A Guide to Deciding If Your Pooch Needs Extra Warmth

As the winter chill sets in, you bundle up in your cozy winter attire. But what about your four-legged companion? The question of whether dogs require winter coats is a common one among pet owners. Does your furry friend need that extra layer to brave the cold, or is their natural fur enough to shield them? Let's delve into this topic to determine whether your canine companion needs a winter coat.

Do Dogs Need Winter Coats?

In certain circumstances, yes. Even dogs with thick fur can be susceptible to hypothermia or frostbite in freezing temperatures, as noted by the American Kennel Club (AKC). When the temperature falls to the mid-40s Fahrenheit / 4.4 degrees Celsius or below, it's a clear indicator that your pet might benefit from some winter clothing. If you observe your dog shivering, lifting their paws to avoid the cold, or seeking warmth under blankets, it might be time to consider winter weather attire.

Factors Influencing the Need for Dog Coats:

Numerous variables come into play when determining whether your dog requires additional layers, including the climate, breed, age, and health.

Assessing Your Dog's Need for a Jacket:

While large dogs with thick coats like Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes can often withstand the cold, smaller dogs with less heat retention capability, such as Chihuahuas and French Bulldogs, may need extra warmth. Breeds closer to the ground, like Pembroke Welsh Corgis, are more affected by colder temperatures. Dogs with lean bodies, like Greyhounds, and those with clipped hair, like Poodles, could also benefit from added layers. If you own a mixed-breed dog with a thinner coat or a lower profile, a winter coat might be beneficial.

Guidelines for Choosing Winter Outerwear:

If you've decided that your dog could benefit from winter clothing, the next step is choosing the right attire. Depending on weather conditions and your pet's fur thickness, a dog sweater might be sufficient to keep them warm. However, when facing freezing temperatures, snow, hail, or cold rain, a winter jacket becomes more appropriate. Ensure that the outerwear fits snugly, trapping body heat without restricting circulation or mobility.

Protecting Paws and Paws:

Remember that your dog's paws need protection too. While a jacket keeps their body warm, their paws can get wet and cold. Paws might come into contact with road salt used for melting ice, which can be harmful if licked. Booties with good traction can prevent slipping and salt exposure. Ensure a proper fit and secure fastening to avoid discomfort.

Consulting Your Veterinarian:

If you're uncertain whether your dog requires winter gear, consult your veterinarian for guidance. They can provide insight into whether your dog would benefit from extra protection. In the meantime, if you're unsure about the cold's impact on your pet, engage in indoor exercises together to keep both of you active and entertained.


The decision of whether to get your dog a winter coat depends on various factors, including breed, size, and weather conditions. Observing your dog's behavior in cold weather and consulting your veterinarian can help determine whether your canine companion needs that extra layer of warmth. Ultimately, prioritizing your dog's comfort and well-being is key to ensuring their happiness during the chilly winter months.

September 01, 2023 — PIKAPIKA
Tags: Dogs

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