The past two days have been surprisingly chilly for the end of August, and I have been donning sweaters to work. I’m sure the weather will return to sweltering hot in a matter of days, but for now, it is enjoyable to know that fall, one of my favorite seasons, is just around the corner!
I want to buy a few new articles of clothing for myself to get the autumn season rolling, but a few of my friends who enjoy putting clothes on their pups are busy selecting their dog’s back-to-doggie-daycare wardrobes! I’m not a fan of pet clothes (for the most part), but to each his own, and if you enjoy dressing your pet, and more importantly your dog enjoys wearing the clothes, I’m not going to judge you or stop you. Unfortunately, I often see people in line to checkout at pet supply stores with armloads of dog sweaters and jackets to keep their pets warm in the fall and winter, and to me, these products seem to be designed for style and not functionality.
While I don’t put cable knit sweaters on my dogs, I do use dog blankets as needed. I absolutely adore dog blankets for keeping dogs warm in cold weather. Dog blankets are based on horse blankets and many companies that manufacture top of the line horse blankets simply miniaturize their horse designs to fit your pets. This ensures quality – these blankets are made to withstand the roughness of a horse, and stay on as a horse gallops across fields. The materials in dog blankets are very durable, and the blankets can simply be tossed in the wash if they get dirty. In my opinion, dog blankets are usually made of much higher quality materials than dog jackets or sweaters, and are made to withstand a dog really playing and moving in it. The prices vary, but they are designed to withstand a lifetime of use (chewers excluded), and tend to be the same price or less than a doggie jacket you’d find at a pet store. Adjustable straps with either Velcro or buckle surcingles provide your pet with the best fit, and are just one of the few advantages to using a blanket over a jacket in the winter.
It is important to note many breeds do not need extra warmth, and too many layers can lead to overheating. If you have a breed that is known for having a heavy winter coat and enjoying cold weather these products are probably not for you, but for those with short-haired dogs that are prone to shivering might like to look into a dog blanket as an alternative to the sweaters and jackets pet stores tend to push on you. Dog blankets are also great for older, less active dogs needing extra protection from the cold. Dover Saddlery offers a large selection of dog blankets in a variety of prices. Horse Creations also has a big selection. SmartPak.com offers a great polar fleece option for less than $20 that my old Beagle wore.
If fall and winter seem like a lifetime away for my readers in hot locations, and you are still worried about options available for keeping your pet cool in the summer you might be interested in trying a cool coat. Canine Cool Coats are made from the same Oasis fabric used in equine fly sheets, and protect your dog from the sun! The mesh material offers durability while at the same time being soft, breathable, and coat friendly. The fabrics tend to be extremely reflective offering your dog UV-protection (blocking both UVA and UVB radiation) so it will help keep your dog cool even when the coat is dry. You can order cool coats at SmartPak.com.
For additional cooling, you can submerge a cool coat in cool/cold water prior to use. If the coat dries out you can simply mist it with a spray bottle of water. If needed, a fan blowing over the coat increases the cooling power of an Oasis Cool Coat dramatically. But, always keep an eye on your dog when doing this, as he could actually become too cool.
You’ll often see these on dogs at dog shows. They feature snap front closures and hook and loop belly bands for optimum fit and comfort. While there are many brands available, my favorite is the Oasis Canine Cool Coat as the fabric does not get too heavy, especially when wet, and allows for maximum breathability.
Want to add a personalized flair to your dog blankets or cool coat? You can have them monogrammed or embroidered on the hip with your initials, your pet’s name, or your kennel name!