of the ears, toes or the tip of the tail as the body cuts off blood flow to the tips of the external appendages in a desperate attempt to preserve heat for the vital organs.

Hypothermia in the dog

Trembling, accelerated pulse and respiratory rates and reduced blood flow to the outer layers of the skin are the thermoregulatory measures with which the body reacts to slight hypothermia.

If these symptoms are sustained over a long period of time, numb and sore paws and muscle tension are the consequences.

When the body’s ability to generate and conserve heat under the winter weather conditions (cold ambient air, wind, precipitation) is at some point exhausted, the body begins to cool down, which at a certain point can become life-threatening.

With more advanced cooling, a kind of “emergency program” starts at some point, the pulse drops sharply, the shaking stops (!), All movements become slower and clouding of consciousness occurs.

The body tries to save energy at all ends and make it available to the most vital organs. Finally, severe hypothermia can lead to shock-like symptoms and lead to respiratory failure, collapse and death of the dog.

If the dog suffers symptoms due to a cold that go beyond the normal everyday “freezing”, it must be wrapped in warm blankets and taken to the veterinarian, who will initiate emergency care.

If the dog is slightly hypothermic, you should dry the dog well and bring it to a warm place. Covering up and gently massaging will help warm the skin again and stimulate blood circulation.

If the dog wants to drink, you can offer slightly warmed water.

Everyone has felt this firsthand how painful it can be if you warm up cold hands too quickly.

Excessive demands on the hypothermic skin in terms of blood circulation and oxygen supply can lead to sharp pain.

Therefore also with the dog on one very slow warming Pay attention and, for safety reasons, avoid hot baths, a fully cranked hairdryer and hot water bottles.

Also, please do not put a dog that cannot escape directly by the fireplace or the fully turned on heater!

Frostbite in the dog

If you leave the dog …


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