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Do dogs need winter clothes?

by Lana Paws on November 02, 2022

do dogs need winter clothes?

With the ever-growing trend of dog fashion all around the world, it's hard not to consider clothing your dog in cute outfits. Some dogs love wearing clothes & accessories (e.g. dog bowties and bandana/scarf) and seem to be totally comfortable, while some resist putting anything on their bodies. It's important to respect your dog's choice and to not force them into wearing pet apparels if they are not into it!

But what about the colder months of the year? 

As the temperatures drop, dog parents may wonder if their dogs require winter clothes to stay secure and warm during the colder months. Dogs have a thick fur coat to keep them toasty. Your dog’s ability to keep warm is determined by its breed, size, and age. Small dogs and dogs with short fur will require additional warmth to stay warm in the winter.

Dogs have been domesticated to live alongside humans. Pets who are accustomed to living indoors have grown accustomed to a comfortable and catered-to environment and may feel the cold weather troubling.

Dogs have transformed as a species with necessities similar to ours over time, becoming increasingly reliant on their humans.

Sometimes the decision to dress a dog in a winter coat is purely emotional. Walking your dog in cold weather can be emotionally draining due to your concern for your dog. Because most dogs require time outside to relieve themselves and burn off excess energy, it’s understandable that dog parents would prefer to be safe than sorry. Clothing can be useful in cold weather, especially if your dog is hesitant to go outside to relieve himself.

If the weather is extremely cold, well below normal winter temperatures, you should consider keeping your dog inside, irrespective of their breed or age, unless you are taking them for a short walk. Finally, the best way to tell if it’s too cold for your dog is to keep a close eye on him. It’s time to go inside if they start to feel uneasy, shiver, have trouble breathing, or appear weak.

Which dogs require extra protection in winter?

dog winter clothes online

Smaller dogs may need a winter coat or a dog sweater while outdoors and sometimes even indoors, since they have a harder time retaining body heat. Your puppy will require extra clothing for protection if they are a short-haired breed or if they are from a warm climate such as, Greyhounds.

Small-breed dogs and puppies could benefit from wearing a sweater when playing outside or taking a stroll. Unlike large dogs, they might not be able to produce adequate body heat.

Senior dogs, dogs with health issues and joint problems will also need to be protected as the temperatures start to drop.

Cold climate dog breeds such as, Huskies, Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers have long hair and a double coat. They may not need extra protection in the winter months (unless it's required due to their age or health issues). They can stay warm and cosy with their long, thick fur, which serves as both insulation and heat source. Large dogs with long or thick hair and their own thick double coats, on the other hand, rarely require a winter coat. In fact, the weight of the dog’s fur can reduce its natural insulating properties.

In addition, dark fur absorbs more heat from the sun than light fur. Heat is produced by activity. Since activity generates a lot of heat, any dog will be warmer when running/playing/ spending time outdoors. Thus, ensure your dog gets enough winter sun and activity during the day.

Not all dogs can get used to wearing clothes in general, let alone winter clothes. Because of their size and long or dense fur, the following dog breeds do not require a winter coat to stay warm: Huskies, Chow Chows, Pomeranians, Komondors, and so on.

How can I tell if my pet is cold? Is a popular query among pet parents.

Watch out for these signs to determine whether your dog is feeling cold.

  • Trembling or shuddering
  • Constant moaning – Reluctance to get up or walk
  • A change in behaviour, such as anxiety 
  • Searches for cosier corners


Dog Winter Clothes

dog winter sweatshirts and hoodies online

  • Dog Sweaters: These knitted clothing items protect the back, chest, and sides of a dog. They are usually snug fit and slightly stretchable. Dog sweaters are recommended for puppies, small and medium size dogs, as well as dogs who don't mind lifting their legs while putting it on. Senior dogs and dogs with joint issues and pain may not be comfortable with wearing sweaters and dog sweatshirts as they usually require a dog to lift its legs one by one to put on and take off the sweater.
  • Dog Hoodies & Sweatshirts: Similar to dog sweaters, they are also used to cover the exposed body parts of a dog and are easier to wear for young and fit dogs as compared to old and injured dogs. It fits dogs snugly while allowing for full movement thanks to the stretchy waist and leg openings. It has a fleece interior for optimal warmth in chilly weather
  • Dog Winter Coats/Dog Winter Jackets: Used to protect the exposed areas of the dog such as the back, sides and chest of the dog. Usually include a strap to adjust the fit and keep the coat in its place. They are usually lightly insulated and provide quilted or non quilted options. Dog jackets are easy to wear and thus can be worn by all dogs. 

