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Does My Dog Need a Sweater? When + How to Dress Your Pup for Winter Weather

dog in a sweater in the snow

It’s that time of year again – the weather is cold and gray, and whether it’s raining or snowing, a look at the sky might have you retreating back indoors to your cozy fireside. That’s right, it’s winter.

For humans, winter weather means bundling up before stepping outside, but should the same be true for your four-legged friends, or is their fur enough to keep them warm? Does Fido need a wardrobe? How cold does it have to get before you invest in a canine coat?

If you have questions, don’t worry: we have answers, and we’ll be going through everything you need to know about keeping your pup warm and safe when taking them outside in the winter. Here’s what’s on the agenda:

  • Does my dog need a sweater?
  • Where to find canine clothing
  • Let’s paws and talk about your pup’s feet
Some dogs may be comfortable in the cold, but others need a little extra protection from extreme temperatures.

Does My Dog Need a Sweater?

It Depends on Your Dog’s Size, Age, and Coat

As you may imagine, whether or not your pet needs some extra insulation come wintertime depends on a variety of factors. We’ve all seen cute videos of Alaskan Malamutes or Siberian Huskies basking in the cold or clinging to the last piles of snow as Spring begins to… well, spring. But not all dogs are built for the cold.

As a general rule, if your dog has a thick, dense coat, they are probably okay without any added fluff. If your dog’s breed has a cold locale right in the name – Alaska, Siberia – that’s a pretty good indication that your pup’s coat has evolved to protect them from cold temps all on its own.

Now here’s where it gets hairy.

Other types of dogs aren’t designed for extreme weather. If your dog falls into one of these categories, they might need a little extra help staying warm in the winter:

  • Small, toy, and miniature breeds. We’re not talking about the fluffball breeds here – if your dog goes from a happy, yappy little cloud to an unrecognizable mouse when you give them a bath, they’ve probably got a good start on staying warm. Small short haired breeds though – like Chihuahuas and French Bulldogs – will struggle to generate and lock in enough body heat to stay comfortable in the cold.
  • Low riders. If your dog’s belly brushes against the sidewalk, they’ll be happy to have an extra layer between them and any snow or ice that might accumulate in winter. Welsh Corgis for example have thick coats, but those thick coats can easily get wet and frosty when they’re brushing against snowy streets and sidewalks.
  • Lean and mean. Don’t worry, we don’t actually think your Greyhound or Whippet is mean, but if they’re a lean, mean athletic machine, they may not have the fur or body fat to keep them warm in the winter.
  • Dogs with a ‘do. Even if your dog naturally has long fur, if it is clipped, styled, or shorn in a way that diminishes its coverage, a sweater or coat may not be a bad idea. And besides, Poodles are stylish anyway!
  • Older folks. If your furry friend is getting on in dog years, a sweater or coat can help keep them comfortable. Cold can agitate conditions like arthritis or weakened immune system, which are common in senior dogs. Even if they’re otherwise healthy, heat regulation may decrease with age, so even fluffy dogs might need a bit of help in the heat department as they get older.

These tips are a good starting point, but the most important thing when deciding whether or not to deck your dog out in cold weather gear is knowing your dog.

Watch their behavior for signs of discomfort – do they seem cold? Are they shaking? Do they run inside and head straight for the heater? It’s probably a good sign that the cold is too much.

But on the flipside, it’s also important to make sure you don’t overheat your furry friend. If they seem stifled or lethargic in their cold weather gear, try taking it off and see how they do. Their fur may lock the heat in better than you think!

Keep your dog looking and feeling their best in cute dog sweaters and clothes from these pawesome online shops.

Where to Find Winter Dog Clothes

Our Favorite Shops for Canine Cold Weather Gear

Luckily for chilly dogs everywhere and their loving owners, it’s pretty easy to find dog coats, dog sweaters, and everything in between online. Here are a few of our favorite places to shop for canine clothes, winter or otherwise:

Don’t forget to keep your dog’s feet safe this winter too!

Protecting Your Pup’s Paws from Cold, Salty Sidewalks

How a Protect & Condition Spray Can Make All the Difference

Keeping your dog cozy and warm isn’t the only concern during winter months. Cold ground and harsh ice treatments can leave your furry friend’s paws feeling sore and raw. It could be a good idea to grab some dog shoes to protect their paws during the winter months, but what happens if their little feet get as dry and cracked as your hands do when it’s cold out?

That’s where a conditioning spray can come in. Treatments like Fauna Care’s Protect & Condition Spray are specifically designed with furry feet in mind, and they can help keep your dog’s paws smooth and soothed no matter what the weather outside.

Pay attention to what your dog is telling you about their body temperature this winter – they’ll thank you!

Any owner wants to keep their pet comfortable in warm weather or cold. Now you should have a pretty good idea of whether or not that includes doggy clothes for your particular furry friend. And just remember – when in doubt, just look to your dog for the answer. They’ll let you know with their behavior if they’re feeling too hot or too cold. Good luck, and stay warm out there!

Questions? Email us >

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