Does my Dog Need a Winter Sweater?

Welcome to winter in southeast Michigan, where one day you think you’re celebrating the arrival of spring and the next you’re battening down the hatches, building a fire, and turning up the heat because with windchill you’re in the single digits.

Yep. We’ve been there, and we know our pet owners in southeast Michigan have too. At Wags to Wiskers Pet Supplies in Ann Arbor and Chelsea, we’ve stocked up on dog sweaters to combat these chilly months and make sure your canine companions aren’t compromised by the cold. Our Ethical Sweaters will be 25% off in both locations for the entire month!

But does your dog need a winter sweater?

Wags to Wiskers does my dog need a sweater?

This is a question we get asked a lot, so we’ve put together a guide to help you figure it out. Winter life is tough for all living beings, including dogs. You might think that just because they’re covered in soft fur that they’ll be fine, or that because they’re big and shaggy they don’t need the extra comfort. Here are some beginning questions to get you going:

  • How does my dog look in the winter?

    • Are they excited, happy, going wild in the snow? Or are they less energetic, shivering, timid? While their mental state is not a 100% indication for how they’re feeling (even happy dogs can be cold), it’s a good indicator to begin with.

  • Does my dog’s breed look like a winter dog?

    • Thinner, shorter coats will do less to protect against wind and snow than thick, fluffy, long coats of fur. This is no different from the kinds of clothing you would wear to protect yourself from the cold! If you wear just a sweatshirt into a snowstorm, even with the extra layer it might not be enough.

  • Where is my dog from?

    • Some dogs may be meant to live in warmer or colder climates. Some dogs that have been rescued from warmer climates may not be used to winter at all. These things are worth thinking about when you’re trying to decide if your dog needs a winter sweater.

  • Is my dog’s age playing a factor?

    • Maybe your puppy didn’t need the extra warmth because he spent all of winter going ballistic in the back yard. But now that he’s getting a bit older, they could use that extra protection as their bodies adjust - they’re getting a little weaker, they have less energy, and they have to work harder for their body to do less. Similarly, dogs with medical conditions (recent or long-term) may have different reactions to the cold than they did before.

So, if you’ve decided that you’re going to pull the trigger on a sweater…

We can help you with that at Wags to Wiskers Pet Supplies! Bring your dog in to our Ann Arbor or Chelsea store and we can help you find the perfect fit. We’ll be looking to find a sweater that ticks a few major boxes:

  • It adequately covers the neck, belly, and also allows for neck-to-tail protection.

  • It appropriately suits your dog, meaning that a dog with thicker fur only needs a little warmth, whereas a dog with thinner fur may need a thicker sweater for more warmth!

  • It fits well. Consider long underwear, underarmor, leggings, or even thin gloves. While these are particularly thick layers of clothing, they have a HUGE impact on how you feel, or don’t feel, the cold because they fit you snugly and don’t allow for cold air to get between your skin and the clothing. The same principle applies with a dog sweater - we want one that’s cozy, not baggy, snug, but not tight.

  • It’s cute! This is important, but probably the last thing to consider.

We’ll do our best to make sure that the sweater we get your dog in does what it’s meant to: keeps them warmer and fights the cold. It’s a good thing that most dogs in sweaters are naturally adorable, so we don’t have to think too hard about whether the sweater is cute or not!

The most important thing to consider before deciding if your dog needs a winter sweater is that your dog knows if it’s cold or not. While your dog can’t communicate this to you, you can still look for signs and listen to your dog! If your dog is uncomfortable while out in the snow or if they’re hesitant to go outside on colder days, they could definitely use some extra warmth.

We hope you’ll stop by your local Wags to Wiskers Pet Supplies Ann Arbor (2425 W. Stadium Blvd, Ann Arbor, MI, 48103) or Wags to Wiskers Pet Supplies Chelsea (1192 S. Main St, Chelsea, MI, 48118) to chat with an associate about our sweaters and even try one on with your furiend!

Remember, ALL of our Ethical Sweaters are 25% off for the whole month of December, so these make a great holiday gift to your dog or other pups and doggos in your life! We also accept returns in case something goes wrong or your dog doesn’t like it, so there’s really no reason not to try if your dog struggles through these winter months. Hope to see you and your lucky guy or gal in here soon!