Something I get asked about a lot this time of the year is dog coats so I thought I would make a quick little post about it.
The first question is usually How do I know if my dog needs a coat? And my advise is always to look at your dog's body language. Does your dog seem tensed, keeping its head low, tail a bit tucked, and seems less playful or energetic then usual? Your dog might be cold. Obviously you want to note that this change only occurs when the weather changes, not permanently, or your dog might have a health issue and you should probably take it to the vet. If your dog is as happy and lively and usual and has fab fur like Rafa and Otto who can be out for hours without getting cold, there is no need to get them a jacket or a jumper, no matter how cold you think it is, they are little predators after all and not as weak as us humans. If you have a dog with very short fur like our Staffies and Lurchers, your dog will probably need a coat when it gets colder. I have also seen a big difference in behaviour in anxious and stressed dogs when wearing a coat. It is as if the cold weather makes their body even more tensed which in its turn makes them even more worried. Keeping them slightly warmer so it is easier for their body to stay relaxed seems to help keep them happier and calmer.
The second question that follows is always What coat should I get for my dog? And here I have some great recommendations! Having so many day care dogs with short fur we have gone through a large number of dog coats, and most of them are unfortunately utterly useless - they fall off every second, soak up water like sponges, and just do not keep the dogs warm. A few things you want to look for when getting a dog coat are 1. Does it cover the chest and belly? This is usually where your dog's fur is the shortest, and your dog will loose a lot of heat. If your dog gets very cold you also wants something that covers the inside of the legs slightly where the veins are close to the skin. 2. How many fastenings does it have? Coats that attach with buttons and velcro and zippers over the chest and belly and under the legs look attractive as if they would fit any size. But usually more openings mean they fall off easier and are pretty flimsy. 3. Living in Scotland you obviously want something waterproof or that dries quickly. Needless to say it should also be warm, so avoid those thin waterproofs without lining.
Out of all the coats we have seen Equafleece dog jumpers (modeled by Fausto and Bella) and Danish Design 2-in-1 (modeled by Ida and Wilson) are the best ones out there. Keep warm, never fall off, dry quickly, durable and easy to find a good fit for different shaped dogs.