Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Eco-friendly Dog Sweaters

Cold weather means time to think about an eco-friendly dog sweater for your furry friend. Even with fur, only a handful of breeds can really keep warm on their own in winter weather. Siberian Huskies, Saint Bernards, and Alaskan Malamutes are all breeds who can handle being outdoors in sub-zero temperatures, but even for these breeds, proper shelter and warmth is still necessary. If you have a dog that spends a lot of time outdoors, you want their coat to thicken as the cold approaches, but once that happens and temperatures continue to stay at the freezing point, you may want to consider getting an eco-friendly sweater and other winter gear for your dog.

When looking for a sweater for your dog, one fabric that is warm and very eco-friendly is alpaca fur. Eco-conscious dog owners should look to re-purpose human alpaca sweaters into dog sweaters or knit or buy handmade alpaca dog sweaters. Although the sweater may seem a bit pricey to start, keep in mind that alpaca fur dog sweaters, if cared for properly, may last your dog's entire lifetime.

As a dog owner currently living in Pennsylvania, I have seen first hand how the sub-zero winter temperatures, even for a day, can affect dogs. We have five acres, and my Collie/Lab mix loves to just run around outside, for several hours a day. Usually, I have to tempt him with treats to come back inside. However, when the temperatures dipped below freezing this past week, he was out and back in without any hesitation  A dog sweater allows him a little more time outside, but I still have to worry about frostbite on his paw pads. So in my opinion, the alpaca fur will keep your dog warm on walks or during other outdoor activities, but dogs still need time indoors or in proper shelter to warm up. A dog sweater should not lead to thinking your dog can spend hours outside since it does not protect his entire body. 

For more winter tips to keep your dog safe and healthy check out my winter tip and paw protection post.  Also, remember to feed your dog a little more over the winter months to help build up fat reserves and bathe them less and brush them more to keep their coat healthy. By following these tips your dog will be better prepared to handle the natural environment and its changing temperatures.

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