As a dog owners, we can’t use cold weather as an excuse for avoiding our furry companion’s daily walk. When the weather cools off in the fall, it’s time to start thinking about protecting your dog from the elements.
Cold temperatures, wind and precipitation make many dogs uncomfortably cold, requiring a dog coat, rain jacket or sweater to keep them warm and happy.
Why Do Dogs Need Coats?
According to PetMD, “dogs come equipped with their own external layering system, but some dogs have lighter layers of fur than others, and some are not genetically suited to the environments in which they find themselves transplanted.
So your dog may in fact be extremely uncomfortable with the winter temperatures — as uncomfortable as you would be if you went outside without clothing.”
My own two Havanese for example, have an ample natural coat, but as a breed that originates in Cuba, their fur is best for protecting against heat and sunlight (not cold and wind).
Larger dogs with dense hair coats don’t have a need for additional insulation, and would be very uncomfortable if they were forced to wear outer clothing, possibly to the point of physically overheating; their fur is already genetically designed to protect them from extreme winter temperatures.
The Siberian Husky, Malamute, and Saint Bernard breeds are all excellent examples of dogs that are perfectly suited to cold temperatures.
However, the Chihuahua, Greyhound, and many terrier and pinscher breeds are good examples of dogs that need extra outer insulation.
Which Dogs Need Sweaters and Coats?
So, as winter sets in, you may be wondering if your dog’s fur is warm enough to protect him from the cold weather. For some canines, the answer is yes; but for many others, their fur coat just won’t cut it.
Plenty of dogs, in particular those with certain size or health limitations, can benefit from the added insulation of coats or sweaters. These dogs have a more difficult time generating and retaining enough body heat on their own.
Small Dogs and Short Legged Dogs
Do you have a low-slung breed like a Basset Hound, Dachshund or Corgi? Due to their low stature, these breeds are prone to losing heat more quickly than other dogs because their short legs put them into closer contact with snow. The same goes for small breeds in general — many may benefit from some clothing to keep them warm.
Dogs With Arthritis
Outfitting your arthritic dog in a cozy coat or sweater is just one thing you can do to make winters more comfortable for him. (And for any senior dog, for that matter.)
Also, consider a pet-safe, heated orthopedic bed. What dog wouldn’t want to snuggle up in one of those on a cold winter’s day?
Dogs With Short, Thin, or Fine Coats
It’s easy to see why canines with short coats would appreciate some extra protection from the cold — you wouldn’t be very happy heading out into a snowstorm with just a light jacket, would you?
Coats and sweaters are a great idea for short-coated dogs and breeds with thin body types like Greyhounds and Whippets, or hairless dogs like the Chinese Crested.
Dogs Who Aren’t Super Active Outside
Some dogs’ idea of winter fun is charging through the snow at full speed, leaving trails of footprints in their wake. But others prefer a slower pace, like a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood.
Dogs who spend time outdoors but aren’t consistently active during that time may need some clothing to help them stay warm. Older, slower dogs would also fit in this category.
Dogs With Health Conditions
Conditions like Cushing’s disease, diabetes and heart or kidney disease can all make it more difficult for affected canines to regulate their body temperatures, so a warm sweater or coat couldn’t hurt.
Your Dog’s Winter Wardrobe
Once you’ve assessed your dog’s need for additional warmth, it’s time to determine what kind of sweater they should wear.
The first step is measuring your dog, much like you’d tailor your own suit. It should be snug, but overheating is an issue if it’s too tight. If you can’t put it on and take it off easily, there’s a problem.
Some coats and sweaters have sleeves for front legs, but these may be restrictive: your dog should also be able demonstrate their usual range of movement.
Neck and torso need to be measured, as well as the length of the sweater that should probably end at the waist. An overly long coat creates complications when it’s time to do their business. Neither of you will be happy then!
And one sweater or coat isn’t enough: you probably want a few-
… Not just for pooch couture, but to avoid daily problems. You’ll have a sweater for dry outing and save the waterproof coat for a rainy day (wet sweaters or coats will actually make a dog colder).
