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Coats for Dogs

Bundling up for Winter

Once this cold snap rolled in, my mom started putting on extra layers of clothes, two pairs of gloves and a hat under her hood before leaving the house. The other morning as we were walking out the door, she looked down at me and asked, “Are you sure you’re going to be warm enough?”

“Me? I’m good.”

A few days ago we walked by the racket ball court out by the airport where there were four men playing a set. They were each wearing just sweat pants and a long sleeved t-shirt. I said, “See Mom, it’s not so bad once you get moving. Especially when you have friends to play with.”

Don’t get me wrong. I can definitely feel the difference in temperature. Tupancy has gone from a pleasant walking trail to a frozen tundra. But personally, I don’t like jackets. They never really fit me right and they end up bunching up under my front legs.

I did some research online and several experts say since dogs have gone thousands of years without jackets, they can manage just fine in the cold weather without any extra layers. But I’ve also seen more than one short-haired friend standing in the cold shivering their little tail off.

I guess it just comes down to personal preference. If it’s just a quick “business trip,” or your dog has a substantial coat of its own, then a jacket is likely not necessary. But if you are heading out for a long stroll on a cold windy day, then an extra layer may take the edge off. Especially for short-haired dogs, like my friends pictured above.

There are plenty of websites that sell coats for dogs of all shapes and sizes with prices starting around $20. Prices vary depending on how warm a coat you are looking for and the size of your dog.

Or if you want to see if your dog likes wearing a jacket before you spend the money, you can cut the sleeves off an old t-shirt or sweat shirt and fit it over your dog’s head and arms. If your dog likes the old t-shirt idea, you can pick up a whole bunch at the Second Shop or the Take it or Leave it and just toss them out when they get dirty.

Remember the goal is comfort. If you get something that keeps your dog warm, but restricts their movement or doesn’t fit right, it may not be worth it. You may find they are just as happy with the coat nature gave them.

J Dawg, who voices the paws-on-the-ground perspective of island life, is created by Janet Forest, owner of Nantucket Pet Sitter, which you can follow on Facebook, too.