From Brrr to Happy Barks: What to Look for in Doggy Winter Gear
January's in full swing, which means snow days and winter weather is, too. Unfortunately for our pups (and their humans) that makes walks a LOT chillier -- but luckily for our Northern friends, we've got plenty of winter gear on display to keep our four-legged family members warm all winter long.
When you're shopping for winter gear for your pup, what should you look out for? With so many different cold-weather dog attire options on the market, it can be tough to know what's actually going to keep your dog comfortable. Luckily, the team at Frenchie is here to break down some of the most important factors.
Which dogs need cold-weather gear?
Not all dogs need hoodies! (But yes, we know they all look freakin' adorable in them.) Some shaggier breeds like Newfoundlands, Saint Bernards, Malamutes, and Huskies thrive in the snow, and need nothing more than a treat and a few belly rubs. Plus, these larger-breed dogs have the benefit of their size, coats, and extra girth to help them stay warm.
There's a reason we design hoodies for smaller dogs (and it's not just because of our Main Man, Leo). Small breeds, especially short-haired small breeds like French Bulldogs and Chihuahuas, really struggle to stay warm in the chillier months. This is especially true if your dog doesn't have much meat on his bones or a particularly short coat, like miniature Greyhounds, Whippets, Dachshunds, and Boston Terriers.
A good indicator here is that if your dog looks miserable or gets the shivers on his morning walk, he probably needs an extra layer to stay warm.
How do I know if my dog is too cold?
While we're out for winter walks or zoomies in the snow, it's important to keep an eye on your dog to check for signs she's getting too cold. Winter care for dogs involves a little extra legwork on the humans' part: The general rule of thumb is that if it's too cold outside for you, it's too cold outside for your dog.
However, some of the braver (or more energetic) breeds LOVE to romp around in the snow. And that's great! Just keep an eye out for danger signs of hypothermia like shivering, slow or aggravated breathing, lethargy, or stumbling. Even the warmest winter hoodie can only keep your pup toasty warm for so long -- then it's time to head inside for some snuggles by the fire.
What features should I look for in winter gear for my dog?
Easy-going dogs don't care much about whether her jacket is Canada Goose or Valentino. She just wants to be WARM!
Generally, good features to look out for in winter gear for dogs include:
- Comfort and fit. A hoodie should never be so tight that it makes your dog uncomfortable, especially around the neck and under the armpits. The rule of thumb for accessory fit is that you should always be able to fit two fingers between your dog's fur and the hoodie, collar, or harness.
- Material. Not all hoodies are made alike -- some materials, like velvet, can be warmer than traditional polyester blends. Whatever makes your pup the most comfortable should be the winner!
- Fur lining for colder climates. Extra-thick sweaters and hoodies can be made with a fur lining to keep your pup extra cozy through the winter.
- Coverage. Will the hoodie cover your dog's full back and belly, or leave parts of her skin exposed? Your dog should have enough room to go to the bathroom comfortably and see without her eyes or nose getting covered, but have enough coverage to keep her warm.
- Durability. The cheap materials found on many Amazon products and "fast fashion" sites break down quickly. Higher-quality products like Frenchie hoodies are designed to last longer, no matter what your dog gets into (or chews)!
Is a sweater enough, or should I upgrade to a whole winter "outfit"?
Really, it depends on where you live. If you deal with cold weather but don't get a lot of snow, your pup might be perfectly happy in a light sweater or hoodie. For snowier areas, especially those with a lot of salt and anti-ice chemicals on the ground, investing in a good pair of dog booties is never a bad idea. For rainy winters, puppy raincoats are stylish and effective -- and don't forget to towel off your pup's coat and paws after a walk in the winter weather!
It can be tough to get pups comfortable wearing clothes right away. Instead of forcing your dog into a full-marshmallow outfit right away, start with one article of clothing at a time and give plenty of treats as they get used to wearing these extra layers.
With some patience, some creativity, and a whole lot of lovin', you can keep your pup warm all winter long. Check out our full range of hoodies here, including our brand-new Velvet Couture and Sparkle & Shine styles!