Discovering you forgot to wash a filthy sweater after the last outing means you have a spare, so a couple coats and a couple sweaters will cut it.
And if your canine companion is resisting one outfit for some reason, they might react better to a sweater swap.
Some dogs initially reject clothing in general. If they weren’t acclimated to wearing clothes as a puppy (which is ideal), work your pal in slowly. Reward them in the presence of the clothes, then try them on for brief periods.
Add play and their favorite things during the experience so clothing equals fun. Positive reinforcement and treats should bring them around, and before you know it, they’ll associate it with going out for some fun!
Measuring Your Dog for a Coat
It can be difficult to know what size coat or sweater your dog needs. Every breed (and even dogs within the same breed) have different body shapes.
It’s often recommended you choose size based on weight, but a 40lb bulldog is going to have a different fit than a 40lb greyhound.
To help you measure and get the right size for your dog without the guesswork, all you need is a flexible tape-measure or a string (or anything else you can wrap around your dog) and a ruler.
Charming, Distinctive Dog Sweaters and Coats
So, your furry best friend needs an extra layer of warmth-
… but you don’t want them wearing just any old utilitarian, run of the mill jacket or sweater that everyone else picked up at the local big box pet store! Your quest is to go beyond ‘cute’!
Your canine companion has a unique personality, and requires fabulous functional fashion to match!
To help you find those perfect fall and winter garments your special dog needs this season, I’ve provided some some superb examples of outfits that’ll make the other dog park dogs (and their owners) jealous!
This Fleece Rainbow Jumpsuit from FunnyDogClothes is certain to grab attention! It’s available in a variety of sizes, with either orange or brown pants. This hoody jumpsuit will certainly keep your furry boy or girl cozy and comfortable on chilly days! Customers say the sizes run small, so order a size up.
This charming Owl Turtleneck Sweater from Nacoco will surround your little friend with comforting protection against the wind and cold. Reviewers say this sweater is nice and warm, but it does run small, so order one size up.
This gorgeous Pink Floral Faux Furred Dog Coat from Fitwarm will show your little furry child off for the glamorous girl she is! Fancy, yes; but this coat’s heavy fleece offers great protection from the cold!
It’s also easy to put on and remove, thanks to the snap closures. Purchasers say it’s very well made, and like the others, it does run small.
This Snowflake Cuddle Pet Sweater from East Side Collection features a metallic embroidered snowflake design, leash hole and high-cut, stay-dry belly.
Reviewers say this faux-fur trimmed sweater is heavy, warm, and high quality. One happy purchaser stated: “I don’t believe there is anything cuter than this little sweater”.
Another reviewer said:
“I got this about 1 month ago. It fits very well and keeps my little Dachshund very warm. It had little stirrups for her back legs but I felt was too restricting for her so I just don’t attach them. I’ve washed it twice now and notice very little shrinkage. Highly recommend!!”
Soly Tech’s Hooded Dog Jacket comes in seven colors and a variety of sizes. Reviewers love the high puff warmth and quality of this beautiful jacket.
The hood is trimmed with faux fur, and the jacket is lined with fleece – perfect for winter! The manufacturer and customers warn that it does run small, so again, order one size up on this one.
This American Flag Dog Sweater by Chilly Dog will show of your furry friend’s patriotism! This 100% wool turtleneck sweater will keep your furry American Citizen nice and warm, while telling the world they (and you) are proud to be American!
It’s not easy to find a dog sweater for large dogs, so grab this one in Large or Extra Large if your big buddy needs a winter warm-up! (also available in smaller sizes).
