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do dogs need winter apparel?

Question:
I was just wondering, do dogs need things like winter jackets and boots? I wasn't sure if people just get these things because it's cute to dress the dog up, or if it's really necessary. I know for some small breeds it is definitely necessary in the winter, but what about larger dogs? I did get a jacket type of thing for my golden retriever puppy, i don't know how helpful it is, though. She had her first encounter with the snow last week and she wasn't too impressed. She liked diving into it nose first, but she didn't really like walking in it. Should she have boots as well?

Answer:
My large breed dogs don't use winter apparel. I think you're lucky if your dog will wear it. I wish mine would wear it so when it's raining or snowing out they won't get wet and track it in. I would however suggest boots if you're going to walk your dog anywhere that there is salt. The salt can do awefull things to your dogs pads. Drys them out and makes them burn. Extremely uncomfy.

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I am a six foot two male and I don’t consider dog clothing as a very masculine thing.

However I have two dogs. One an English Pointer (little guy) with extremely thin hair and the second a Rhodesian Ridgeback \ Doberman mix (big guy).

The little guy shakes so yes he has a coat and boots and wears them nearly everyday in the winter. He wore his coat for the first time this year two days ago. It’s required.

The big guy is an off leash runner and would wear boots but doesn’t really need them. I would have to continually put the boots back on too as he’d make a sharp turn and a boot would fly off. Unless it’s cold enough and for him and that is extremely cold he seldom wears them.

Last year we had about BITTERLY cold days. He lost a boot and within minutes was limping trying to keep his foot of the ground. I took a glove off and touched the snow…it burned. We went and bought new boots and also a coat – I mean it was bitter cold. He wore the coat only about four days but he NEEDED the coat those days.

If we are doing an on leash road walk boots are definitely required as they protect against road salt also. (I see Jeffie posted the same thing as I was writing this but I'll leave it in as salt is really bad)

So depending on how you dog handles the cold a coat may not be necessary (golden retrievers have long hair). Boots on the other hand I’d recommend that you use them everyday. It’s not just about fashion.

Answer:
I agree about the boots. One week of salt can make your doggies' feet raw for the rest of the winter. No matter how much you try to avoid the salt, it's everywhere. My doggies have booties for walking on the road. Even in deep snow, the snow gets between the pads and their feet freeze. They get used to them so quickly and have way more fun with them on.

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Thanks for the replies! I didn't even think about the salt...i will definitely get Cami some boots

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Just like twodogsandacat, I have an English Pointer with muscle but little fat (my other dog is a German Shepherd/Chow mix) and Simon doesn't go out without his mini-horse blanket once it dips below 60F. He won't suffer me putting boots on him, however when it's snowy out, he will wear his "snow socks", which are just old thick athletic socks of mine with a bit of athletic tape at the top to keep them on.



Answer:
We put Trigger, the pit bull into an old sweater when he's going out to play for a long while, and boots for sure or the poor guy can't back to the house for the limping the salt is killer in DT Toronto! Why does everyone use so much it just melts the snow and turns it to ice anyways?!?!
And also for Dory the papillon, I just put her into boots and a sweater if we're going out for an extended period, she is extremely hairy and sometimes I think she's relieved to get out of the house it's so hot, but if we go out too long she starts to shiver.

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Jawert, very cute doggy. I love the soft mouth on those pointers... They're lips are so floppy... Where did you get the coat?

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He actually had a volunteer (Wendy) at the shelter I found him in that bought him that and so it came home with him. I'm fortunate though that the feed mill I buy Peaches' food at, also carries the same kind of blankets (this place is just AMAZING), so if he ever wears out this one, I'll be able to replace it.

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Oh and I started calling him Hoofer since when he sighs/snorts it comes out like "HHOOOFFF" cuz of those lips..I love him, he's just the coolest

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We have winter coats for two of our three (little one and a short/wire haired one). As for boots, last year we tried a product called invisible boot (waxy cream, similar to bag balm) which seemed to work well at keeping cold burns and salt irritation away. Couple of downsides - (1) unless you want cream all over your floors you need to put it on outside and (2) it doesn't protect well on long walks.

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I have a 12 week old min. schnauzer. She has her thick puppy fur. Does she need a coat?

What about those sprays that you can spray onto their feet, instead of putting on boots? Is this a good product?

Answer:
Never heard of sprays for the feet but then the market is always changing... what is the spray called?

As for a coat or sweater, if your dog shivers out in the cold then I would put one on. Mine are all hairy beast that lie in the snow so they are not affected by the cold.

