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Does my Dog Need a Coat? A Guide to Dogs and Winter Clothing

Updated on January 3, 2012

As amusing as dog clothing might seem to some dog owners, there is a growing trend towards winter wear for dogs. Owners choose fashionable winter coats or sweaters that accessorise their own clothes, but the real question is - do dogs really need a coat or sweater to stay warm during the winter months or is it just a fashion fad? The short answer is, yes, some dogs do need coats. The long answer involves looking at a number of factors.

Most dogs are absolutely fine without winter clothing, but some breeds actually need outer wear during the colder months to stay comfortable and healthy. Firstly you need to consider your dogs breed, size and coat type. Second, you need to check the winter temperature where you live. Finally looking at your dog’s health, age and behaviour in the cold will help you determine whether he needs a coat to stay warm.

Does my dog need winter clothes?
Does my dog need winter clothes? | Source

What Dogs Need Coats to Stay Warm?

In general, there are three kinds of dogs that might benefit from a nice warm coat or sweater when its cold outside.

  • Smaller dog breeds such as Chihuahuas, toy terriers and miniature pinchers all have short coats and their body size makes it difficult for them to maintain warm if its cold outside.

  • Older dogs and those who are chronically ill would definitely benefit from a coat to stay warm and dry.

  • Greyhounds and whippets and other dogs with similar build and coat enjoy a nice warm sweater to stay warm.

These dogs all have have a difficult time generating and maintaining enough body heat of their own during winter and would benefit from some warm outerwear. Larger breeds like labradors, and especially the long haired ones like Siberian Huskeys, Bernese Mountain Dogs and Golden Retrievers are unlikely to need any winter coats to stay warm as are naturally predisposed to survive cold temperatures.

How Cold is it where you live?
Of course if you live in a warm country, your dog is unlikely to need any specific winter clothing, but if the temperature regularly drops below zero, chances are higher that your dog might enjoy a coat, jumper or even little boots to stay warm.

Your Dog’s Behaviour
Finally and perhaps most importantly - look at your dog’s behaviour. If your dog is happily running around playing in the snow, splashing through water puddles and sniffing all the trees in the park as usual without showing any signs of distress he is probably just fine without a coat.

If however, he looks uncomfortable in the cold, shivering and avoiding the snow or rushing to get back home or up into your lap, then your dog is likely to be a candidate for dog winter clothes!

This article was written by Linda Bliss. I am earning money online by writing here at

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    • LindaSarhan profile image

      L Sarhan 

      2 years ago

      I hope you don't mine that I listed your article under related articles in my Hub on Winter Safety Tips for Dogs (

    • TheDragonBringer profile image

      Jade Griffin 

      4 years ago

      My dog hates the cold. I am thinking he needs a coat next winter. He is an indoor dog with very short hair. He doesn't spend enough time oitside to trigger the development of extra fat and fur to protect him.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Dogs really needs protective clothing such as coats during cold season. Just like us humans they need protection from the change of weather. I believe our pets needs to have his or her own clothing and accessories. I got mine from this website :

    • Linda Bliss profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Liebrand 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks Judi! Sometimes our furry friends don't realise the practicalities of having a coat covering them up from mud and rain :o)

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judi Brown 

      6 years ago from UK

      Ah, the battles my dog and I have over her coat! She doesn't need it for warmth, it just helps in the perpetual rain - without one we spend ages getting her dry. She hates it and has various strategies for removing it. I am made of sterner stuff (just!) and am beginning to win the battle.

      Useful hub, voted up!


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