8th December, 2022

Does my dog need a coat?

Would I put a rain coat on my dog? No. Would I put a winter coat on my dog? Depends. When living in Canada at -30º C – yes, I would put a coat on my dog. Here in Switzerland I don’t, not even in the Alps at -10º C. This, because my dog has dense hair with wooly underfur for isolation.

There are a few things that you should consider and pay attention to before buying, because there is a huge variety in coats and not all dogs should wear one.

A coat is certainly useful for dogs that have little to no underfur, e.g. Chihuahua, Dalmatian, Boxer, Weimaraner, Doberman, and walk predominantly on a leash, when temperatures drop.

But if the dog in question is off leash, running around and playing, you should take off the coat. Since dogs, unlike us humans, cannot regulate their heat balance by sweating, it can lead to circulatory collapse faster, if you leave the coat on. Simply put it on after the fun time.

This also occurs, if you put a warming coat on a dog that has underfur at mild temperatures ( > 0º C), it can lead to circulatory collapse.

However, some old dogs or dogs with bone and joint problems will feel more comfortable wearing a warming coat.

If it is windy, a knitted cotton coat doesn’t do the trick. Opt for windproof coats.

Last but not least: Behavior. The fur is is also used for communication, e.g. as threat display when agitated.

A coat covers the largest part of the dog’s body and thus makes the body language “unreadable” for other dogs.

Strange dogs which don’t know dressed dogs, could als react negatively to such.