It’s holiday time, and if you’re a pet owner, you probably want to get
something special for your furry friend. With gifts ranging from coats to CDs
to special beds, there is no shortage of options to make your pet happy. But
how do you know what type of gifts are beneficial to your pet’s health? WebMD’s
pet experts, Katherine Snyder, DVM, ACVIM and Mark Stickney, DVM, will help you
decide by giving you insight into what pets really need to keep them healthy
and happy. Then we’ll list a few products available in that category. Remember
that in most cases there are many products available; follow our vets’ guidance
to help you find the right one for you and your pet.
1. Question: Do dogs really need coats and blankets in the winter to keep
them warm, particularly those tiny little short-haired dogs? Can a dog get too
Bob, a Maine Coon mix, was never fond of the ride to the veterinarian. While the cat would purr placidly through the vet's exam, he pitched a fit and cried during the trip there.
"Riding in a car stressed him out terribly," says owner Sandy Volkman of Lakeville, Minn.
When Bob went into kidney failure at age 18, Volkman couldn't fathom driving him to be put down through her tears and his cries. Her veterinarian recommended Minnesota Pets, a Twin Cities-based mobile euthanasia service.
Dr. Snyder says: The answer to both questions is yes! Dogs are just like
people in the fact that they can get too cold and too hot. How much care you
need to provide for the winter really depends on several factors. If your dog
spends only a little time outside, you may not need to provide any extra
support to keep him warm. But if your dog spends lots of time outside, will be
out when it rains or snows, or is a strictly outdoor dog, providing some type
of external warmth is very important.
Another question to consider is how thick is my dog’s hair coat. A Siberian
Husky may do just fine outside during winter months, but a little Chihuahua is
unlikely to fare well unless we provide extra help. The third thing to consider
is what type of environment you live in. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean
your area of the country is going to become cold enough to require coats or
blankets for your dogs. Keep the outside temperature in mind when deciding how
much your dog needs extra warming.