Winter Weather Gear for Dogs

October 17, 2022
By: Adriana Valle

Winter weather gear for dogs is no longer a specialty market. Various stores in the Old Saybrook Shopping Center, including HomeGoods, now carry dog coats, dog sweaters, and more. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of cute fall and winter weather gear for dogs but is it really necessary?

Consider Your Dog’s Fur or Hair

Dogs come in a variety of “coats,” which refers to their hair or fur. Hairless dogs are the most likely to need protection from the elements when temperatures drop and/or precipitation is likely.  Wire and double-coated dogs are on the other end of the spectrum and likely need the least amount of protection from the elements because their coats tend to keep them warm and dry in rough conditions. Somewhere in between, lie long and curly-haired dogs, which often require a great deal of grooming. Because of their long and/or curly locks, these dogs may benefit from a winter coat or jacket to keep debris out of their hair and protect their hair from becoming tangled in ice, snow, and salt.

Consider Age, Weight & Height

Puppies and older dogs will be more sensitive to drops in temperature and rises in humidity. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, “a puppy will lose far more body heat per pound of body weight than an adult dog.” In seniors and geriatric dogs, especially those with significant weight loss due to illnesses or degenerative conditions, their reduced body mass makes them more likely to feel cold this time of year. For these reasons, protecting puppies and older dogs from the elements will not only keep them comfortable but could help them remain healthy in extreme conditions. 

Also, keep in mind that smaller dogs are closer to the ground, which can make them colder and wetter than a taller dog. For this reason, it’s more common to see winter gear for dogs in small sizes rather than large ones. Impermeable coats are ideal for shorter dogs because it keeps their bellies dry and warm.

Consider Activities & Materials

A most basic consideration when purchasing winter weather gear for dogs is how active the dog is and whether or not they need protection from the elements based on their usual activities. A dog that only goes out for a quick potty a few times a day may not need much protection. However, a dog that joins their family when hiking and camping likely needs specialty gear to ensure their comfort and safety.

Also, consider that a cotton or wool sweater will not protect from the elements on a rainy or snowy day. In fact, a wet sweater can make pets colder and, therefore, more susceptible to cold injury. The best bet is to have a few options for winter weather gear in varying materials on hand when the weather can be unpredictable.

Consider Your Dog’s Comfort

Finally, when shopping for winter weather gear for dogs, avoid purchasing the “cute” items if you’re giving up functionality and comfort. While pretty colors and patterns are pleasing to the eye, the priority should be the materials with which the gear is made, proper sizing, and ease of use. If putting the item on is a nightmare, the chances your dog will want to wear it are slim. If the pet is uncomfortable because the item is too large or too small, they will likely be reluctant to wear it. And, if your pet dislikes wearing any kind of gear, you’ll have to do a good amount of positive association training OR plan your activities based on their reluctance to embrace necessary gear.

shoreline happy paws logo 2023

Here at Shoreline Happy Paws, we love pet-specific gear that keeps pets warm, dry, and comfortable during our walks and hiking adventures. If you have questions about our services, company, or favorite gear, please contact us contact us at or 860-964-0464.

By Adriana Valle

Adriana is the owner and Chief Pet-Loving Officer at Shoreline Happy Paws. She has been a Professional Pet Sitter for over 10 years.

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