Believe it or not, sometimes the answer is yes. Most of the time it is no. But sometimes, just sometimes, it is yes. Let me give you a good example of dogs who do not need a sweater and boots. Then I will give you an example of a dog who does.
Sephi and Maya are my dogs. They definitely do not need sweaters or boots. First of all, both are big energetic dogs. Sephi is a Chow Chow mix who has a double-coat which is medium in length. Maya is a Labrador Retriever with short hair but hair which has been bred to keep in warmth. She also has thick skin.
Killer is my parents’ dog. He is a Lhasa Apso which is a small dog breed. Although this breed can have long hair, the hair was bred for cuteness, not warmth. His hair is thin and his skin is sensitive. So like most small breed dogs, Killer should probably wear a sweater when he goes outside in the extreme cold.
What about boots? Do dogs need boots? In most cases, the answer is no. But it may be a good idea in the snow. Balls of ice may get in between a dog’s foot pads and cause pain or injury. This may be especially true for dogs who have long hair sticking out from the pads of their feet. But if you check your dog’s feet periodically, you probably won’t need to make them wear boots. Killer has boots. It is not just because of the snow and ice which can get trapped between his paw pads. It is also because Killer won’t go outside in the wet unless he is wearing his boots. He hates getting his feet wet so my parents got him little doggy boots which he surprisingly loves. No more messes in the house because he refuses to go outside in the rain or cold!
If you are trying to decide if your dog needs a sweater or boots, first consider the breed. Most big dog breeds do not need a sweater – even if they have short hair. However, if your big dog is primarily an outside dog, make sure he at least has a warm place to sleep away from the rain, sleet, and snow. Likewise, most small dog breeds, even breeds with long hair, may need a sweater. Review information on the dog breed and see what he was originally bred for. Most toy dog breeds may need sweaters whereas most sporting dog breeds do not.
Also consider how your dog behaves when he goes outside. If he has a tendency to shiver or if he is reluctant to go outside, then consider getting him a sweater. This applies to both big and small dogs.
And lastly, consider how your dog will react with a sweater and/or boots on. If they hate them, then you will need to take the time to teach them to wear clothes. To teach a dog to wear dog clothes like dog sweaters and dog boots, praise them whenever they wear it (don’t laugh at them), have them wear clothing only when you are able to supervise, start out with them wearing clothing for very short periods, and distract them with play or other fun things while they are wearing them.