Does My Dog Need a Coat for Cool Weather?

Does your dog need a coat for cool weather? It depends on the breed and natural coat of the dog. Short-haired breeds, smaller dogs, puppies, older dogs and dogs with medical conditions could benefit from wearing a coat when the weather is cold. They might also benefit from wearing a sweater indoors.


Features to Look for in a Coat

When choosing a coat for your dog, look for one that covers the neck and belly on the underside and goes from neck to tail along the back. The coat should have adequate cut-away for your dog to potty unhindered. The fit of the coat should be snug but not tight. If it is too tight, it will restrict your dog’s movement and they won’t be comfortable wearing it. Also keep in mind the warmth of the material and waterproofing. Similar to coats for humans, there are fabric technologies that are thinner and lightweight but also hold in body heat and are waterproof. Waterproofing is important if you live in an area with rain or snow in the colder months as keeping your pup dry also helps keep them warm. If you live in an area with major swings in temperature during the winter, you might want to invest in two coats for your pup–a lighter coat for cool, brisk days and a warmer coat for snowy, below-freezing days. Making sure the coat matches the weather conditions prevents your dog from getting overheated while wearing it.


Coats versus Sweaters

Sweaters can be helpful indoors and even okay for outdoors on cool days without snow or rain. However, a sweater is not an overall great substitute for a well-made coat, if your dog needs one. Also keep in mind that not all dogs can adapt to wearing a coat or sweater. If your dog freezes up and won’t move when the garment is on, they might need time to adjust. Let them wear the garment for several minutes at a time over the course of several days. If they don’t start to warm up to wearing the coat or sweater, you might have to give up on the idea. Not every dog will adapt to wearing a coat and shouldn’t be forced to if it makes them uncomfortable.


Large Breeds and Coats

Just because a dog is a larger breed doesn’t mean they won’t benefit from a coat. Some larger breed dogs have natural fur coats that are dense and made for wintery conditions such as Huskies and Malamutes. Other large breed dogs don’t have a sufficient coat for wintery weather, for example, Greyhounds have very thin fur coats and could benefit from wearing a coat during cooler weather.

Some dogs can greatly benefit from wearing a coat during the colder months, while other dogs have coats that are made to keep them warm naturally. If your dog is a short-haired breed, a puppy, a smaller dog, an older dog or has medical conditions, a coat could keep them more comfortable when outdoors.

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