It is no secret that a dog in a sweater is one of the most adorable ways to dress your pooch up. Especially during the winter months, putting a sweater on your dog can be a great way to keep them warm while also making a fashion statement. However, how do you know when it is safe to put a sweater on your dog. And what is more, can dogs sleep in sweaters?
Typically, it might not be a great idea to let your dog sleep in a sweater. Though sweaters can keep small or short-haired dogs warm in cold weather, keeping a sweater on too long can cause discomfort or overheating. It is best to find other ways to keep your dog warm as they sleep.
Read on to learn the specifics of whether or not dogs can sleep in sweaters, as well as other tips on dressing your dog and other ways to keep them warm. You want to make sure that your dog is taken care of in cold weather, so find out how in this article.
Can Dogs Sleep in Sweaters?
As stated above, most of the time, you should not let your dog sleep in a sweater. Different circumstances will be discussed in detail later in the article, but if you are hesitant about taking a sweater off of your dog at night, it is best to take the safe route and find another way to keep them warm.
In most cases, dogs will not need to sleep in a sweater because their fur and skin are thick enough to keep them warm for long periods. Sometimes, however, circumstances might require some type of warmth while your dog sleeps. Below is a list of general things to keep in mind when deciding if your dog should sleep in a sweater.
|Should Not Sleep in A Sweater||Can Probably Sleep in A Sweater|
|Big dogs with thick fur and/or skin||Dogs in freezing temperatures|
|Dogs in mild climates||Small dogs with short fur or thin skin|
|Puppies or other dogs that might sleep for extended periods||Dogs who might just be taking a short nap|
For all of the examples above for a dog that might be able to sleep in a sweater, there are still some things to keep in mind. For instance, the sweater cannot be too snug; this can cause a lot of discomfort and overheating. Varying circumstances will require different approaches to keeping your dog warm at night. Continue reading to learn more about the factors that play into whether or not a dog should sleep in a sweater.
Sleeping Outside Vs. Sleeping Inside
One of the easiest ways to decide if your dog should wear a sweater while they sleep depends on the actual location of where they sleep. If your dog sleeps inside – which is most likely an environment with a controlled temperature – it will rarely ever need to wear a sweater at all. As long as your dog is not exposed to the possible extreme temperatures outside, there is no reason to put a sweater on them.
On the other hand, dogs that sleep outside might need a little extra warmth during the cold months. Still, as most outside dogs are probably bigger dogs who can handle some of the trying times of nature, a sweater is not always necessary.
Larger dogs that sleep outside but in an enclosed space with other forms of warmth will typically not need a sweater to sleep. Actually, it will likely cause more harm than good. If you have a large dog with a good coat of fur, it will not need a sweater to sleep in.
If, for some reason, you have a small dog that sleeps outside, you might consider giving it a loose-fitting sweater or some other source of warmth during a chilly night. Bigger dogs with very short fur might also need some additional warmth.
A basic rule you should follow is if your dog sleeps inside, they do not need a sweater; that will just risk making your dog uncomfortable or overheated. If your dog is outside, it still may not need a sweater unless it happens to be smaller or have shorter hair than most outside dogs. If it is frigid outside, you should consider at least some type of additional warmth – even if it happens not to be a sweater.
Do Some Dogs Need to Wear Sweaters While They Sleep?
Now, to get into specifics: does your dog really need to wear a sweater while it sleeps? Everyone knows that it can make a cute dog even cuter, but is it safe? Dogs descend from wolves, who spend their entire lives roaming the outdoors. So, are dogs any different from wolves?
The short answer is yes; dogs are very different from wolves. Most obviously, dogs are generally tame creatures, while their wolf ancestors can survive much more difficult times. Thus, even a large dog might need some help every now and then. While dogs can better retain heat than humans, they still might need some additional source of heat to stay comfortable and safe while they sleep.
Some dogs do need sweaters when it is cold. However, it is usually simple to decide if your dog needs one. Unless you live in a place with extremely low temperatures, your dog is not going to need a sweater for extended periods, especially if they sleep inside. The warmth from the heating unit of your home will do just fine in keeping your dog safe and comfortable.
If your dog does sleep outside – even if it is in a covered shelter with blankets – it still might need additional warmth during cold temperatures. Unless it is shivering violently, it can be difficult to tell if your dog is uncomfortable from the cold air. If temperatures are below freezing, you should definitely consider making sure your dog is warm enough at night. However, with mid to medium-low temperatures, the decision is not always as simple.
Which Dogs Need Sweaters to Sleep?
It has already been discussed that dogs who sleep inside do not need sweaters when it is cold. If your home can keep you warm, there is no question of its ability to keep your dog warm. Dogs have much more hair than us, which does an excellent job of keeping them insulated to prevent their bodies from cooling too much.
Unless you encounter a problem with your heating unit during cold weather, a dog that sleeps inside does not need a sweater. It will only cause your dog to sleep with discomfort, and it will likely become overheated throughout the night. So, yes, inside dogs can sleep in sweaters, but they do not need to. In fact, they probably should not.
The most relevant instance in which your dog might need a sweater to sleep is if it is a small dog or a dog with very short fur that sleeps outside in severely cold temperatures.
Also, older dogs might need some extra warmth if they sleep outside. They are less likely to retain heat as sufficiently as they age, so giving them a sweater is probably not harmful, even if they are large dogs. Both their skin and fur can thin with age, so they must be protected from the cold air as best as possible.
