How do I know if my dog needs a jacket? A Comprehensive Guide

Fiction: If it looks like a sweater and acts like a sweater, it will keep my dog warm.

Fact: This is so not true. I like to get waterproof dog clothes for my Dexter, a Cocker Spaniel, so his thicker hair can stay dry on our winter snow-covered-sidewalk jaunts. In addition, waterproof apparel keeps him dry from dew-coated bushes and grass at the park. Much like my own winter coat does for me, a polar-fleece lining gives dogs comfort while protecting against colder temperatures.

What Type of Winter Clothing Does Your Dog Need?

It depends on the dog, says Dr. Jeffrey. “For example, I have a very muscular French Bulldog who doesnt need a thick jacket, but a sweater is perfect for keeping him warm outside. A Chinese Crested, on the other hand, has little to no fur and requires a heavy jacket when going outside in the winter.”

If you plan to keep your pup outside for longer periods, Dr. Jeffrey recommends coats or jackets for dogs that are made with waterproof or water-resistant material. “Lightweight insulation, such as fleece, is also helpful to help maintain warmth.”

If you pick out coats for dogs that are too bulky, it can make it difficult for a dog to walk, advises Dr. Jeffrey. “Also, avoid jackets with buttons, buckles or other small decorative pieces to avoid the possibility of ingestion and possible gastrointestinal obstruction,” she says.

Signs That Your Pup is Cold

Your pet may not be able to talk, but he can let you know when he’s too cold to go outside. Here are some signs that he needs a jacket or sweater:

  • Shivering when outside
  • Reluctant to get out of bed
  • Won’t go outside — even to do his business
  • Holding paws up while outside
  • Signs of seasonal depression
  • Signs of seasonal depression can include a loss of appetite or low energy.

    Some dogs are also more vulnerable to cold weather. This can include hairless dogs and those that are very young or old. Smaller pups like Chihuahuas and toy terriers, and those with a low body fat percentage, like Greyhounds or Whippets, are more likely to get cold during the winter months as well. If your dog has recently had surgery or is sick, it may be a good idea to get him a jacket until he’s well again.

    Does your dog need a jacket or a dog coat?

    Winter’s chill is making its presence known in many areas, and as we dig to the back of our closets and coat racks for parkas and seasonal outerwear, we wonder — do dogs need coats in the winter, too? Canine couture is popular, so whether your dog roams in a sweater, hoodie or goes au naturel when mother nature bites at the thermometer, we’ve got the facts — and the fictions — on dog coats and sweaters.