This sweater has a ton of terrific reviews on Amazon, with one happy customer saying:
“We have a thin and always cold Vizsla who is grumpy about going outside in the winter. I wasn’t sure about getting him a wool sweater, as I didn’t want it to be itchy for him. He loves this sweater! Not once has he tried to roll around to scratch his back. The sweater is soft and fits him perfectly (I got him size large). It is holding up well after a washing. I tossed it into the washer and hung it to dry. It is supposed to be hand washed, but I wanted it nice and clean. It did fine. I wouldn’t recommend drying it in the dryer, though. He looks nice and handsome in this patriotic sweater and really stays warm, can’t be happier. :)”
I’ll bet you can already hear all the compliments you’ll get on this super-cute hooded “Rabbit Jumpsuit” for dogs by Pet Coat. This adorable outfit comes in either blue or red, and is available in a full range of sizes.
Your pup will look like the little dog-child you know they are, all ready for cold weather play!
Reviewers say it’s easy to put on and remove, and the heavy lining keeps their dog warm.
For a fresh preppy look, nothing beats this Argyle-Style Ribbed Dog Sweater from Pet Life! This college-style sweater is available in both blue and pink, and available in several sizes.
It features a Velcro tab on the belly for easy on and removal, and a leash slit behind the neck area for added convenience.
As one happy customer reported: “True to size and good quality”.
This European Woolen Dog Coat with faux fur collar is an absolute stunner! This is for the princess of the neighborhood, and you know that’s your little fur-dumpling!
This gorgeous coat comes in three colors: light grey (shown), a delicate powder pink, and beige, and is sized for small dogs under 20 lbs.
One customer reported:
“Can’t wait for it to get cold enough for my dog to enjoy this beautiful coat!”
Several purchasers have posted pics of their pets wearing the coat – too cute!
If you’re looking for comfort and full belly coverage, especially for a larger, wided-chested dog, this Pullover for Big Dogs from Tooth and Honey fits the bill! This smart-looking pullover is made of 95% cotton 5% spandex, so it’s lightweight, breathable, and stretchy. It’s also easy care: machine-washable and dryable.
This is one of those few garments specifically designed for barrel-chested dogs. Barrel-chested dogs’ front legs are farther apart than other dogs, they have little/no abdominal tuck, and have an overall stocky appearance. Examples of barrel chested dogs are rottweilers, mastiffs, bulldogs, staffies and other pit bull type breeds.
At the time of this posting, this sweater has perfect 5-star reviews.
One reviewer raved:
“I have yet to be unhappy with a purchase of clothing from this company! They fit perfectly & are adorable! My dog brings me her shirts when it’s time to head out the door! Additionally, which I feel is really important, is that every item of clothing from Tooth and Honey washes like a dream! When you have a dog that is into everything from mud to rolling on dead fish, wash & wear is imperative!”
This British-Style Dog Vest from Albabara is waterproof, windproof and reversible! It’s Velcro closures facilitate easy on and off, and it’s smartly stylish, too!
This handsome vest is available in green (shown above), tan, and red, and in a full range of sizes. The manufacturer also provides their own detailed size guide to make ordering easier.
It comes with hassle-free Lifetime Warranty against manufacturer defects.
One happy purchaser said:
“I was impressed with the quality of the jacket. Comes with Velcro to put this on your dog a lot easier. Also the bottom is elastic this way the jacket hugs my dog giving it a comfy fit. A big plus that it’s reversible with one side waterproof. Cause my dog hates being wet when he goes out on the rain”.
Get into the holiday spirit with this gorgeous Christmas Sweater from Delifur!
Definitely not an “ugly Christmas sweater,” this beautiful black pullover features a cool snowman surrounded by snowballs and snowflakes.
This sweater comes in a full range of sizes, and has great reviews. One purchaser said:
“Very well made but does run large. Was thicker than any other sweater I’ve purchased online for my dog and provided him with adequate warmth. The cute snowman on the back seemed to match my George’s personality.”
Some dogs require a little help staying warm when the weather’s cold. Luckily, there are so many choices for fall and winter outerwear, so you’re bound to find just the right sweaters and coats for your furry friend!
Remember to take a minute to measure your dog, and follow the manufacturer’s size chart to ensure the right fit.
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