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When do you coat your dogs?


ejano
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It was a brisk 15 degrees when we went to the farm this morning. None of my dogs have a heavy coat - they are house dogs. Ladybug is 12 and really doesn't like the cold anymore. Lacking anything else, I slipped on old wool sweater over her head while she waited briefly in the car for her turn at a run. (I can't say she was pleased with it. By the time I returned, she had it off.) I also worry about Brodie -- light coat, no fat. And Robin, a heavier dog with the heaviest coat, gets heated pretty quickly even in the cold.

 

Three different dogs; three different needs. How would you coat them for the cold weather when you would expect them to work up a bit of a sweat either running or working the sheep, then have to wait for me while I finish the barn chores - say 15 minutes to a half hour.

 

Liz

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First off, dogs don't work up a sweat, so they are not prone to the same kind of chilling that a person (or horse, etc.) would be subject to when damp with perspiration and then idle in or exposed to the cold. But you knew that!

 

None of my dogs have heavy coats. All are young or in their prime and active. They spend chore time outside in all kinds of weather and never seem to suffer any ill effects. Two winters ago, with all that snow and with chores sometimes taking several hours (and it being cold and/or windy), sometimes I could see some shivering, especially in Dan whose coat have virtually no undercoat and who is quite lean. Moderate shivering doesn't concern me - it's the body's way of producing extra heat.

 

I wouldn't do anything about Robin, as he seems well-equiped to deal with the cold. I doubt I'd do anything about Brodie except make sure he had an out-of-the-wind (sheltered) place to wait for you. And I might consider a fun coat for Ladybug if the cold seems to bother her - and put it on as soon as she's done being active and ready to wait for you. In general, if they can be out of the wind/rain/snow and on something like hay or straw, I think they will be fine for the short time you are busy (15-30 minutes).

 

I'm sure others will have better advice and more experience to offer.

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I've never put a coat on a Border Collie, but I think that if I had an older one, who was lacking the proper insulation of fat & hair I might if they were doing anything other than going out for bathroom purposes. I've had several older dogs though and haven't done it yet. They're all house dogs too.

 

The Bostons Lily & Izzy appreciate a coat if it's less than 30 degrees and they're out for more than 20 minutes. Katie is a pig and could probably go without one completely. :D

Laura

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The only dogs that wear coats/blankets at my house are the oldsters and the one small, slick-coated bitch (no undercoat to speak of). <--She is the only one I have ever seen actively shivering. The older dogs get blankets because they get to a point where they seem to not be able to regulate their temperatures as well. But generally mine go nekkid....

 

J.

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Granted, we live in North Carolina.

 

But Fergie, who was smooth coated, loved the winter. The colder the better. During our awful ice storm, when we without power - which means without heat other than a wood fire in the fireplace, she was in her glory. We had to con her up on the fold-out couch in front of the fire to keep US warm at night.

 

It was midsummer that she disliked. Hot and humid really bothered her.

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I coat my dogs if we have heavy wet snow (they get snowballs in their fur). It's a rarity here at the beach. I will also coat them if we're going to be out in a cold rain for a while. That's more for my convenience though. I'm very careful putting a coat on Tex if he's not on leash. He jumped off the boat dock once with it on and I nearly had to go in after him because of the unexpected added weight.

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I also have never put a coat on one of my Border Collies, I am thinking of it with my youngster, he is skinny and has no undercoat. We train agility in a horse barn that is rather cold in winter, and I was thinking about putting a coat on him between runs when he he goes back in his crate, just to help keep his muscles warm. Would this be of help? There are nights I have had a very hard time running as my muscles have cramped from the cold.

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I never did when mine were younger but now they are 9 and 11 and get obviously cold and love their coats, Misty is a smooth coat, and I put her coat on around -20*C and Happy if its -25*C or colder, Electra(Toller) wears her coat around -20*C..I dont think she really needs a coat, shes young and fury, but she is a big baby if I dont put one on her lol

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First off, dogs don't work up a sweat, so they are not prone to the same kind of chilling that a person (or horse, etc.) would be subject to when damp with perspiration and then idle in or exposed to the cold. But you knew that!

