Pupsicle Prevention: Do Dogs Need Coats?

Fido waits patiently by the back door while you put on layer after layer just to take him outside. That’s got ya thinkin–Does my dog need a coat? He’s got one built-in, right? We did a lil diggin’ bc we too wondered, do dogs need coats?

The answer: It depends. Whether or not pupper needs a coat this winter depends on her breed, fur, and the temperature. Check your weather app before you head out. If it’s higher than 45° F, no canine coats required.  

Dogs That Don’t Need Coats

Doggos that can handle the cold paw naturale are large breeds with dense, thick fur, like Malamutes, Huskies, and Saint Bernards. However, heat regulation can decline in older age, so pay attention to your senior’s body language even if they were blessed with a luxurious mane. Signs of being too cold are shivering, hunched body position, lifting paws, or refusal to walk.

Black Pug stands on snowy sidewalk in bright yellow coat.
Pawfect winter fashion! | Stanislav Filipov

Dogs That Need Coats

Small and miniature short-haired breeds, like Chihuahuas, Bulldogs, and Pugs, may need coats in low temps. Smaller pups can’t create and retain enough heat to stay warm without an extra layer. Lookin’ cute is just a plus. 

Short-legged dog breeds that sit low to the ground, such as Corgis and Dachshunds, may have thicker coats, but their belly fur can collect snow and ice, brrr! A coat can help minimize belly snowballs and maximize warmth. 

Some larger dog breeds need coats too, including short-haired lean body breeds, like Greyhounds, Whippets, and Weimaraners. You should also consider bundling up pups who’ve had their long fur groomed or shorn, such as Poodles. They like making a fashion statement anyway.

How to Find a Dog Coat That Fits

Pupper’s new coat should look totes bitchin’ AND cover the neck and belly, extending from the base of the neck to the tail. Make sure doggo can still potty no problem (ideally without sprinkling the coat). The coat should be snug, but shouldn’t restrict movement (like a hooman hug)!  

Next time you’re walkin Fido in his coat and someone asks ya, “do dogs need coats,” point ‘em our way. Oh, and tell pup we love his new winter look! 

Does your dog like wearing his coat? Woof at us in the comments and tag @sidewalkdog in all your chilly adventures.

Featured photo: Patrick Hendry

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