Cute pet sweaters aren't just for decoration.  They're necessary!  If it's too cold for humans to be outside without a coat, it's too cold for the dog too.

It depends on the breed, but pet experts seem to agree that most dogs will benefit from a doggie jacket when the temperature is 45 degrees or below.

Labs, Huskies, and Golden Retrievers have thick coats already and may not need the extra layer right away, but thin-haired girls like my Libby can act miserable if we don't help them warm up.  Libby has been known to stand in front of the space heater in the bathroom for fifteen minutes in the morning, trying to find air that doesn't have a chill in it.

Jen Austin - Townsquare Media

The Pedigree Foundation says there are three factors that will determine if your dog needs a coat to stay warm:

1. Dogs with fine hair and thin body types need a coat to go outside in cold weather.

2. Small dogs need a coat because they can’t generate the same body heat that large dogs can and their bellies have a greater chance of brushing against the snow.

3. Older dogs with weaker immune systems or arthritis will need a coat. Their joints will feel better when they're kept warm.

There is that magic temperature when things start to get serious.  Dogs that are cold-averse really start to get uncomfortable when the temperature falls below 45 degrees, and that's when we need to whip out the canine coats for thin-haired breeds like  Chihuahuas, Pinschers, and Greyhounds.  Small dogs need coats at 45 degrees too.  And the Pedigree Foundation says all dogs, regardless of size or breed, should be wearing a coat anytime it's 20 degrees or below.  Wolves, coyotes, and buffalo may be able to handle the cold, but our domesticated four-legged friends aren't havin' it and they will think it's a treat just as good as sausage if we bundle them up.

Doggie parkas and sweaters aren't cheap, so if you need a little help you can win a $500 Petco gift card right here on the website and take your pup shopping for some winter attire.  You'll have enough to splurge for some boots too.

Hang in there, Libby!  Only four months until spring is here and you're warm again. We'll put a pillow by the fire this weekend so you can snuggle up.