Does my dog need a coat or a jumper?

When temperatures drop, our minds go straight to winter coats and scarves. So when it gets cold outside, should we be asking, ‘does my dog need a coat or jacket, too?’

It all depends on the breed. When you’ve got a Siberian Husky, the clue is in the name. They join dogs like Malamutes and Chow Chows who were all bred for life in very chilly climates. 

When you haven’t got a dog with a halo of thick fur, these are the ones we think might benefit from having an extra layer, especially if they’re not used to cooler temperatures.

  • Smaller dogs, like Chihuahuas or Italian Greyhounds, find it harder to retain body heat
  • Short coated breeds – think Greyhounds or Whippets – might like more of a snuggle in cooler temperatures
  • Underweight dogs have less body fat and lower muscle density, so find it hard to keep themselves warm
  • Senior dogs can really feel the cold as they struggle to regulate their body temperature
  • Cold weather isn’t great for stiff joints – so if your dog has joint problems or arthritis, a coat that also covers their legs will support their joints
  • If your dog has been unwell, exercise can help with their recovery, so make sure they’re kept nice and cosy if it’s cold outside
  • When it’s freezing cold – we’re talking minus temperatures – or there’s lots of snow, most dogs will benefit from an extra layer of warmth if they’re not used to the cold.
Blue the Lurcher in a jumper

What about dog boots?

It’s true, you can buy boots for your dog! And they’re actually really useful.

If paths feature in your walks, you’ll probably come across grit and salt to stop the pavement from getting icy – this salt can get into your dog’s paw pads, causing irritation. Either make sure you clean their paws when you get them home, or consider investing in a pair of doggy boots.

When it’s really cold outside, and your dog is whining and stopping to lift up their paws when you’re out on a walk, they might have cold feet! Something to protect them will make winter walks a lot more comfortable.

11 thoughts on “Does my dog need a coat or a jumper?”

  1. My little chi-terrier shivers as much as I do (I’m very cold natured) so sweaters are a must for him. So many people just assume that their pets are immune to the cold or that they get used to it! Thanks for sharing and spreading the word.

  2. My cockapoo shivers uncontrollably in the rain so always wears a waterproof coat when it rains. He also has webbed feet and collects snowballs between his toes when it snows. I have never seen boots but they would be good in the snow.

    • Hi Jan,

      Dogs can definitely overheat – it’s much more common in the summer. If you see your dog excessively panting, they might be getting overheated. Keep them cool with lots of water, and stick to the shade if it’s really sunny outside.


  3. My little spaniel shakes with cold especially if she gets wet, so always has a coat on when it’s cold or wet . Jumper at night to keep her cosy.

  4. Totally recommend boots for your woofer, and not just for winter problems. My old collie used to twist his back feet when walking and drive grass seed into his feet. Boots saved me an absolute fortune at the vets. They do walk in them funny for a few days but get used to them very quickly

  5. I have a Labrador I put a coat on her when it rains or if it’s really cold and windy. She doesn’t like it but tolerates it after trying to get it off.
    We live at the coast.
    Seen the boots they would not last five minutes with my lab.

  6. My American Bulldog x Staffordshire Bull Terrier wears a reflective/ waterproof coat on cold / wet days. Gives himself a good shake with it on , but hasn’t managed to get it off yet 🙂.


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