Pet Clothing – Much More than Just Adorable!

Welcome back to Tales & Tails with Dr. Ferrell. Hope you’re all managing to stay warm!

Cold weather is upon us and temperatures are pretty frigid today. So what does that mean for our pets? Well, for Jiggy and Gidget it means lots of adorable sweaters and a fuzzy blanket in the car. I assure you I didn’t used to be a person who dressed her dogs. I’ve always had medium to large dogs that stayed inside except for walks. They were always happy and comfortable out in the cold with their thicker skin and longer coats. My little munchkins, on the other hand, have pretty short little legs and their tummies are only a couple inches off the ground. Jiggy, being a Dachshund mix, also doesn’t have much hair on her chest or stomach. So when she’s outside she’s chilly! She even shivers in the house if she lays down to nap. So I broke down and starting purchasing doggy clothes.

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The face says, “I’m warm but humiliated.”

Now, don’t think for a second Jiggy and Gidget are grateful for the added warmth. They hate wearing clothes! When they sees me get a sweater out, they puts their heads down and look at me with the saddest eyes ever. But Jiggy docilely lifts each paw for me to put her tiny legs through the sleeves of the latest torture device. Gidget squirms until it feels like I’m trying to dress an octopus. But then the shivering stops and although they’d never admit it, they’re much more comfortable.

No matter what kind of pet you have or whether or not they stay indoors, we have to make adjustments to our pet care routines when temperatures plummet. What is your pet’s lifestyle and what changes do you need to make?

Indoor Dogs: If your dog only goes outside to go to the bathroom, then your

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“I’m pouting until you take this sweater off.”

outdoor routine may not need much change. However, pets still need exercise in the winter. So if your pet isn’t interested in a treadmill, you may have to brave the cold for the occasional walk. Unless your pet has a thick heavy hair coat, like an Akita or Husky, they need extra protection. Put on a sweater or coat to help keep them warm. If you’re truly dedicated and are walking in snow or icy conditions, you may actually have to consider booties as well.

Outdoor Dogs: If you have dogs that stay outside most of the time, they are likely more acclimated to the lower temperatures. However, this year we went from warm to frigid relatively abruptly so pay extra attention to their outdoor needs. They absolutely must have access to shelter–covered and insulated–and thick bedding at all times. You also need to ensure their water is not freezing. If at all possible, it would be ideal to bring them in at night, or at least allow them access to the garage or other completely enclosed area. If they have a thin coat, you should also consider adding a coat or sweater, but make sure to change it frequently and monitor their skin for any irritation. Some dogs also need extra calories during the winter while their body works harder to maintain their normal body temperature. Talk to your veterinarian about the appropriate diet and calorie intake during cold months.

Indoor Cats: Corey Cat doesn’t seem to notice the cold much. The only change is occasionally waking to find him standing over my head and staring at me until I let him under the covers. Most indoor cats do quite well, unless of course you have a very thin haired or hairless variety. If that’s the case, yep, you might need to consider a cat sweater.

 

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Having a buddy to snuggle with is good for warmth too.

Outdoor Cats: Ideally, make them indoor cats. If that isn’t possible, only let them out for short periods of time when the temperature is below freezing and never leave them out at night.

So while you’re bundling up to combat the cold temperatures and freezing wind, don’t forget your pets get chilly too! If you have other questions about keeping your pet safe and comfortable during winter months, feel free to call us any time!

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