Good dog coats give your dog extra warmth as well as protection from the elements. Whether or not a dog coat is a good idea will depend on where you live, the climate, what breed of dog you have, and your lifestyle. A lot of dog owners will invest in a dog coat to protect their four-legged friend from snow, sleet, wind, and rain.
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More Benefits of Dog Coats
Dog coats that have reflective properties are idea for very early or late walks because they make your dog much more visible. Dog coats offer this safety aspect along with keeping your canine companion warm. Another important investment is a personalized dog ID in case your beloved pooch gets loose.
Some dogs don’t like going out when the weather is bad. A dog raincoat might make all the difference for your dog since it will protect the sensitive abdomen as well as the dog’s back. Most of these coats are waterproof because they have laminated or taped seams inside rather than stitching.
In addition to keeping your dog warm, a good dog coat can also ensure the dog is free from wetness, dirt and mud and he won’t bring it into your home after the walk! You just have to dry the paws afterwards.
Which Dog Breeds Need Dog Coats?
Dogs vary in their shape and size, as well as fur types. Some breeds have more insulation than others and a dog’s age and breed can determine whether or not a dog coat is necessary. These coats can help protect your four-legged friend so he can stay as warm in his coat as you do in yours.
Naturally slender breeds such as whippets and greyhounds as well as small hairless or short-haired ones can lose heat quickly when exposed to the cold. Ill or elderly dogs can also benefit from a warm coat, even indoors as well.
How to Find the Right Dog Coat
Dog coats come in a lot of different styles and some are more practical than others. The classic shape is usually the best since it combines practicality with functionality.
Fashion dog coats might look cool but you will need to consider how comfortable they are for your dog as well as how much protection and warmth they offer.
Look for a coat which won’t constrict your legs if you have an active pet. If he isn’t active, you might want a legging and hood style. Check what material the dog coat is made from, since some beads or synthetic materials can be harmful if chewed or swallowed.
A lot of short-haired breeds will prefer the long-legged style fleeces both indoors and out. This pyjama-style fleece should be loose-fitting enough for comfort. Don’t leave a dog in a coat unattended in case he gets hooked on something which can lead to strangulation.
Short-haired, thin breeds will find it hard to generate and retain heat by themselves, meaning a waterproof, well-insulated jacket is useful on cooler days. Corgis, dachshunds and breeds with bellies low to the ground will also need added protection from snow-covered or freezing paths.
Small breeds, those with thin or short hair, and light-bodied breeds will need a dog sweater or coat to protect them outside in the cold, and this includes long- or medium-haired dogs whose fur you keep trimmed short.
There are other factors to help you decide whether to buy a coat, including how sunny it is, how active the dog is, and even what colour fur he has. A black dog might not need a coat on a sunny day since his fur will absorb the warmth of the sun and he would overheat in a jacket.
A dog who is used to being outdoors might still need protection if it’s very cold, especially if there is snow. Choose something offering belly coverage if this is the case.
Even when there is no snow, a dog can get cold below a certain temperature. You will need a fleece coat for him to keep him warm on the trail and also while camping over. A warm coat which blocks wind and resists water is perfect if you anticipate rain and winds.
There is more to knowing whether to use a dog coat than simply the occasion. You know your dog and will be able to tell if he’s getting too cold on a cold-weather walk with no extra coverage. Maybe a nice cozy jacket would be ideal in this situation.
Different Dog Coat Features
It’s a good idea to think about your budget and lifestyle before picking out a dog jacket. Maybe you already know you want one with a warm polyfill filling and reflective panels. There are some other features that might interest you.
Does your dog pull? Some dog coats come with a built-in harness with the 1Z coat being a good example. Others might have a hook to attach the lead or a hole to put the lead through. If you want a dog coat with hind leg loops to keep it in place, it’s important to check they aren’t too tight and that they are well-fitted.
Does your dog like to run? You might like a coat with leg straps to move with him and to stabilize the coat. Some have nanotechnology to reduce the spread of bacteria, which means your canine companion will smell fresh and stay clean for longer.
Of course, the weather where you live affects whether you need a dog coat and, if so, whether you just need a light jacket for him or something much more insulated. A dog with a double coat or thick coat might be fine with a lightweight jacket while a cold climate means a coat with polyfill could be a much better option.
How to Measure Your Dog for a Dog Coat
Measure your four-legged friend from the base of his tail to the base of his neck. The number in centimetres is the size of the coat you need.
Measure the girth at the widest part of your dog’s chest and his neck circumference while he is standing. It’s also useful to know the dog’s weight.
