Does My Dog Need A Coat?

If your pet's coat is short or thin or when a dog has medium length hair but spends most of his days indoors preventing him from developing his own thicker winter layer of fur a jacket is highly recommended. If you have a double coated dog but have had him shaved down during the winter months chances are a jacket will be needed eventually as shaving the double coat actually damages the wooly layer which causes it to come in patches if at all. Then of course, there is the aged dog. No matter the hair type his circulation is slowed and leaves him vulnerable to unnecessary discomfort.

Dogs That Don't

The breeds that are naturally double coated (thick wooly undercoat and a long slicker guard coat) don't necessarily need the extra protection. As a matter of fact, with the double coated dogs a jacket can serve to prevent the warm wooly protective layer from coming in properly thus leaving them more susceptible to colder temperatures. If your pup is indoors all day just slipping out for a quick potty then a coat is entirely optional. Perhaps you have the young athletic canine that runs and runs when outdoors; if so clothing may be more of a hindrance.

Style vs Weather vs Age

Ultimately, choosing a jacket for your dog should be much like the outer wear you'd choose for yourself, your child or your aged parents.

When its raining: a rain coat or something made of a water-resistant or waterproof fabric unless you own a water-loving dog like a Labrador retriever. If it's a chilly, wet day something with an insulated layer under the shell.

When it's snowing: choose a heavier insulation with a weather-resistant outer shell like a parka, a puffy down, wool or fur-lined barn coat. The older the dog the heavier the jacket should be.

When its windy: I always prefer some sort of wind-resistant shell. When it is cold and windy I like to throw on something with some insulation under that shell.

When it is simply a cold or chilly day: a weather-resistant shell is not necessary. A nice warm sweater, polar fleece or wool jacket will be adequate.

A vest is good for the active dog as it is not as likely to snag on branches or other protruding objects while allowing some ventilation to maintain a comfortable body temp without sweating.

When your pooch is going to be outdoors for and extended period of time be sure to account for the activity level, the less activity the more jacket needed. Always consider the body conditions of your pet as well. If Fido is tubby then he has a bit more of that insulating factor going on than the geriatric grandparent who is of slow circulation and movement therefore producing less natural body heat.


Being outdoors can be a fun positive experience as long as everyone is dressed properly for the weather conditions. Today clothing makers are extremely knowledgeable and the materials at hand are the latest in studied fabrics to battle whatever climate you and your pet live in