Dog winter clothes come in multiple sizes, colours, designs and material options. Always consider choosing the material that's best fitted for your climate and should not be too warm or too light for your dog. 

Dog Shoes & Boots

dog winter shoes

Dogs’ seasonal footwear protects the foot and ankle, the boot is secured by a flexible strap around the ankle. Better traction is provided by rubber grips or tread on the bottom, and there are differences in the height of dog boots, booties, and socks. To keep paws comfortably dry throughout the winter, several different kinds of dog boots are also waterproof. Most dogs take time to get used to wearing shoes as it's not natural to them. 

Dog Raincoats

dog raincoats online

Purchasing a dog raincoat for the winter is a wise decision, especially for morning and night walks due to dew formation. It keeps their coat dry and protected. For extra chilly winters, raincoats for dogs can also be used on top of their sweater/jacket to give an extra layer of protection outdoor.

Dog Beds/ Dog Mats/ Dog Blankets

Investing in a cosy bed for your dog can go a long way as dogs spend majority of their time sleeping, resting and lounging around. Not all dogs require dog clothes but all pet dogs must have a comfortable bed to stay warm. You could also consider buying a dog mat or a dog blanket to keep them extra cosy in colder months. 


do dogs need winter clothes

Comfort: The dog clothes/accessories should always be comfortable for your dog i.e. made of breathable fabric, lightweight and should not restrict their movements in anyway. They should also be free of any hanging or protruding adornments.

Simple to manage: Dog coats, sweaters and jackets that are machine washable are easy to maintain and care for. Dog clothes will get dirtier faster compared to human clothes and thus need to be cleaned more frequently. Lana Paws dog clothes are machine washable. Our winter jackets come with fur-proof lining making them easy to clean and dust off!

Correct fit: It's important to purchase the right fit for your dog. Since dogs differ in size even within the same breed due to their weight and built, it's always recommended to measure your dog before choosing the best/closest size as per the size chart. Always measure your dog's back length, neck and chest girth with a double finger gap to choose the best fit. The correct fit will also minimise the risk of an accident. 

Easy to wear: Additionally, you want a product to be easily put on and taken off and to have particular design elements, such as Velcro closures or openings on jackets or leashes that allow access to dog collars.

Water-Resistant: One of the finest things you can do to stay warm is to keep dry. In mountainous places, melted snow or rainfall will be better protected by a dog coat that is water-resistant.


do dogs need winter clothes

  • When it comes to wearing clothes, certain dogs seem to be more accepting while others typically don’t like it. As mentioned above, respect their choice.
  • Choose comfortable materials that breathe. An easier way to determine whether it is comfortable for your dog or not would be to ask yourself, would you put this sweater/jacket on yourself? If the answer is no, then it's not comfortable for your dog either
  • Dogs wearing clothes and any type of accessories should be under observation. Since dogs are not used to wearing clothes, they can easily get stuck or meet with accidents due to their hanging clothes
  • Make sure the attire you choose is constructed of non-toxic, fur-friendly materials and is free of glitter, fragrance, and loose objects that could become a choking hazard for your dog. 
  • The fit should be perfect, neither too tight or loose for your dog. It Is preferable to choose one size larger rather than the other if you can’t locate a size that fits your specific dog. 
  • Before applying it to them, let them sniff it and investigate. Consider wearing it around the home a few times as a test run. In this manner, they can adjust to it and you can ensure their safety.
  • The clothing needs of dogs who are extremely young, aged, or sickly will be higher than young and active dogs

In India, many well-meaning dog lovers clothe street or community dogs in winter months to keep them warm and protected against harsh winters. It's crucial to keep the following points in mind:

  • Never put a jacket/sweater/coat on a street dog you don't see and interact with daily. Dogs, especially the street dogs are not used to wearing clothes and it may lead to serious accidents as they may try to remove it on their own, get stuck or snagged or pull the sweater off another dog to play or fight
  • Must be removed during the day so the dog can sunbathe and allow his fur to breathe. Dogs use their fur to naturally maintain their body temperature
  • Must be removed in rains as it may lead to fever, infections and skin issues
  • It's best to provide a comfy bed and/or a shelter to street dogs to help keep stay warm and cosy 

If you do decide to put a winter coat for your street buddy, especially if they are old or sick, always remember to keep a daily watch to ensure they don't develop any infections or end up in unfortunate accidents. 

Also Read: What to feed your dog in Winters?

Also Read: Winter care tips for dogs


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