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Does Your Dog Need a Jacket - Pine Creek Vet

Dogs are equipped with biological coats that typically keep them warm through the winter months. That doesn’t mean all pups are winter-ready though, and it’s important to know if your dog needs an extra layer to stay warm. Today, dog jackets and sweaters serve a practical purpose, but they’re also used to make a fashion statement. In fact, Capital Counselor noted that in 2020, the global pet clothing market was worth $5.1 billion.

How Do You Know if Your Dog Needs a Coat?

So, how do you know if your pet needs a jacket? Luckily, dogs are pretty smart, and if you pay close attention, your pup will let you know if he’s cold. Although most dogs are perfectly fine without a jacket, you may also feel better knowing that you’ve done everything you can to keep him warm on chilly walks outside. Let’s look at some signs that will clue you in on whether your dog needs a jacket.

Signs That Your Pup is Cold

Your pet may not be able to talk, but he can let you know when he’s too cold to go outside. Here are some signs that he needs a jacket or sweater:

  • Shivering when outside
  • Reluctant to get out of bed
  • Won’t go outside — even to do his business
  • Holding paws up while outside
  • Signs of seasonal depression

Signs of seasonal depression can include a  loss of appetite or low energy.   

Some dogs are also more vulnerable to cold weather. This can include hairless dogs and those that are very young or old. Smaller pups like Chihuahuas and toy terriers, and those with a low body fat percentage, like Greyhounds or Whippets, are more likely to get cold during the winter months as well. If your dog has recently had surgery or is sick, it may be a good idea to get him a jacket until he’s well again.

Signs That He’s Just Fine

Since dogs are equipped with a fur coat, they’re usually perfectly comfortable year-round. Since you can’t ask your dog whether he’s cold, many people decide to purchase a dog jacket for peace of mind, so they know their pets are comfortable outside.

Some biological factors that make your dog less likely to need a jacket include:

  • Larger breeds
  • Thick or long fur
  • Extra body weight

Larger dogs with thicker fur, like Pomeranians, huskies, and chow chows, are perfectly happy in cold weather, and a jacket will only make them overheat. In fact, your dog will let you know if she’s too warm. If you put a jacket on your pup and he starts to pant, you’ll know it’s time to take it off.

Things to Avoid

If you decide to buy your dog a jacket or sweater, there are several things you’ll want to avoid. An ill-fitting uncomfortable jacket can make your pet miserable, and worse, can make them sick. 

Here are some things to avoid:

  • Zippers
  • Dangling pieces that can get tangled
  • Tight jackets that go over their heads
  • Harsh material

Dogs can be allergic to fabric, and the wrong kind can cause all kinds of miserable symptoms including itching, sneezing, swelling and hives. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s best to remove the jacket immediately and give your pet some TLC.

Additionally, it’s important to buy a jacket that fits your pet properly. Measure your pup and buy a jacket that’s not too snug, but isn’t so loose that it drags on the floor when he walks.

If you aren’t sure if your dog needs a jacket, you can always ask your vet. They’ll help you choose one that’s perfect for your pet. Our vets at Pine Creek Veterinary Hospital want your pet to be comfortable year-round. Contact us with your questions and concerns.