Does my dog need a coat?

By | Published On: December 6, 2022 | Categories: Dogs |

With the recent lashing rain and low temperatures, it has made dog walks a rather brave experience. Not to mention their arriving home smothered in mud, we dog owners head out in all weathers because the dog needs exercise. I would not argue if anyone poked their head out and decided that the outdoors maintained tornado-like qualities. After all, not every dog is completely weather-hardy. This brings me onto the need for a coat.

Don’t dogs already have coats?

With the recent lashing rain and low temperatures, it has made dog walks a rather brave experience. Not to mention their arriving home smothered in mud, we dog owners head out in all weathers because the dog needs exercise. I would not argue if anyone poked their head out and decided that the outdoors maintained tornado-like qualities. After all, not every dog is completely weather-hardy. This brings me onto the need for a coat.

Don’t dogs already have coats?

Coats are on sale everywhere, and not just for humans. After the dressing up costumes of Halloween, we now have the winter jumpers and Christmas gear, but also plenty of dog coats available. ‘They already have coats’ I hear you cry. Yes indeed, our dogs are covered in fur. But if you compare a Pinscher or Weimaraner to a Border Collie, however, you can see that those coats vary hugely. A light covering of fur is not going to insulate your pooch as much as the heaviest of Golden Retriever fluffiness. And even so, just because your dog has fur or fluffy coats does not necessarily mean that he won’t feel the benefit of a decent dog raincoat. But it is not for every dog, and some freeze the moment they have to wear anything over and above their collar and lead.

When might a dog coat be a good idea?

It is only fair that a very young dog gets additional help in keeping warm especially on damp, rainy days. A puppy’s coat is naturally lighter and fluffier, even if their future fur is going to be thick and warm. Dogs that have just been clipped or with fine fur, will also appreciate the extra layer.

In addition we all know that getting older brings aches and pains in colder weather, so your elderly dog, who may have survived happily through all the preceding years, might start to appreciate another layer. I’m not advocating frilly skirts or hoodies (for the dog, not you, although be my guest!) but I do think next time you are out, look at your canine best friend and think. Would he like to be just a bit cosier today?

Choosing a coat

If you decide your dog might be feeling the cold, aim for a rain-protective and padded coat. Ensure that your dog can still move freely in it, as it can be a little overwhelming for them at first. Fleeces are available, with leg ‘sleeves’ that are brilliant for Greyhounds and others that simply do not have nature’s furry coating.

Dog coats can be bought on a budget, or can be very costly. My advice is to start with a slightly less pricey, or second-hand coat or jumper. They are not great quality, but I would not want you to spend a lot of money if your dog dislikes it. Once you have spent time accustoming your dog to the new sensation, they will appreciate it, and you can then purchase something a little more high quality perhaps. Waterproof coats can be treated fabric rather than noisy, sweaty, crinkly plastic versions, so shop around!

You may currently be complaining as many dogs appear to molt at this time of year, possibly due to the central heating coming on. Nonetheless, keeping their coat in good condition means that whatever fur they do have will help protect them from the cold.

– Karen Wild

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