Choosing the Right Sweater
If you have a small dog or any dog with very short hair that sleeps outside when it is cold, you will also want to make sure that you get them the correct size sweater to sleep in. A sweater that fits too tightly, even in severely cold temperatures, is only going to make your dog overheat. If they become too hot, it is no better than being too cold.
On the other hand, an oversize sweater will not warm your dog sufficiently as they sleep outside. For the safest results, get a sweater that fits your dog reasonably snugly, but with enough wiggle room for you to fit your own hands between. As long as there is about an inch or so of space when you separate the sweater from your dog, you should be okay.
When Can A Dog Wear A Sweater?
In general, any type of dog can wear a sweater – at least temporarily – when temperatures drop severely. Particularly if the dog breed is not accustomed to cold weather, wearing a sweater can be beneficial if you take your dog on a short walk or let it out to use the bathroom.
Since this article focuses on dogs while they are sleeping, the topic of all the times a dog can wear a sweater will not be deeply discussed. However, almost all dogs are okay to wear a sweater for a short time. However, keep in mind that larger dogs or dogs with thick fur or skin may not need a sweater, and putting one on them might just cause discomfort, particularly during exercising or playing.
Even short naps outside will not likely require too much warmth for a dog. If outdoor conditions pose a threat to your own comfort, you should try to see if you can notice signs of discomfort from your dog.
How Long Can A Dog Wear A Sweater?
This is another central aspect to consider when deciding if your dog should sleep in a sweater. How long will your dog be sleeping? Yes, body temperatures slightly drop when dogs are asleep, but not enough for them to have to wear a sweater. Sometimes, if a dog wears a sweater for too long, it can become overheated or get rashes from the sweater’s fabric rubbing against it.
If a dog is asleep, it has no way of cooling itself off if it needs to in the case of becoming overheated in a sweater. Overheating does not always cause significant discomfort, so your dog might stay asleep as its body keeps too much warmth inside. As a result, your dog can become:
- Face other health risks related to fatigue
Unless you have a small dog that sleeps outside during cold temperatures, it is not necessary – and is often unsafe – to leave a sweater on your dog overnight. Especially if your dog sleeps inside, you should not keep a sweater on them for more than an hour or two.
However, if you have a larger dog sleeping outside on a chilly night, it is usually okay to keep a sweater on them for four or five hours to build up a good amount of body warmth. After that, if you supply them with extra blankets or other sources of warmth, they should be good for the remainder of their slumber.
Again, smaller dogs that sleep outside, as long as the sweater is loose-fitting, can sleep the duration of the night in a sweater. Additionally, large dogs with very short, thin fur, such as a greyhound, can also sleep in sweaters throughout the entire night.
Other Ways to Keep Your Dog Warm While They Sleep
If you decide that your dog should not wear a sweater while it sleeps, there are several other ways to keep them warm. Regardless of whether your dog sleeps inside or outside, these sources of warmth can do an exceptional job of helping your dog retain its body heat.
Providing your dog with a comfortable dog bed lined with a soft fabric can help them stay warm. Again, this might not be necessary if your dog sleeps inside, although small dogs sometimes need extra warmth in all circumstances.
In an outdoor environment, a warm dog bed can help immensely. If your dog is curled up in a bed, almost its entire body can reap the benefits of a soft, warm fabric. Dog beds can be great, especially for dogs that sleep outside; however, they may not always get the job done completely.
If you find that your dog might not be getting the necessary warmth as it sleeps through the night, an easy fix can be to provide it with extra blankets. Layering the base of the area in which they sleep is an excellent way to create a warm foundation for them to sleep.
You can even add more blankets on top of the base, bundling some up and creating a sort of wall around your dog. And to finish, you can lay a blanket on top of your dog. Keep in mind, however, that your dog is not going to tolerate the blanket as well as you can, so make sure not to wrap your dog too tightly, as this can also cause overheating.
If your dog sleeps outside and the weather begins to drop in large amounts at night, you should consider buying a doghouse if you do not yet have one. Even with an opening large enough for your dog to fit into, a shelter surrounded by walls is much more comfortable than an open area void of protection from the cold air.
In addition to getting a doghouse, adding a bed or blankets inside the doghouse can further ensure that your dog stays warm during a cold night. It is vital to regularly wash outdoor materials that your dog may sleep on, as the wear and tear of nature can cause them to track up dust and dirt or make them smell.
Another great way to keep your dog warm if it sleeps outside is by installing a heat lamp in the area that they sleep. Particularly if your dog does not have a doghouse or has a structure without a roof, a heat lamp will add a substantial amount of warmth while your dog sleeps.
A heat lamp alone might not get the job done, however. You should still provide a bed or several blankets to comfort your dog further while it sleeps. A heat lamp will provide a bit more assistance in helping your dog retain heat within the bed or blankets provided. Heat lamps can also be great if your dog does not necessarily sleep outside, but instead in a garage or basement, where cold air is more likely to find its way into your home.
As you can see, different circumstances constitute whether or not dogs can sleep in sweaters. If your dog sleeps outside, especially if it is small or has very short fur – it might be a good idea to have it wear a sweater while it sleeps. However, if your dog sleeps inside or is a large dog with thick fur that sleeps outside, there are safer, more comfortable ways to keep your dog warm during the night.
Still, other times, you may not need to give your dog any additional source of heat. Dogs are generally much better adapted to the cold than humans, so just because you need a sweater does not mean your dog needs one.
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