Do Dogs Need Jackets? Winter Clothing for your Pet

Holiday & seasonal
White Dog in Pink Coat and Boots

Ditch the stereotype of pampered pups in purses – dog clothes are a practical and stylish way to show your pooch you care!  Clothing and accessories for dogs to wear come in all shapes and sizes from Chihuahuas to Great Danes – and for many purposes. If you have a St. Bernard or Alaskan Malamute, your dog won’t need a winter jacket, but how about some boots to protect their paws from road salt and other chemicals? 

Dog Clothing Options: Coats, Jackets, and More 

If you browse through dog supplies, you’ll find many options for dog clothing and accessories. Most are strictly decorative, but clothing for dogs has its benefits. 

Coats and Sweaters: Do Dogs Need Winter Coats? 

Winter can be a wonderland for some dogs, but for those with shorter hair, it's more of a chilly challenge! Breeds like Doberman Pinschers, Jack Russell Terriers, Rat Terriers, Miniature Pinschers, and Greyhounds don't have the luxury of a thick fur coat, so they start feeling the frosty air way before we even think of reaching for our scarves and gloves. For these pups, a cozy sweater or a snug coat is more than a fashion accessory – it's a winter necessity! 

Why Some Pooches Prefer Winter Coats 

Not all dogs are built for the cold. While some breeds strut through snow like it's their personal runway, others shiver at the mere thought of a chilly breeze. Short-haired breeds, senior dogs, and those with certain health conditions often need that extra layer to keep them warm.   

Picking the Perfect Pup Jacket 

When it comes to choosing the right winter wear for your dog, think comfort and style. Materials like fleece are great – they're light, warm, and soft, making them perfect for both indoor lounging and outdoor adventures. The fit is key too; you want something that covers their back and belly without turning their walk into a waddle. And let's not forget about style – after all, who doesn't want their pup to be the talk of the dog park? 

Indoor Chic vs. Outdoor Chic 

For those indoor chill-out sessions, a light sweater is the perfect choice. It's like a gentle, warm cuddle that keeps your furry friend comfortable without overheating. When it's time for outdoor escapades, switch to a sturdier coat that can handle everything from a brisk breeze to a snowy stroll. Bonus points for reflective strips for those late-evening walks! 

Rain Jackets: Does My Dog Need a Coat in Rain? 

Rain jackets have become popular for dogs of many sizes and can protect them in the cold and rain. They offer advantages for you too because your dog won’t get as wet while walking in the rain, meaning less time you spend drying them off. 

At What Temperature Does a Dog Need a Winter Coat? 

It's important to consider the temperature and your dog's breed when deciding if they need a winter coat. Generally, when temperatures drop below 45°F, some cold-averse breeds will get uncomfortable and may need a coat. For temperatures below 32°F, most dogs, regardless of breed, could benefit from a winter coat. Always monitor your dog's behavior in cold weather to determine their individual needs. 

Choosing the Right Winter Coat for Your Dog 

When selecting a winter coat for your dog, ensure it covers the neck and belly and extends from the base of the neck to the tail. A snug fit is crucial, but it should not restrict your dog's movement. Look for materials that offer warmth without bulk and consider water-resistant options for wet conditions. 

Boots: Essential for Protection in Cold Climates 

Boots are especially important in cold climates, both to protect your dog’s paws from salt and chemicals, but also to protect their paws from snow and ice building up between their pads. They also provide more traction. Boots can also be used on hot summer days when the asphalt is hot and could burn their paws. 

Be sure to get boots that fit your dog correctly. Dog boot companies offer detailed instructions for proper sizing, and it’s important to follow their directions. Your dog will be just as uncomfortable with poorly fitted boots as you are with ill-fitting shoes. 

Hats: Protecting Your Dogs Head

This Winter While sweaters and coats are often the first things that come to mind when preparing our furry friends for winter, don't forget about the importance of hats! Just like humans, dogs can lose heat through their heads, especially breeds with short fur. Those with floppy ears can end up wet and cold, or even get frostbitten ears. A snug and comfortable hat can offer significant warmth and protection during the cold winter months. 

Remember, before putting a hat on your dog, ensure it fits comfortably without restricting their vision or hearing. Choose a warm, breathable material like fleece or wool, and introduce the hat gradually to allow them to adjust. With a little planning and a well-chosen hat, your dog can be both stylish and comfortable throughout winter's chill. Just imagine the adorable photos of your pup frolicking in the snow with their cute hat on!  

How to Introduce Your Dog to Clothes and Boots 

What you’ll need: 

  • Old tee shirt 

  • Socks 

  • Lots of treats 

  • A good attitude 

Introducing your dog to clothes and boots can be tough if they have never worn them before. Keep treats on hand and an old tee shirt that can be used as a rag. Drape it over your dog, praise them, and give them a treat. Remove the shirt and do it again. Toss it over his shoulders, back, or hips while laughing and petting them – make a game out of it. Stop while your dog is still happy and give them lots of love. 

The next day, put one of your dog’s legs through the arm of the shirt, praise your dog, and give them a treat. Do this with each leg in turn, one at a time, and then put their head through the neck opening of the tee shirt. Again, keep it fun. 

Use a couple of old socks (even if they’re too big for your dog) and place them on two of your dog’s paws. Laugh, giggle, pet your dog, and give them a treat. Wrap a scarf around your dog, put some earmuffs on them, and even a hat. During all of this, your goal is to teach your dog that wearing things like this is fun. You’re also teaching your dog that they can trust you. 

Then, when you get boots or a winter jacket for your dog, introduce them the same way. Keep it light-hearted, fun, and use treats to reward them for their cooperation. 

How to Keep Your Dog Safe in Clothing 

Whether you’re looking at clothes to keep your dog warm inside, protective clothing for winter, decorative clothing, or boots, make sure the items fit your dog correctly. Clothing should be comfortable and should not constrict their movements. It shouldn’t rub under their front legs or in the groin. Their tail needs to be free, and they should be able to relieve themselves. 

When asking your dog to wear clothes of any kind, keep an eye on them. They can get a leg out of the leg hole and get tangled, the clothes could rub them raw, or they could panic. Supervise them and check that everything fits, is safe, and is worn correctly. Make sure that your dog doesn’t get overheated, especially when wearing something in the house. 

The Warmth of Winter Preparation and Protection 

As we tuck our furry friends into their stylish winter wear, it's important to remember that the cold season brings more than just a fashion change. Winter can be tough on our pets, with risks ranging from frostbite to hypothermia, especially for those who aren't naturally equipped for the chill. Just like a warm blanket on a cold day, a solid dog insurance plan offers peace of mind and comfort when unexpected vet bills arise.  

At Embrace, our plans are designed to offer peace of mind in every season. Whether it's a winter-related injury or a health concern that pops up during a routine check-up, we're here to help shoulder the burden. Our commitment is to provide not just insurance, but a safety net that allows you to focus on what's most important – enjoying the precious moments with your pet. 

So, as you enjoy the winter wonderland with your four-legged companion, snug in their coats and boots, remember that Embrace Pet Insurance is here to provide another layer of protection. Because just like a good winter coat, the right pet insurance plan can make all the difference when the temperatures drop and the unexpected arises.