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Does My Dog Need a Coat in the Winter?

When the harsh winter weather starts to roll in, many people get into their favorite winter gear to keep warm, but what about our furry friends? Many dog owners might wonder if they need to get a coat for their dog as those colder days begin to set in.

In this post, Sit Now Stay will go over the different variables that come into play when deciding if your dog needs a coat, and at what temperature should you be doing so.

Portrait of a brown dog lying in the snow wearing a coat.

Different breeds of dogs have different tolerance levels for cold weather. Smaller dogs tend to get colder faster than larger breeds and may need some extra coverage during cold snaps. Short-haired or thin-coated dogs will also benefit from a coat or sweater when going outside in the winter. The general rule of thumb is that if you’re uncomfortable without a coat, your dog probably is too. 

At What Temperature Does My Dog Need a Coat?

Well, dogs may not get as cold as humans, but they still need protection from the elements when temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, your pup should wear a coat or sweater if they’re going outside for any length of time. If the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s best to keep them inside as much as possible.

According to the American Kennel Club, dogs can get hypothermia or frostbite even if they have a thick coat. So, whenever the temperature drops below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, know that your pup also needs some extra layer of protection.

Signs Your Dog Needs a Coat

Sometimes you might not notice right away that the temperatures are below what your furry friend can tolerate. But most of the time, your dog’s behavior will be enough indication that they need a coat. Some signs that show your pup is feeling the cold include:

  • Shivering
  • Being less active
  • Not wanting to go outside
  • Being distressed and anxious
  • Limping
  • Hiding behind things
  • Barking or moaning

If you see any of these signs in your pooch, it’s a sign that they need a coat or sweater. 

Which Dog Are Most Likely to Need a Winter Coat?

Some dog breeds, such as Greyhounds, Chihuahuas, and Pit Bulls, are more susceptible to the cold than others. But even dog breeds that can withstand cold temperatures, such as Siberians and Malamutes, may need a coat or sweater when temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Some of the factors that make some dogs require a winter coat include the following:

  • The Pup’s Age: Puppies and older dogs may need extra warmth due to their age. The younger and senior dogs tend to have weaker immune systems, and freezing temperatures may expose them to more health risks.
  • The Type of Coat: Dogs with thin or short coats may need an extra layer of protection against the cold weather, while those with a thick double coat may be able to withstand lower temperatures.
  • The Dog’s Activity Level: A pup that is active outside for long periods may get colder faster and require a coat. Before you go out with your furry friend, make sure he is properly dressed for the weather.
  • The Pup’s Size: Smaller dogs lose heat faster than larger breeds and may require a coat more often. This also applies to short-legged breeds that are much closer to the ground hence, exposed to snow.
  • Dogs With Medical Conditions: The dog’s ill health may interfere with its ability to regulate its body temperature. If your pooch has a medical condition, it’s best to talk to your vet about the type of coat or sweater that is best for them.

Keep Your Pup Warm this Winter!

In the end, as long as it’s cold enough for you to need extra protection, then your pup probably does too. So make sure they are properly dressed for the weather with a coat or sweater when temperatures drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help keep your pup safe and comfortable during their time outdoors.

And remember, dog training doesn’t have to stop in the winter. Contact us at Sit Now Stay to learn about our training programs this winter. We can also help you find the perfect coat for your pup if you need one!