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Winter Wear Goes to the Dogs

A Great Dane who used to shiver now sports  weekend-about-town attire.
Ketzel Levine, NPR
A Great Dane who used to shiver now sports weekend-about-town attire.

If you think it's cold outside, consider whether your dog shares your shivers. This time of year, many dog owners put coats and other rugged outwear on their pets before heading outdoors.

But when you live in a city or suburb, does your dog really need a jacket and pair of boots?

"Most of us don't really think in terms of what the animal absolutely needs," says Dr. Christine Fletcher, a veterinarian in Portland, Ore. "We tend to think in terms of what we need and project that onto the animal."

Like their humans, urban dogs grow accustomed to a warm house. Their own coats may not be as thick as their rural cousins' coats might be, making it more difficult for the animals to adapt to the cold. Footwear may be necessary in some cities to protect tender paws from de-icing salts and chemicals.

If you're not sure whether your city dog needs a coat, look for shivering during or after exercise.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit

Ketzel Levine
NPR Senior Correspondent Ketzel Levine reports for Morning Edition.
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