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I have a young Whippet who seems to spend an awful lot of time shivering once the weather turns colder. Should I get him a coat?

James Farrell advises…

These breed types do feel the cold more than others, but sometimes the shivering is just the muscles rippling, as these dogs are also such athletes. In the colder months, a thin-skinned, shorter, single-coated breed like a Whippet is bound to feel the cold more than, for example, a Siberian Husky, which has a thick, double-coated pelt.

By keeping your dog warm (not hot), the muscles will be more supple and active, and the chances of sprains and strains will be reduced. The digestive system works better when warmer too, and upset tummies and cramps are less likely. Wearing a jacket will protect against rain soaking the hair – a wet dog loses heat much more quickly.

The undomesticated dog coped just fine without an overcoat, and the hairs form a good layer of insulation from the cold, as the coat naturally grows thicker when the climate changes. We have upset this natural order of things by selective breeding and, more recently, having dogs in centrally heated houses that are warm all-year round, so many dogs no longer grow this naturally thicker coat.

With the majority of breeds, so long as they have a warm bed and home to come back to, a coat is not essential, but I expect your Whippet will appreciate one during the winter months.

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