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Does my cold dog want/need clothing?

991 Views 8 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Deacon.dog
Hello! I have a 10-year old Jack Russell who isn’t as young and spry as he once was. He isn’t very interested in food and has a lot of food allergies which means that he is quite skinny and doesn’t have much body fat. Recently I’ve noticed that he (especially his paws and nose) feels very cold even when he’s indoors on the couch. Our apartment can get quite chilly and so I’ve been thinking that maybe he would enjoy like a thin sweater or something to keep him warm? Is this something worth getting for him or am I overreacting? Does the cold actually bother him?
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I agree, it's very dog dependent. I do know a dog who will literally bring their fleecy dog jammies to their owner to be put on, but I think most dogs are more like my small poodle, who isn't crazy enthusiastic about his jackets but will stand to let us put it on and is clearly able to stay outside longer in wet/cold weather and enjoy himself more with it on. If he had a better, more typical poodle coat we probably wouldn't bother, but his fur is very limp and soft and gets soaked from rain or snow super quickly, so between that and his small size (16" at the shoulder) we happily compensate with rain or cold weather gear designed for dogs.

But there are going to be some dogs more like my young Lagotto, who took a lot of work to even be willing to accept a lightweight harness, even though we introduced him to them positively at 8 weeks old. While we do occasionally have him wear reflective vests in high-risk areas (esp during hunting season), he's just not a dog who copes well with the way jackets or clothing feels around his torso. Thankfully he's got a much nicer, thicker coat and doesn't get cold easily at all, so it's less of an issue, but that's just luck.

So I'd definitely try out an inexpensive sweater - just as long as it's designed for dogs. I know this sounds silly, but there are some people who put their dogs in doll or children's clothes and these tend to be much more uncomfortable for dogs, since they're not cut to allow their legs to move naturally. Watch how your Jack does and let his body language tell you if he's more comfortable with an extra layer or if maybe something like providing fleece blankets or a self-warming dog bed would be more his idea of comfort.
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