Do Dogs Need to Wear Coats in the Winter?

Small dog standing with winter coat

As the temperatures drop, dog owners may ask if their dogs require winter clothing to keep them safe and comfortable throughout the cold months. Not all dogs require a winter coat, and in certain situations, the added layer of warmth might be detrimental. Most dogs, though, can benefit from an extra layer of weather protection under the correct circumstances. Find out when it's safe and important to put a winter coat on your dog in the sections below.

Why Do People Buy Winter Coats for Their Dogs?

Putting a winter coat on a dog may be utterly emotional at times. Because of your worry for your dog, walking your dog in freezing temps can be emotionally draining. It's understandable that dog owners would prefer to be safe than sorry because most dogs require time outside to go to the toilet and release extra energy.

Fashion may also have a role in the selection. The American Pet Goods Association estimated in 2019 that $16.01 billion was spent on pet clothes, collars, leashes, toys, and pet tech products in the previous year, increasing 7% from the previous year. The pet market is shifting toward a more "humanistic approach" as younger generations transition from pet ownership to pet parenthood, driving manufacturers to provide designer items for pets, including a greater choice of dog attire options.

Should You Put a Winter Coat on a Dog?

When deciding whether or not to give your dog a winter coat, there are several aspects to consider. Before putting your dog outside, consider the wind chill, whether or not your dog will get wet, and how sunny the weather is. When in doubt, take the safe route. If your dog looks to be overheating, you may simply remove the coat. It's important to bring your dog inside if you notice him shivering, seeking warmth, limping, slowing down, or appearing frightened or agitated in any manner.

Age, health, and acclimatization to frigid temperatures should all be taken into account. Even in mild temperatures, elderly, very young, and may struggle to remain warm, but a healthy adult dog habituated to the cold may be very content even when it's really cold.

Which Dogs Need a Winter Coat?

Small dogs have a larger surface area through which to lose heat than large dogs, therefore coats with higher temperatures assist smaller dogs more than coats with lower temperatures. Chihuahuas, toy terriers, and are a few breeds that fall under this category. A skinny dog, such as a or Greyhound, would enjoy a coat more than an overweight dog since body fat helps keep the heat in. Dogs with extremely little fur can rapidly become chilly, thus they are suitable candidates for a winter coat.

Large dogs with long or thick hair and thick double coats, on the other hand, rarely require a winter coat. In reality, the weight of the dog's fur might impair its natural insulating capabilities. In addition, dark fur absorbs more heat from the sun than light fur. Because activity produces a lot of heat, any dog will be warmer running around than resting passively. Because of their size and long or dense hair, the following dogs should seldom (if ever) wear a winter coat:

Before choosing to (or not to) put a winter coat on your dog, ask your vet for advice specific to your dog.

How to Choose a Winter Coat for a Dog

After you've concluded that your dog might benefit from a winter coat and obtained your veterinarian's clearance, you'll need to choose which sort of coat your dog requires. Consider the material your dog's coat should be made of first. Request products that are suitable with your dog's fur coat type from your veterinarian.


Some dogs may have allergic sensitivities to certain textiles. Itching, sneezing, hives, swelling of the cheeks, ears, lips, eyelids, or earflaps, red and irritated skin, diarrhea, and/or vomiting should all be taken seriously.

Also, take your dog's measurements before purchasing a winter coat, as size varies depending on the breed. Record your dog's dimensions using a tape measure to see whether a particular piece of apparel will fit. You want to make sure the coat you pick isn't too tight, doesn't drag on the ground or fall off your dog, and doesn't restrict your dog's movement.


"“Americans Are Spending More on Pets Than Ever Before: $72 Billion” N.p., n.d. Web." ;