Does My Dog Need a Winter Coat?

Does my dog need a winter coat?

While it may seem odd to have a coat or sweater for your pup, it actually can be a necessary item. When the winter comes around and the temperatures start to drop, your pup actually might get a little cold. Many breeds and types of dogs need some sort of coat to keep them warm in these colder months. Here is some information on how to know if your dog needs a coat and a few recommendations for what to buy.

Does My Dog Need a Coat?

There are a few aspects that you need to consider when deciding if your dog needs a coat.


Obviously, smaller dogs often need a little extra padding to keep them warm when they’re out in the snow or winter weather. Specifically chihuahuas, toy terriers, miniature pinchers and other smaller breeds generally need more insulation since their bodies are smaller and they don’t necessarily have the fat or fur to keep them warm.

Hair Type and Body Type

Short haired dogs also might need to be wearing a coat. These breads do not have the warmth from a thick fur coat to keep them warm, so a sweater will make them a lot happier. Breeds like Whippets and Greyhounds that are thin, have short hair, and lean bodies are great examples of dogs that need a coat. On the other end, long haired, large breeds do not need to wear a coat. They are built to withstand colder temperatures naturally, so there is no need to add another layer.

Your Location

If you live in an area that gets extremely cold and your dog spends a lot of time outside, you should get a winter coat for your dog no matter the size of the breed. Even large breeds sometimes need a coat because they don’t have fur in some places and will be exposed to the cold.

Choosing a Coat

There are a few choices you have to make when you’re buying a coat.


These coats are available in many different materials, but wool and fleece are the most common. If you are in a very snowy climate, consider getting a water-resistant coat, because this will keep your dog’s coat from getting soaked from the snow.


When you find the right coat, you also need to be sure you get the right size. It should fit snuggly and for female dogs should completely cover their stomach. Their legs should be out and free so they can comfortable walk and move. Coats that have actual “sleeves” are less comfortable for dogs and will inhibit their movement more. If you’re ordering online, it can also be hard to decide what size to get for your dog. Here is a general guide that can help:

  • Extra-small: Toy breeds
  • Small: Beagle sized
  • Medium: Anything in between Beagle and Retriever
  • Large: Retriever sized
  • Extra Large: Anything bigger

If you’re in between sizes, order both and return one later!

You may feel a little silly splurging on your dog’s coat, but keep in mind, it is not just a fun accessory: it actually keeps them warm and healthy. Have fun shopping!

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