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Fighting Off the Cold: Myths and Realities of Dogs and Winter Jackets

As a loving and responsible dog owner, you want to make sure that your dog is protected from the elements. This is especially true if you live somewhere with temperatures that can drop below freezing! That’s where winter jackets or dog coats comes in.

Of course, you don’t want to sacrifice form for the sake of function, so why not get one that looks good while making them warm and toasty?

There’s no denying that winter couture for dogs is popular. There are tons of choices when it comes to stylish winter jackets for dogs.

However, you must ask yourself, “does my dog really need a winter jacket?”

Fighting Off the Cold: Myths and Realities of Dogs and Winter Jackets

Here are some of the popular myths surrounding winter clothing for dogs, and the realities behind them:

Myth: ALL dogs need coats to protect them from cold temperatures.

Fact: When faced with brutal winds or cold, you might worry about your canine companion. You may automatically think that they need a coat to protect them from extreme temperature.

However, keep in mind that most dogs already receive some amount of temperature protection from their fur. Any additional protection they might need will depend on their breed, their health, and their age. 

Breeds with thin or light coats, puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with health issues will benefit from the additional warmth and protection that a winter jacket can offer.

However, breeds with thick fur, especially those that are bred to live or work in colder climates, might not need the additional protection of a winter coat.

If in doubt, you can always consult a vet to ask for their professional opinion.

Dog wearing coat running through the snow

Myth: Any dog can get used to wearing a winter coat given enough time.

Fact: You might think that any dog, given enough time to get used to wearing a winter coat, will be amenable to wearing the coat.

However, the fact is that most dogs are not used to feeling items covering their backs. There are some individual dogs that will never take to wearing a winter jacket, no matter how long you try or how many treats you give them.

Use your gut feeling to gauge the reaction of your dog. If they are still anxious about the idea of wearing the winter coat even after repeated attempts, you might need to scratch the idea completely. Then, look for other ways to provide warmth.

Dalmation running through the snow wearing a gray coat

Myth: A dog’s size matters, i.e. small breeds always need coats and large breeds don’t need coats.

Fact: Many dog owners make the mistake of generalizing their dog’s warmth needs according to their size. They do not take their dog’s breed into consideration.

The bottom line is that it is the dog’s breed, as well as its health and age, that will determine if they need additional protection from the cold.

If you have a small breed that has thick and dense fur such as a Tibetan Terrier that’s healthy, they won’t need a winter jacket.

Conversely, if you have a large breed that has thin fur such as a Dalmatian, they’ll need additional layers.

You should also consider if the breed was actually made for cold climates.

Cockapoo wearing a blue coat running through the snow

Myth: All dog jackets are made equally.

Fact: There is a wide range of different winter jacket styles for dogs available on the market. What you need will depend on the weather conditions you will encounter.

There are jackets that provide warmth such as fleece-lined jackets, but it does not have a waterproof layer. This type of dog jacket might not work for conditions where wet snowfall is a possibility.

You need to look for a winter jacket for dogs that are suitable for the conditions you will encounter, which can range from dry, powdery snow, to wet, slushy snow.

You also need to take wind chill into account.

Small dog wearing a coat and boots in the snow

Myth: A jacket alone is sufficient to protect my dog from the cold.

Fact: Most owners might think that once they have given their dogs a jacket, it is a job done. However, a jacket only serves to protect the main body of your dog.

They also need to protect their paw pads, which are sensitive to cold.

What’s more, many places add antifreeze to the ground, which can be absorbed into a dog’s paw pad skin.

Winter booties can be a great complement to a winter jacket to give further protection for your dog.

Woman and dog playing in the snow

Myth: The bigger and bulkier the jacket, the better protection and warmth it offers my dog.

Fact: This might have been true in the past, but these days, technology has progressed to the point where sleek and stylish winter jackets for dogs can offer as much protection and warmth as bulky and heavy multi-layered jackets!

Given that there are so many choices in terms of type, size, appearance, and function, you can find a winter jacket for your dog that will offer them the right amount of protection that they need, but won’t make it look like the jacket is trying to smother your dog.

LeAnn Harbert

Tuesday 13th of August 2019

I wish my girls would wear a coat but they would rather shiver than put anything on.


Friday 9th of August 2019

My dog shivers when it gets too cold, especially after she's been groomed. We got her a cute little jacket to wear on those days.

xheira lee

Thursday 8th of August 2019

i love this

Debbie P

Tuesday 6th of August 2019

hanks for the very interesting and informative article. I learned a lot.

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