Dogs and Sweaters – Basic Needs

Big Dogs Clothing

If you’ve been reading my articles for a little while, then you probably know my stand on dogs and sweaters already, but in case this is the first time you’re reading from my site, I want to go into a few details about how I feel about dog sweaters and their basic needs.

First, I live in Alaska and up here, the weather gets extremely cold in the winter and even in the fall time when the air starts to turn crisp, the leaves start to brown, and the grass gets this crunch to it that screams winter is coming to us.

Fireweed FlowersThe Fireweed flowers up here have lost their blooms for the most part, and this means cold is coming. We can start to feel it in the mornings when we first wake up and step Termination Dustoutside to feel a crisp in the air that we all recognize. I’m also watching the mountains daily for the termination dust that will slowly crawl down the mountain and once it’s close to the bottom, that means snow is here.


With this – the cold. It gets very cold up here, and my dogs need protection.

Dogs That Need Sweaters.

Short haired dogs like mine are naked on their bellies, so they have nothing to protect that naked skin from the snow and the cold that comes. Within minutes of stepping outside, you can watch them start to shiver, and just touching their stomachs, you can feel the cold that already seeped into their skin.

My small dogs shiver as well because their body weight is so minimal that they can’t keep themselves warm. It’s necessary for them to be protected in the cold.

True story – Every year that I let my smallest Chihuahua out to use the bathroom and it’s less than 5 degrees outside, she starts to freeze up. I’m not going to lie, she takes a really long time to go number two (poor dog), so when it’s super cold out, her feet freeze up, and she drops to her side in the snow, feet sticking straight up into the air. This is when I have to go rescue her. Note – I never let my dogs outside by themselves when it’s super cold up here in the winter. It’s just too dangerous. Imagine if I wasn’t standing there to rescue her – too scary to think about, honestly.

Should Your Dog Wear a Sweater?

I was reading some great information today that I wanted to share with my readers, and it’s a very detailed guide on fitting your dog for a sweater. They also go into how some dogs won’t want to wear them – totally understandable. Just like with humans, we don’t always want to wear a gift someone buys us, especially if it’a holiday sweater that we’re not really big fans of. Think, Harry Potter!

Dogs are the same and all have personalities. We should respect that and know when enough is enough. My dog Harry hates clothing – I don’t force him into clothes. Does he get to leave the house when it’s negative 5 degrees outside, or colder – heck, it gets to negative 30 here! That’s right, -30 degrees F. Brrr. He stays home.

So, check out this article that I found – I just love it! Best Dog Sweater by Your Dog Advisor Staff.

Holidays are Coming.

With the cold up here, comes the holidays. I actually love the holiday season and everything that comes with it! Halloween, Thanksgiving and I especially love Christmas! The songs, the movies, the cozy sweaters, boots, the fact that I get to dress bulky and not in tanks and shorts! Eek!

I have a closet full of cozy sweaters that I love bringing out in the winter months. And yes, my dogs do too! Buttons in her little petticoats and Atlas in her sweaters and thick vest – my dogs are too cute. Both my females love the sweater season like I do, so when I pull their tote out that has all their clothing in it, they come running and sniffing at it to see what I’m putting on them today.

Dog costumes and holiday sweaters, they love them all. Not Harry; the females. Harry has costumes, I will admit, but those were bought by my oldest daughter that thought it was cute to put him in Superman costumes, Hulk costumes and even Strong Man costumes. She videoed him like crazy and the poor guy just looked dejected the entire time.

For some super cute Holiday sweaters, check out this article I wrote not long ago.  Too cute!

Coats and Other Necessities.

Sweaters aren’t the only clothing essentials dogs need in cold weather. They need coats as well depending on how cold it gets. When it’s -20 up here, especially in November, January and February, my dogs have to have super puffy, thick coats on. Booties are needed as well, since I just found out that dogs lose heat through their feet just like humans do. I did not know that until yesterday. I do know that their feet get frostbite easily, so I always have booties on hand.

Buttons Petticoat

When my dog Buttons throws her feet in the air, not only is her entire body now encased in snow, but her feet are frozen. It usually takes some TLC to get her warm again in very quick time. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I have to put her under my shirt (brr), and hold her toes with my hands to warm them back up. In the meantime, she’s shaking like a robotic toy jumping across your floor.

Final Thoughts on Sweaters & Coats.

As you can see, if you live in a cold climate like myself, dogs have to have protection. If your dog is a husky, maybe not, but my poor dogs that are naked on their stomach’s, short haired all over, and two of them are only 5 lbs (Buttons is actually only 2.5lbs), then they have got to have some extra layers.

If you’re new to the dog clothing world, as I mentioned above, check out this guide; I promise it will help. They do have some clothing options as well that you can choose from on their site, so that’ll help to know where to start. But going over how to measure, what to look for, and how to dress them will help even the newest dog owners so that you can be sure your dog is okay if you live in the Midwest, or up North.

