Does a Dog Need a Warm Coat?

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By Stacey Becker, Contributing Writer

Fotolia_47460863_XSWhen my friend from Chicago came to visit New York City and saw me put a coat on my 13 lb Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy, Wally, she did a double take.

“Are you really one of those people who dresses up her dog?” she remarked.

I tried explaining to her that I never used to believe that dogs needed clothing.  That when we took Wally out for walks in the winter, I thought he was completely fine.  But soon every person we passed found it necessary to advise me that my dog was freezing to death.

“He already has a coat,” I’d say. “He’s a dog.  He has fur.”

One guy stopped me at 6 AM, before work, telling me that at 40 degrees or below, small dogs needed to have a coat.  He started naming all of the dog apparel stores in the neighborhood.  I had barely opened my eyes yet and this guy wanted me to play dress up with my dog? The colder it got, the angrier people would become when passing along their coat advice.  Wally didn’t seem bothered, so why should we?

A couple of friends gave us sweaters which we’d try out for a couple of hours, but Wally would usually shake the clothing off or look at us with his, “What the heck are you people dressing me in?” look.

Then one day, we went to a dog event in Central Park.  It was about 35 degrees and windy.  Wally kept jumping up on my leg like he wanted me to pick him up.  I did, and realized he was shivering.  For the rest of the dog event, we zipped Wally into my husband’s fleece coat.   We must have been told at least 20 times on our way out of the park that our dog needed a warm coat.

Finally, feeling like abusive parents, we agreed to give the coat thing a try.

A neighbor gave Wally a hand me down coat. We tried it for Wally, but it was too big.  We ordered a coat online but it never fit quite right.  He outgrew the coat my parents bought for him.  The fourth coat we tried just didn’t seem sufficiently warm enough.  After doing some research, we went to Canine Styles, and ended up spending more on Wally’s coat that I have on any winter coat of mine.  (We also bought dog shampoo there (La Pooch brand) which we later realized was for “female puppies” – who knew shampoo had a sex?).

Wally doesn’t shiver anymore and people have stopped giving us dirty looks when we walk down the street. I still think it’s kind of odd that my dog has a wardrobe, but at least for now, we are no longer the shunned outcasts of the neighborhood

Does a Dog Need a Warm Coat?, 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 ratings

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