Does Your Dog Really Need A Sweater?

December 21, 2013
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If you find the above image in any way erotic, you should really go see a doctor…

Every year, in spite of the general misery of insulation, digging and wardrobe alterations, there’s always the comfort and joy of watching my neighbor dress her dogs up in downy and wooly regalia, which often includes wearing both coats and socks. There really is nothing more whimsically hilarious than watching a saucer-eyed jowly beagle, dressed up in a bonnet and coat like something Peggoty wore for David Copperfield, searching around for a place to avail itself of a good healthy piss without getting snow on its wee todger.

So the question I often get asked is: “Do I really need to invest in canine clothing for walks in the snow, or should I just buy used stuff for Christmas Day to show off to my Depression-obsessed relatives at dinner?”

Well, first consider what kind of dog do you own? Got an Alaskan Malamute that helps you load your shotgun a la Sarah Palin, or a sexy-eyed Siberian Husky? Well, nature did not give these breeds, nor their offshoots and mutations such a need because they have beautiful, if not luxurious coats. So… No coats for Northern breeds.

dogs in clothes
Woof woof y’all… dawgs in the hood!

There are, in general, just two kinds of pampered house doggies who will gain any kind of benefit from the insulation provided by a sweater, coat, and/or slippers, according to Toronto’s Globe & Mail.

Small dogs: Especially the kind that fit in your pocket or purse.

Elderly dogs: Especially the ones who are chronically ill, have early Alzheimer’s, or suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, asthma or bronchitis.

All these dogs have a difficult time generating and retaining enough body heat on their own. For these dogs, a helping hand offered by artificial covering to remain cozy, dry and warm has always to be a good thing.  Beyond dressing them up all snug to go outside and combat the elements, it won’t hurt to leave a sweater on these dogs inside if you’re cheap like me and committed to keeping the heat down to save energy and money.

Mrs. Mindikowski from three doors down is a Boadicea-type warrior committed to the latest fashions for the elderly and doggie couture. Her three wee Heinz 57s, John, Fitzgerald and Kennedy, wear made-to-measure jackets when they go out in the snow, along with her two delicate, thin-coated French bulldogs, Monique and Brigitte. Their Labrador/German Shepherd bodyguards, Hansi and Poldi, laugh at soft sissy-types who put on artificial clothing. In fact, they sneer and do just fine without sweaters or coats. Yes, indeed, they love the snow and don’t even seem to mind when they have to pirouette around a lamppost, their little sexual organs receiving a cold jolt or two before they can fully relieve themselves.

Joking aside, should you own have a dog with arthritis or any sort of rheumatoid or bone complaint, protective clothing is pretty much de rigeur. A simple bonus thing you can do to make your beloved one’s winters more bearable. Pet-safe heated orthopedic beds are also a fantastic notion and worth the investment. While you’re at it – and this is a lot less expensive – have a talk with your veterinarian about prescriptions for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), nutraceuticals, such as glucosamine and omega-3 oils that are clinically proven to ease all kinds of joint pain.

Last, but not least, are these little booties that even I can’t help but have a good cheerful giggle at sometimes. Some folks put rain slickers on their pets right through the year before taking a walk in the rain or snow because it saves them the trouble of cleaning the poor wet dog at the door before coming inside. This may sound like overkill, but dog boots do help keep things neat. Additionally, however, in places where de-icing solutions are used on the streets, like where I live in Chicago, they afford genuine protection for your pet from licking toxic chemicals off their often delicate paws once they’re back inside your house.

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