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New York Today: Do Dogs Need Winter Coats?

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Breaking out the winter wear.

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Damon Winter/The New York Times

Good morning on this shining, shivering Thursday.

When wintry weather comes to New York City, you can be sure of a few things: Taxis will be hard to hail, subway steps will be slippery, and dogs will be bundled up.

Pit bulls in cashmere cable-knits. Greyhounds in flannel onesies. Terriers in down jackets that look more like flotation devices.

The outfits elicit squeals and praise (who’s a good boy?!) and, occasionally, sadness that the dog’s coat is nicer than our own.

But we’ve always wondered — do pets really need clothes in the cold?

Most dogs do not, according to Dr. Richard Goldstein, chief medical officer at New York City’s Animal Medical Center.

“A dog’s circulatory system is actually quite good in regards to dealing with the cold,” Dr. Goldstein told us, noting that the average dog is much better equipped to deal with winter chill than summer heat.

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But not all dogs are created equal when it comes to staying warm.

Miniature dogs (like chihuahuas), poodles and poodle mixes have the hardest time because they have hair, which is “not anywhere near as protective or thick as fur,” Dr. Goldstein said. Wolfish northern breeds with long fur, like huskies and malamutes, do best. Labradors and golden retriever types are somewhere in the middle.

“When we get goose bumps, it doesn’t do much because we’re not as hairy as we once were,” Dr. Goldstein said. “But when a dog gets goose bumps, it makes their hair stand up, increasing the barrier they have between the outside and the skin, and that coat is good at minimizing the loss of heat.”

“It would be hard to imagine a larger dog that would need a jacket,” he added. “You’re doing it more for the owner and the cuteness than for the dog.”

If you do decide to get your pup a winter get-up, the key body parts to keep warm would be the face, mouth and nose, because that’s where their heat evaporates, according to Dr. Goldstein. But because covering a dog’s whole head is not exactly realistic, do your best to cloak their belly or abdomen.

And as for the paws? Dogs don’t lose much heat through their feet, Dr. Goldstein said, but he recommends shoes or “old-fashioned plastic bags” when city sidewalks are covered in salt, which “can be quite toxic and cause a lot of damage to the foot pads.”

Cats, he noted, should not be outside during the winter at all.

Here’s what else is happening:

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Bundle up. (We’re talking to you, not your pet.)

It may feel as cold as 33 degrees as you head out for the day, with wind chill, though we’ll have sunshine and temperatures in the 40s later on.

And tomorrow, a chance of snow.

In the News

The largest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere opens this week in Jersey City. [New York Times]

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The planetarium was originally an Imax dome theater.

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Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called for Senator Al Franken’s resignation, prompting a wave of Democratic senators to follow suit. [New York Times]

Leonard Lopate and Jonathan Schwartz, two of New York Public Radio’s most popular hosts, were placed on leave amid allegations of inappropriate misconduct. [New York Times]

Activists and lawmakers in New York are pushing to expand the legal recourse available to people who say they were sexually abused as children. [New York Times]

District attorneys in New York are cracking down on wage theft, after indictments this year detailed over $2.5 million in unpaid wages to more than 400 construction workers. [New York Times]

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Ariel Ortega is among dozens of workers for Whisk Remodeling Corp. who are owed wages and overtime pay.

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Stephen Speranza for The New York Times

Seven Fire Department employees have filed a lawsuit claiming African-American civilian employees are paid less than white employees with the same job. [New York Times]

New Jersey scientists seek to limit chemicals found in drinking water that have been linked to cancer and developmental problems in young children. [New York Times]

Two treatment centers in Westchester County are struggling to keep children from returning to sex trafficking in the city. [New York Times]

An Upper West Side powerhouse designed at the turn of last century has finally won a landmark designation as modern new construction encroaches. [West Side Rag]

New York is the second “pest-iest” state, according to a new study that analyzes social media chatter about pests across the country. [NBC 4 New York]

Nominations for New York Today’s New Yorkers of the Year contest remain open through Friday. Tell us about an exemplary citizen by filling out the form at the bottom of this column.

Today’s Metropolitan Diary: In the Middle of Familiar Standoff

For a global look at what’s happening, see Your Morning Briefing.

Coming Up Today

Come together to light a 55-foot-tall Christmas tree, with appearances by real reindeer and the Brooklyn Ballet, at MetroTech Center in Downtown Brooklyn. 4 p.m. [Free]

The Strange Career of the Jim Crow Midwest,” a panel discussion about the history of racism and discrimination, at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. 6 p.m. [Free]

A series on the history and future of Green-Wood Cemetery continues with “Curating Collections in a Time of Environmental Change,” a lecture in its Historic Chapel in Brooklyn. 6:30 p.m. [$20]

Modigliani: Sources of Inspiration,” a gallery talk about the African masks that influenced the Italian-Sephardic artist Amedeo Modigliani, at the Jewish Museum on the Upper East Side. 6:30 p.m. [Pay-what-you-wish and R.S.V.P.]

Looking ahead: “The First Amendment: The Constitution on Campus,” a lecture by the Harvard Law School professor Randall Kennedy, on Dec. 11 at the New-York Historical Society. [Tickets here]

Islanders at Penguins, 7 p.m. (MSG+). Nets at Thunder, 10 p.m. (YES).

Alternate-side parking remains in effect until Friday.

For more events, see The New York Times’s Arts & Entertainment guide.

And Finally…

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Workers loading fuel aboard the Spirit of St. Louis on Long Island.

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Associated Press

It’s International Civil Aviation Day, recognized officially by the United Nations.

The observance, meant to remind us of the role aviation plays in our social and economic well-being, got us thinking about the role New York has played in aviation history.

Ninety years ago, Charles A. Lindbergh became the first man to fly solo nonstop across the Atlantic, traveling from New York to Paris in his little white monoplane, the Spirit of St. Louis.

The achievement was enough to merit a rare exclamation point in a headline on the front page of The New York Times: “LINDBERGH DOES IT! TO PARIS IN 33½ HOURS; FLIES 1,000 MILES THROUGH SNOW AND SLEET; CHEERING FRENCH CARRY HIM OFF FIELD.”

It took six minutes for word of Mr. Lindbergh’s landing to travel from Paris back to New York, and when it did, an announcement of his arrival was posted on a bulletin on The Times’s building. Cheers swept Broadway. Cars stalled in the streets to honk in celebration. Boats in New York Harbor sounded horns. Fire trucks blew sirens.

“On the streets and elsewhere Lindbergh was the one topic of conversation the whole day long,” The Times reported. “In the subway, on the elevated, in the trains and cars, motion-picture houses, theatres, wherever a few had gathered, or even where one man could find another to talk to, one heard ‘Lindbergh — Lindbergh — Lindbergh.’”

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