Keys to keeping your pet warm in the cold

Thursday, February 19, 2015
VIDEO: Keeping your pet warm in the cold
New Jersey correspondent Nora Muchanic talked to an expert today to find out tips on keeping your pet warm in the cold.

HAMILTON TWP., N.J. (WPVI) -- Dogs needs protection in the winter, just like people do. But how far do you have to go when it comes to protecting your pets from the cold?

When it's really cold and she's out for a quick run in the yard, Rosie the poodle-cocker spaniel mix always has her purple sweater on.

Her owner, Amanda Monroe, tells us, "We feel like she's pretty cold and she's old. She's about 10. So we want her to stay warm cause her fur's not that thick enough for her."

Louise Fleig of Bayville was out walking one of her dogs when we caught up with her. She says, "For him, no coat. But we do have a Yorky and she wears a coat. She's about seven pounds."

Some owners are fashion conscious. But Taylor Stepnosky, the owner of Gatsby, a Chihuahua-greyhound mix, says it's all about keeping her little pet protected.

"It's too cold for him," she explains. "He's very little, doesn't have much hair so I think it's important to keep him in a nice warm jacket."

So what do veterinarians say about coats and sweaters in this cold?

Dr. Matthew Gutman from Northstar Vets in Robbinsville explains, "Most dogs have a coat that would be fine out in the cold for a certain period of time. Certain populations that definitely need it - I think that puppies and our geriatric pets are certainly in that realm."

Dr. Gutman says the coats should not be restrictive and don't cover your dog's hindquarters at all. You can figure out why.

Another thing to watch for is snow accumulating between your dog's toes. You can trim the hair to avoid that

"Others even recommend booties, and that's if your pet will stand it. Many will just kick them off," Dr. Gutman said.

On our visit to Northstar Vets we ran into River, the German shepherd who was found emaciated and frozen to the ground last month. He was there for a checkup and is making good progress.

His owner, Dina Alborano, tells us, "I think he's on the right track. He looks great and he started barking again last night, so I think he's going to be great."

River, by the way, was wearing a coat.

It's uncommon, but dogs can get frostbite so limit how much time your pet spends out in the cold.