Florida? You don’t count! Your weather is pretty much nice all the time, so you’ll need the dog cooling vests instead! I’ll be writing about those soon since I just discovered those! Nifty inventions!

Hope this helps my dog lovers out there. Stay protected, stay warm and enjoy the Holidays that are creeping up on us quickly.

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6 thoughts on “Dogs and Sweaters – Basic Needs

  1. Isn’t it funny that your female dogs love sweaters but not Harry, your male? It’s the same with my fur babies. My maltipoo, Lucy, loooooves her sweaters and jackets, and Greta does too, but Freckles is male, and he absolutely hates to wear sweaters or any other form of clothing. He just freezes and stands there, not moving an inch, so he doesn’t wear any dog clothing. Luckily it doesn’t get as cold as here as up in Alaska. -30 … oh my God! I can hardly imagine what that’s like …! My other male, Tommeeh (my Pit Bull), is ok with sweaters, he likes them.
    I live in a warmer climate, and winters here are cool but not like up north. Lucy, though, still needs her sweaters, since she is old and I like her to stay warm in the winter.
    I am looking forward to your post about dog cooling sweaters!

    1. Hi Christine,
      Male dogs can be odd, just like human males I imagine! I’ve only seen a handful of male dogs actually like clothing, but mine is not one of them. The winters here are just too cold to take him anywhere because of it, so he’s a home-body.
      My older dog before she passed at 14 needed blankets all the time. She was too old to dress in anything anymore, her bones were pretty bad and she could barely walk, so I just had special blankets for her that she cold dirty up. Poor girl. Glad she’s in doggie heaven though now.
      Thanks for reading! I’ll be doing the cooling vests this week!


  2. To be honest, my feelings are a bit mixed on clothing for dogs. I have seen so many dogs (and cats) dressed in clothes that might make their owners happy, but I doubt pets felt cosy in those.

    I mean, when it is a necessity and they benefit from wearing something that can warm them up, plus they seem to like it, or at least not hate it, I absolutely agree.

    I used to have a Chihuahua, many years ago and he needed clothing. I have a rescued Pit Bull-Stafford mix now. She is short haired and has a naked belly, as well. She is an indoor dog, travels in car, usually to the playground, where she runs all the time, and back. She has a partly roofed backyard at her disposal where she can spend as much, or as little time as she wants. There is a well isolated house outside, as well, should she decide to stay for a while. So, she does not need clothing, in my opinion. But, if the climate around here would be more like yours there, I would certainly get her protective clothing.

    1. Kerryanne,

      I agree with you completely. I would never dress up my dogs if they hated it – take Harry for example – he hates clothes, so I simply leave him home for most of the winter. If he has a vet appointment, he really has no choice and I put him in a hoodie regardless, whether he’s mad at me or not.
      I have to say, Alaska is a different place to live from the other states I’ve lived in. Up here, we have to have emergency blankets in our vehicles and I never leave home without warm jackets, even if we’re running around the block to the store.
      We’ve seen so many vehicles that hit ice (I’ve been one of them) and veer off the road into the trees. A few years back, we were driving down a major road with a long turn in it, and as we’re passing this curve, my husband and I thought we saw taillights off in the distance, but through the trees. We both tried to see more, but we couldn’t, so we turned around at the next light and went back. Sure enough, there was a car that had hit ice or something, and this car was at least 200 feet in the trees stuck. At first we didn’t see anyone, but we decided to put on our hazards to check it out. The snow was so deep that it went past our knees in trying to get to this car. When we approached it, we saw a man in the drivers seat and a woman in the passenger seat. We knocked on the window and the guy barely rolled the window down, looking terrified. I mean, my husband does look like a grizzly bear with a long gray beard, so I knocked on her window and she was more comfortable with me apparently. I asked if they were okay, and saw she was very pregnant. She said that they were on their way to their mom’s to get things ready for the baby (due in a week!) and they didn’t know what to do when their car went off the road. Blizzard like weather, her so pregnant, she could barely walk in the snow, so they sat there waiting to see if anyone would see them. They didn’t have cell service, since that part of the road is a dead part.
      My husband and her husband helped her to our truck to get warm, we drove just a few feet to cell service and waited for a tow truck for them.
      In Alaska, anything can happen at the drop of a hat, so I’m always cautious, even with my dogs. Trudging through 4 feet of snow isn’t exactly fun, and even my dogs need protection in case something happens. If I lived back in Hawaii, I’m sure I would feel differently, but up here, it’s almost always cold and my dogs unfortunately are naked since I can’t stand long fur. They shed enough with short fur, so long fur is out of the question.
      So, we just make sure they’re warm and taken care of. But I do know now everyone likes putting clothes on their dogs. I suppose it really just depends on where you live and the circumstances you’re in.
      Thanks for reading!


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