If you aren’t sure about measuring, you can contact a local stockist and ask whether you can bring your dog to be fitted in the shop.
A dog measuring between two sizes should choose the larger size. This will be more comfortable for him and also a lot of dog coats are adjustable and have touch tape closures.
A well-fitting dog coat should cover the dog’s belly and neck if it’s a full-coverage style. It should be snug but not tight and the coat should reach the base of the tail. When measuring, make an allowance for a male dog.
A design which is easy to put on and take off is always a good idea. Something you have to pull over the head or which is fiddly to put on should be avoided. Your dog should have freedom of movement around the neck and armpits.
My Puppy is Still Growing: Should I Get a Coat Now?
Puppies can grow quickly, meaning a coat that fits him now might be too small in a month! For this reason you might like to get a tummy warmer vest now instead of a coat, especially if the weather is likely to be warm or mild for the next few months.
Alternatively you could buy something on the larger side which he will fit into later on. The problem with this is you will have to estimate his full-grown size. You can talk to a vet about how large his breed is likely to get.
A final option is to buy a custom-made puppy coat but this can work out expensive if he outgrows it in a few weeks!
Dog Coat Material Guide
You will probably want a waterproof coat if you live somewhere with wet weather, or a shower-proof one if you only get light showers. A wind-resistant one is handy if you live high above sea level, somewhere flat or near the coast.
Choose the coat according to the warmth and thickness of the material, rather than the style or colour. A coat which looks cute but doesn’t keep the dog warm is pointless.
You might like to pick out a coat with more than one lining to give your dog additional warmth. If you find several that will fit and keep your dog warm then you can choose which one looks best if you want.
If you want a water-resistant or waterproof model, consider a top layer designed to withstand any water, such as a waterproof outer shell. Fleece is always popular but this should have a waterproof top layer.
Wool is best avoided if your dog might get wet since wet wool can be really uncomfortable and it’s hard to clean.
Fleece-lined dog coats or those which are padded or quilted can keep your dog snug and cosy if the weather is cold and windy. A lot of them come with a detachable fleece inner which you can take out during warmer weather.
Consider how you will be using the coat. An all-day outdoor event will need insulation and weather-proofing while a jaunt in the woods will call for durable, strong materials. If you walk your dog before sunrise or after sunset, consider something reflective for added visibility.
Waterproof and Water-Resistant Dog Coats Materials
The winter typically brings dry weather with some rain, cold temperature, cold winds and maybe even some snow. This means a water-resistant or waterproof dog jacket makes the most sense.
Synthetic insulation adds warmth when the weather is cold, while a fleece lining can add comfort and more warmth. A fully fleeced jacket can be worn alone if conditions are cool and dry.
Un-lined shells are good for windy conditions, light rain or milder temperatures, while bad weather might mean either one jacket with removable parts or a layering system.
Choose a dog coat with reflective stripes as well as a removable thermal layer and wind- and water-resistance and you will have everything you need in such a garment. If your dog is new to being dressed up consider starting with a lightweight coat which he will adapt to quicker than a heavier, bulkier one.
Wool is itchy and hard to wash, which is why most dog coats are made from a poly blend. A fleece lining pairs perfectly with a waterproof jacket. Look for a zipper-free design without buttons, tags, hooks, or anything else that your dog might chew and swallow.
How to Get a Dog Used to Wearing a Coat
Before dressing up your dog for an outdoor walk, let him wear the jacket inside. Check his body to make sure no part of the jacket is rubbing. If it isn’t a good fit or he seems to hate it, you might have to try an alternative coat.
Dogs usually prefer soft fabrics but, just like us, they can find wool itchy. A coat lined with a soft material is comfortable for a hairless, thin-haired or short-haired breed. Nylon or anything silky can irritate the skin. If you want a fabric coat rather than a polyester one, make sure it’s machine washable.
An older dog will need something that’s easy to put on instead of something he will have to step into and out of. An active dog won’t want anything restricting leg movement.
Additional warmth in the legs might be good for a less active or older dog. Get the bare minimum in terms of straps and Velcro, since putting the coat on and taking it off should be a quick and easy process.
Look for something offering generous leg space, especially if you are going to have to pull an older dog’s legs through or if your dog has arthritis.
Dog Coats: In Conclusion
There are plenty of great dog jackets and coats to choose from if you want to keep your dog warm and comfortable on walks and hikes. Ensure that if you choose a waterproof coat it is also breathable. In this way your dog will enjoy maximum comfort.