 

 

Thanks, Sue :) Just an expression..."hot" might have been more accurate. Mine really don't grow a winter coat...we joke that they shed in the winter because of our warm house and grow coat in the summer because of the air conditioning. (I think we need to spend more time outside!)

 

I'm mainly concerned about them getting very warm racing about then putting them in a cold car while I'm finishing up, especially Ladybug. It seems a good idea to get her a coat as she is getting to be an old Ladybug. If she'll wear one - she was not amused with the sweater!

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I put coats on all of mine when I don't feel like toweling off 6 full bodies of wet dog. It has nothing to do with hot or cold, just pure laziness. If they are wearing coats, only their feet and legs needing toweling off :)

 

Coats around here range from sparsely Spring to Woolly Mammoth TWooie and none of them seem to require outdoor clothing in the cold.

 

RDM

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My dogs seem to think the colder the better - 5 degrees outside and they want to stay out for hours!But Kenzi wore a coat last winter when it got below about 20 degrees but she had sparse under coat, no body fat, and was about 10% underweight. This year she still has little to no body fat but her weight is better so I probably won't put it on her unless it gets down into the single digits.

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Honestly, I don't coat my dogs. All ours live in the house, but unless they get wet while working on a cold day, they do just fine waiting in my truck. I've never found any of them cold or shivering, so long as I keep them dry.

 

I just make sure they have a good quilt or bedding in the truck to curl up on, while I work the others. (And by in the truck, I mean inside the camper shell.) Now, when it comes to my 13 year old, I'll just leave him home in the house, if the day is very cold. But the younger dogs seem to handle the cold just fine, so long as they have a sheltered place to snuggle. Since they don't actually sweat, they actually seem to retain the warmth of a good workout to their benefit.

 

~ Gloria

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The only ones of my dogs I coat are the non-border collies. The papillon, Zippy, is coated occasionally, and Ginger (mutt) is coated when she's shaved.

 

Occasionally I will throw a coat on a dog that has an injury, just to keep the muscles warmer (assuming it's cold out). When Nick was younger and had less body fat I had issues keeping him warm, but now he does fine.

 

My dogs are house dogs too, and if they're going to be crated in the van (for an extended period of time with no sun out) when it's cold I just give extra bedding, cover tops of crates, and make sure everyone is dry. I think that's the big part - making sure they're dry. But for 30 minutes I wouldn't worry too much.

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Mine have never worn a coat. Even the old girls don't seem to need one.

In CO when we had 4 feet of snow on the ground for the whole winter and it got below -10F the young dogs got booties on. I think it was the cold not the snow bothering their feet. But once it was over 0 they didn't need them.

Never even thought of a coat but probably cause my old girls have more coat than when they were younger. The don't like to stay outside if it's wet but if it's just cold I'll find Jazz (the 15 yr old) laying out in the sunshine enjoying the day.

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If the dog is sitting outdoors for long periods (say at a trial or clinic) and not moving and it is very cold I will put a coat on my smooth coats that live primarily in the house. I think it helps keep their muscles from getting a bit stiff sitting there when they lack the proper undercoat (from being house dogs)for sitting in cold weather. Also if in a crate in the back of the truck I use crate jackets in the winter, and if not enough crate jackets will put a coat on the dogs. Crate jackets are very expensive but really nice.

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Mine have never worn a coat. Even the old girls don't seem to need one.

In CO when we had 4 feet of snow on the ground for the whole winter and it got below -10F the young dogs got booties on. I think it was the cold not the snow bothering their feet. But once it was over 0 they didn't need them.

Never even thought of a coat but probably cause my old girls have more coat than when they were younger. The don't like to stay outside if it's wet but if it's just cold I'll find Jazz (the 15 yr old) laying out in the sunshine enjoying the day.

 

Brodie, my skinniest boy, does this as well. I have to wonder if it is his metabolism that is keeping him warm or the black areas of his coat soaking up the sunshine. He sure doesn't have much else!

 

(He was really good with the sheep yesterday, BTW. He figured out the fence problem -- my pasture is divided and there's an opening on both ends of the dividing fence. What do I do? Does she want me to do this? Sure she does! All RIGHT! He's a good boy. I'm pleased to see that he and Robin are learning pace, understanding that they don't have to be right behind the sheep's heels to move them - and nothing done at a gallop is done well. )

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