Observing the dog
Using a jacket is also necessary outside of training sessions. Cold tolerance varies in every individual and it can be affected by the dog’s age, size, health and the type of the coat. Due to this, the need for additional warmth may be drastically different between each dog, even between dogs of the same breed. You can check out our guide on Choosing the Right Jacket to find the best jacket for your dog’s fur type.
Observing the dog is important when considering the need for a jacket but it’s not always easy to tell if a dog is cold or not. Trembling and paw lifting may be easy to notice but the signs can be much more subtle. – It’s very individual. When my dogs are cold they clearly arch their backs, tense up their muscles or move very stiffly, Oona says. Also constant shaking and overall restlessness can be telltale signs.
Older dogs in particular are more sensitive to the cold. – The metabolism of an aging dog slows down, the quality of the coat may decrease and the muscle mass waste away. This leads to a decrease in cold tolerance. Older dogs also tend to move less and slower. This of course doesn’t apply to everyone, Oona says. The oldest member of the pack is 10-year-old Dexter who still runs with the rest of the Huskies. – Nowadays Dexter suffers from stiff muscles occasionally. Wearing a jacket has clearly helped in preventing this and has sped up the recovery process, Oona says.
– Puppies are also more vulnerable to the cold, as their muscle mass and fur coat have yet to develop enough to protect the puppy from the weather. Also, puppies ability to regulate heat is inefficient. Especially puppies of a small breed are prone to get cold a lot easier, Oona points out.
In addition, many diseases can sensitize dog to the cold. For example, various skin diseases as well as metabolic diseases can affect the quality of the dog’s coat. It’s also recommended to protect dogs with joint diseases from the cold. In these cases it’s advisable to discuss the need for additional warmth with your veterinarian.