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 hot?
There’s nothing like the unconditional love of a pet.
Almost 60% of homes in America have at least one pet, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. About half of those owners say they consider their pet a member of the family.
Having a critter companion can be good for your health, too. Studies have shown being around an animal can ease depression, lower blood pressure and stress, and keep you active. Heart attack patients who have a dog can live longer than those who don’t.
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.