Saturday, January 28, 2006

do dogs really need sweaters

Asked and answered

January 25, 2006



It is more than a fashion statement. Some dogs may actually need to wear a sweater in the cold. (TONY CENICOLA/New York Times)

QUESTION: Do dogs really need to wear sweaters?

ANSWER: Some dogs might. Your canine friends may come equipped with warm winter coats, but that doesn't mean they're prepared for extreme weather. When it gets too cold for people to be outside, pets should be brought indoors.

Some dog breeds, such as huskies, love the cold weather, and their thick coats keep them protected. But small or short-haired dogs might need a sweater when going out.

For dogs that spend a lot of time outside, feed them more during the winter and make sure their water bowls aren't iced over.

Dogs also need a comfortable, three-sided shelter with a warm floor covering such as a blanket or hay. The shelter should be small enough to retain the animal's body heat, and the entrance should face away from the wind.

Always wipe your pet's paws off after a walk. Road salt and sand can irritate their paw pads, and ice can get lodged between the pads, causing frostbite or cuts.

If there are cats in your neighborhood, always check your vehicle before starting it. Cats often crawl underneath vehicles for shelter or climb up near the engine to get warm.

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