How To Choose The Best Dog Coat

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Jack russell dog in a woollen dog sweater

When choosing the best dog coat for your pooch there are a few considerations we need to think about. For many of us looking good is important, so naturally, we want our dogs to look their best too.  But not all dogs enjoy wearing clothes or costumes or, actually need to. Read on to learn how to choose the best dog clothes for your dog.

Does My Dog Need A Coat To Keep Warm?

It’s not uncommon for me to be asked during an online consult, whether a dog needs a winter coat when the temperatures start to get low.

Dogs with a longer, thicker coat are usually warm enough. Some breeds such as Huskies and German Shepherds have a big thick double hair coat that traps air and helps hold warmth in. Unless these dogs are exposed to wind, draught and rain, it’s very unlikely that they will benefit from a coat. Sometimes, if these dogs wear a coat they can actually overheat.

Dogs that tend to feel the cold the most are those that are either older or very young dogs like puppies. These dogs often don’t have the same degree of fat reserves that many middle-aged dogs have developed that helps to keep them warm.


Also, there are many breeds that have a very thin hair coat and these dogs often feel the cold.  Dogs like whippets, greyhounds, pugs and French bulldogs often really feel the cold when the temperatures get lower, just as much as we do.

Let’s not forget that we like to keep some dog’s coats clipped short for cleanliness and for ease of grooming reasons. The ‘oodles’ and schnauzers have a coat that is often clipped essentially removing their own protective heat blanket.

There are also some medical conditions that can leave your dog being more sensitive to the environmental temperature. Hypothyroidism, cushings disease and cancer can all make your dog feel the cold.

In any of the above-mentioned situations, providing these dogs with a winter dog sweater can help keep them keep nice and warm and comfy and therefore improve their quality of life.

How To Choose A Winter Dog Coat?

CHOOSING THE RIGHT CLOTHES FOR YOUR PET
• Must be functional, practical and safe
• Your pet should be happy and relaxed
• Your pet must be able to move freely
• Avoid chewable parts – no hooks, tags, zippers, buttons
• Check the material is washable and non-flammable
• Check the material is water resistant

When making the decision on what sort of clothing to purchase for your dog, I suggest that you consider a few key questions.

Most importantly dog clothing needs to be functional, practical and safe. But what do we really mean by this?

Your Dog Needs To Be Happy

Despite our best intentions, it’s not uncommon for many dogs to not enjoy wearing the latest dog clothing resulting in stress and anxiety.

Some hints that might indicate that your dog is not happy in their outfit is that they stop what they are doing and freeze, lie down or hide when wearing the outfit. Some may begin to shake. Others give you the ‘what are you doing to me’ look.

If you notice that your dog slinks away when you bring out the coat or they spend more time trying to chew it off…it is a sign that really, you need to give up the idea of them wearing that outfit.

Sometimes, all that is required is a change in the type of material that the dog enjoys wearing more. Other times, well, it’s a lost cause and you are better to provide another source of heat.

Pug in Halloween dog costumeThe Dog Coat Needs To Be Comfortable

You need to ensure that the outfit fits them correctly. You don’t want it to be so big that it flaps about and gets caught when they are moving around, just as you don’t want it to be so tight that they struggle to move freely.

Check the fit around the neck, around the forelimbs, especially the armpits, and around the chest area. You want to be able to fit at least 2 fingers sideways between the coat and their skin.

Check For Chewable Parts

Some of the more expensive outfits are designed to look exactly like what us humans like wearing. While they look cute, they can be trouble in the making.

I’m talking about outfits with lots of embellishments such as zippers, buttons, chains, hooks and tags. They can look cool, but many are not safe.

These outfits are designed to be cool, but you need to watch your mate when they are wearing them. If it looks like they are going to start chewing on buttons etc then it would be wise to remove them.

Not only can these bits be eaten and result in vomiting or even gut obstruction, but they could also prick an eye, or get them stuck in their mouth.

Whatever you do, don’t leave your dog unattended when wearing anything with these. Especially at night.

Best Dog Coat Material

whippet in woollen dog coat

The best materials are those that can be washed and have a degree of waterproofing. I also like thinner type materials that are more flexible to allow for movement.

Finer wool can be a great option, not only are these coats washable (wool wash), but they don’t tend to be as itchy as some coarser wools and they aren’t itchy.

Another good option is polarfleece. It’s easily washable, has a degree of waterproofing and is super comfy for your dog.

Consider when your dog might be more likely to be wearing their dog coat. Will it be when they are out and about heading to the local café, dog park or attending work with you? Or will the coat be for when they are in their kennel or dog bed at night?

For out and about, you may want to consider a more waterproof option such as a Drizabone or Weatherbeeta dog coat, while your dog’s pjs might be wool or polar fleece.

Labrador in weatherbeeta dog coat

A Labrador sporting a Weatherbeeta dog coat

Whatever you choose for your dog’s winter fashion, there are many options available to suit every style guru. Have fun!

Tell us what your favourite outfit is for your dog. 

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