If I am going out on the trails, I put vaseline on the dogs pads to help avoid snowballs in their furry feet. We used to do this with the horses so that the snow build up would pop out of their hooves.

Answer:
Due to budget cut backs, they don't really salt the subdivision roads in Ottawa, only the sidewalks and major roads. So I've been geting by without boots (but I'm going to stop in at Wal-Mart to see about geting soem so we can expand our possible walking routes). I also trim the fur under his feet to help with the snowball issue.

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BMD Lover, I got a spray at my local pet store called Paw Pro. Currie gets big snow balls inbetween her pads and it drives her nuts so we are going to give this stuff a try. We are in the country with 2 acres fenced in and they love to play in the snow but she can't stay out long because of here feet and she would not keep boots on.

Here is a description of the product.

PawPro is an all natural "de-icer" for dogs. Spray it on your pets' paws and between the pads to protect against salt burn and ice balls. Spray it on your pets legs and underbelly and prevent snow from sticking and balling. Made from 3 natural ingredients including the best known water repellant known to man, Paw pro is non toxic, will absorb into pads and fur within an hour and enhanses the condition of paw pads and fur.It is safe for your dog to lick it off.
It washes off easily with soap and water and will not stain clothing or carpets.
Tested and developed for the snow and cold of a typical Canadian winter.
Available from leading pet retail stores in a handy 4 oz. spray/mister pump bottle.

All natural contents: a special formulation of Purcillin oil, Lanolin and Sunflower Oil

Answer:
Originally Posted by jawert1
Just like twodogsandacat, I have an English Pointer with muscle but little fat (my other dog is a German Shepherd/Chow mix) and Simon doesn't go out without his mini-horse blanket once it dips below 60F.

Great looking dog.

Mine is the same, all muscle no fat. He is also nearly bald on the underbelly.

Answer:
My GSP doesn't mind the bitter cold at all. Traditionally she's had no clothes or boots.

However, I bought a coat for this year because I figured I'd save the money back in one season from the reduced feeding. She doubles her food intake in the winter to keep herself warm and I still have trouble keeping her weight up.

I also got some boots to use when the snow is hard and icy. She runs so hard that her nail beds start to bleed from the stress of the claws getting caught in the snow. I'll put the boots on her if her paws get irritated.

Never had any bother with salt.

Answer:
She runs so hard that her nail beds start to bleed from the stress of the claws getting caught in the snow.
Oh, I forgot about that. Jemma's nails crack in the winter and they bleed sooo much that my back seat looks like a crime scene. I keep them short, but it doesn't help. Poor Jemma.

Answer:
Originally Posted by amber416
I was just wondering, do dogs need things like winter jackets and boots? I wasn't sure if people just get these things because it's cute to dress the dog up, or if it's really necessary.

Your instincts are right - golden retrievers do not need winter clothes. They have a double coat that keeps the cold out in the winter and the heat out in the summer. Their feet are designed to withstand cold weather and rough terrain. Boots would only be perhaps needed during winter in a highly urban area where there is only salted roads for the dog to walk on.

Apparel on goldens is purely a novelty for the owner!

Answer:
Originally Posted by Prin
Oh, I forgot about that. Jemma's nails crack in the winter and they bleed sooo much that my back seat looks like a crime scene. I keep them short, but it doesn't help. Poor Jemma.

Wow, I'd never heard this before...Your right, poor Jemma - that's awful.

I hope you never get pulled over for speeding or something !

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Oops, I forgot to add my 2 cents!

Personally I don't think that dogs need clothing; perhaps the only exception is tiny toy breeds or dogs that can't/don't move enough to keep warm (and probably the likes of Whippets or Ibizan hounds etc...)

Dodger needs a jacket for the car ride to and from the park but so long as he's moving he is fine - no matter how cold it is...

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I know someone who lost their pup in our ottawa winters. She was outside for only 20 min and died out there. It wasn't one of our coldest days.

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Originally Posted by Lissa
Wow, I'd never heard this before...Your right, poor Jemma - that's awful.

I hope you never get pulled over for speeding or something !

LOL I drove so carefully- I mean when the doggies are in the car, you can explain, but when you're all alone...

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As for doggie boots, are there better brands then others?

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Everybody here said Muttlucks are great, so I got them and they're like the cheap knock-offs but tweaked. They're constructed better and tougher.

I like the look of the Ruffwear ones but I've never tried them...

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