Every time the autumn arrives, I notice the temperature changes quite rapidly. Not for us the late summer in autumn that we have enjoyed in the past! This year we are straight down to business, with colder and damper weather leading us into wintertime.
Coats are on sale everywhere, and not just for humans. After the dressing up costumes of Hallowe’en, we now have the winter jumpers and Christmas gear, but also plenty of dog coats available.
‘They already have coats’ I hear you cry. Yes indeed, our dogs are covered in fur. If you compare a Pinscher or Weimaraner to a Border Collie, however, you can see that those coats vary hugely. A light covering of fur is not going to insulate your pooch as much as the heaviest of Golden Retriever fluffiness.
If you decide your dog might be feeling the cold, aim for a rain-protective and padded coat. Ensure that your dog can still move freely in it, as it can be a little overwhelming for them at first. Fleeces are available, with leg ‘sleeves’ that are brilliant for Greyhounds and others that simply do not have nature’s furry coating.
It is only fair that a very young dog gets additional help in keeping warm especially on damp, rainy days. A puppy’s coat is naturally lighter and fluffier, even if their future fur is going to be thick and warm.
In addition we all know that getting older brings aches and pains in colder weather, so your elderly dog, who may have survived happily through all the preceding years, might start to appreciate another layer.
Dog coats can be bought on a budget, or can be very costly. My advice is to start with a slightly less pricey, or second-hand coat or jumper. They are not great quality but I would not want you to spend a lot of money if your dog dislikes it. Once you have spent time accustoming your dog to the new sensation, they will appreciate it, and you can then purchase something a little more high quality, perhaps.
Waterproof coats can be treated fabric rather than noisy, sweaty, crinkly plastic versions, so shop around!
You may currently be complaining as many dogs appear to moult at this time of year, possibly due to the central heating coming on. Nonetheless, keeping their coat in good condition means that whatever fur they do have will help protect them from the cold. Judging by the amount of coat my little dog Pickles is currently shedding, I could probably knit us both a new one.