After another January thaw we are in the deep freeze, again! I guess the only good news is that it’s almost February, before you know it, Spring is here! But, I’m not out of the woods yet when it comes to wearing a coat and booties on my walks. Believe it or not, pet parents disagree on whether or not dogs need coats in cold weather, but, according to a recent Responsible Pet Parenting Survey from Petplan® pet insurance, 72% of 4,492 respondents said their dogs wear coats when the temperatures drop. But, do dogs need coats in cold weather? And if so, which dogs, and when?
Little Olive keeps warm in Chicago’s Portage Park with her fur-trimmed coat!
Here’s what the survey results revealed:
- 88% of pet parents of small dogs under 25 pounds are most likely to dress their pets for cold weather
- 62% of medium-sized pets (26–60 lbs) wear coats in cold weather
- 47% of pet parents of big dogs over 60 pounds seems to think that their dogs need to wear coats
According to Petplan Veterinary Advisory Board Member Dr. Ernie Ward. “For years, veterinarians have been trying to spread the awareness that if you’re cold, they’re cold. That message seems to have hit home, along with the guidelines for how cold is too cold for individual pets. Typically, the smaller the dog, the more protection he needs, so these numbers show that responsible pet parents are paying attention.”
So, what is cold to one parent isn’t always cold to another parent. The Lady has her own guidelines for bundling us up for the cold. If the temperature is in single digits, or lower, no walks whatsoever. Once the temperatures reach the mid-teens we’re allowed walks if we wear coats, and boots, if there’s a possibility for salt on the walks. Once the temperatures get close to 32% we get to go out coat free. But she also takes other factors into consideration, such as wind chill and precipitation. If it’s snowing it’s usually closer to 32 degrees so we wear coats to keep us dry, especially the under carriage for us height challenged dogs like me. It looks like we fall within Petplan’s recommendations on the infographic how did you do?
But, in the Petplan survey, pet parents seem much more cautious:
- 88% start bundling up their pups when temperatures drop below 50 degrees (women reported taking more precautions with winter weather than men)
- 73% of female respondents dress their pets for the cold, versus 66% of male survey participants
- 70% of male dogs and 73% of female dogs wear coats when temperatures go low so the sex of the pet makes little difference
- 83% of dogs in urban, like us, or suburban communities are more likely to wear coats in cold weather, while only 17% of pets in rural areas wear protection from the cold
The Lady feels that the survey results show that pet parents put their dogs in coats when it’s not needed. We see this all the time, when it’s in the 40s and 50s dogs are wearing coats. Also, we think that some large dog breeds need coats more than others. Our Greyhound and Pit Bull friends have thin, short coats, and we agree with the chart, 32 degrees is a good guideline for them to wear coats. Also, tiny dogs like Chihuahuas need coats more than furry small dogs, like Taffy.
Whether you choose to put a coat on your dog or not is most likely up to the dog! It’s more important to observe your dog’s behavior to see if they’re comfortable in a coat or not. Also, outdoors a dog will let you know if they are too cold, probably by wanting to go in! Coats make great fashion statements for pet parents, but if your dog refuses to wear one, don’t force it to, but rather just limit outings in the cold. The dog’s comfort is much more important than making you look good!
Here’s some more myths and facts on dogs wearing coats.
Dolly, Taffy and Rhette are all members of Petplan pet insurance. We received no compensation for this post and opinions are our own. We only share information we feel our readers will find worthwhile.