Do dogs need coats in the rain?

Most dogs don’t really need to wear a rain jacket or rain boots when going on walks, but there are some breeds that benefit from wearing raincoats, like short-haired dogs, who typically don’t have a thick undercoat to protect them from the cold of the rain. Think Boston terriers, boxers, and French bulldogs.

The Hurtta Torrent Coat and Hurtta Summit Parka, our upgrade picks, were no longer available. We’ll revisit our picks when we next update this guide. Consider Hurttas Expedition Parka in the interim, which offers a comparable style perfect for winter weather to our retired picks.

A walk in chilly, rainy weather with your dog can be uncomfortable for your best friend. Whether they’re outside for a pee break or a prolonged session at the dog run, a warm, waterproof jacket will ensure they stay comfortable and dry. We examined 10 dog jackets for insulation, waterproofing, warmth, and comfort in order to determine the best winter coat. The best dog coat for cold weather is the WeatherBeeta 300D Deluxe Reflective Parka because it is waterproof, well-insulated, long-lasting, simple to put on, and adjustable to fit dogs of all different shapes and sizes.

In all but the worst weather, the WeatherBeeta sits safely and will keep a dog warm and dry. It is available in sizes that are closely sized to fit dogs between 12 inches and 32 inches in length, in 2-inch increments.

The WeatherBeeta jacket is available in sizes to fit dogs as small as terriers or as large as Great Danes. In our tests, it remained securely in place throughout vigorous play sessions because of loops that go around the dog’s rear legs. Compared to jackets that cost twice as much, the WeatherBeeta kept our pets dry and warm.

This design will keep your dog dry without overheating if you live somewhere that is both wet and not overly cold. There are six sizes available to fit dogs with chest girths ranging from 13 to 42 inches.

When it’s very rainy but not extremely cold, like when you’re walking in the Pacific Northwest and don’t want your dog to get wet, the Ruffwear Sun Shower is ideal. Although it doesn’t actually provide any insulation, it stays put very well and will keep your dog dry even in heavy rain.

In all but the worst weather, the WeatherBeeta sits safely and will keep a dog warm and dry. It is available in sizes that are closely sized to fit dogs between 12 inches and 32 inches in length, in 2-inch increments.

This design will keep your dog dry without overheating if you live somewhere that is both wet and not overly cold. There are six sizes available to fit dogs with chest girths ranging from 13 to 42 inches.

For the past four years, I’ve reviewed technology for the FanSided network and other websites, helped and hindered by my two Lab mixes, Kaylee and Inara. Due to their intense love of mud, snow, puddles, and other inclement weather activities, they provided their professional assessments of the jackets’ suitability for long outdoor play sessions. Long walks, hikes, and dog park runs were used to test the jackets. I also asked a large chocolate Lab and a bichon frise about the sizes of the jackets.

For this guide, I interviewed Dr. Learn more about dog safety in cold and wet weather from Kayla Fratt of Journey Dog Training in Denver and Lori Bierbrier, medical director for the ASPCA’s Community Medicine division. We talked about which dog breeds and types were more likely to require jackets and what circumstances might necessitate their use. I looked into a variety of dog jackets before testing, focusing on owner evaluations and discussions as our testing pool grew.

Your dog may need to wear a coat if you live somewhere cold and wet and want to take it outside for more than just a quick bathroom break. Additionally, as adorable as little bumblebee costumes are, they are insufficient in the rain and snow. We examined dog coats specifically made for inclement weather, such as those that keep dogs warm in the winter, dry in the rain, and both during extended outdoor activities.

According to Dr. According to Lori Bierbrier of the ASPCA, a dog’s need for a jacket depends significantly on its breed, size, shape, and length of fur in addition to other factors. At northern latitudes, jackets can be beneficial all year round for smaller, short-haired dogs like Chihuahuas. A husky may enjoy dressing up, but most likely doesn’t require an insulating coat. Consult your veterinarian if you’re unsure whether your dog needs a jacket for the weather where you live.

Whatever jacket you get, it should be waterproof. If it’s raining or snowing, dogs with thick coats can quickly become wet. This can cause an already cold animal to become even colder, increasing their risk of hypothermia. A waterproof outer layer may be best for wet climates because a wet coat may be worse than having none at all, as Bierbrier cautioned. “Dogs with thick, warm coats might not require a jacket for warmth, but you might want to use one anyway. It could prevent you from having to spend a lot of time drying and brushing your dog after a walk.

Consult your veterinarian if you’re unsure whether your dog needs a jacket for the weather where you live.

According to Kayla Fratt of Journey Dog Training, a dog jacket can also be advantageous for your dog’s physical and mental health if you live in an area where cold and wet weather conditions are a regular part of the seasons. Inclement weather may tempt a dog owner to keep a dog inside more frequently, but Fratt warned us that skipping routine walks and playtime could stress a dog out. A jacket allows for longer walks and outdoor play sessions. Fratt emphasized the importance of wearing dog boots when the ground is chilly or salty.

A well-fitting jacket is also something that Bierbrier and Fratt both mentioned. Poorly fitting jackets can cause a dog’s chafing or even cause injury in addition to failing to keep them warm and dry. Most dog jacket manufacturers provide a sizing chart based on measurements of length (collar to tail), girth (around your dog’s widest part behind the front legs), and occasionally weight.

In cold weather, insulated jackets are great for dogs, but you might not want to use them for vigorous exercise in just cool temperatures. During our testing, we observed that when the temperature was in the 50s, our dogs became fatigued and uneasy in heavy jackets (such as our now-discontinued top pick, the Summit Parka). Avoid using a cold-weather jacket for prolonged periods of time in temperatures above freezing without first consulting your veterinarian to prevent your dog from overheating. Instead, opt for a lightweight raincoat, and keep an eye on your dog whenever it is donning a jacket.

For this buying guide, we avoided fashion dog jackets because they frequently make use of flimsy materials, aren’t waterproof or machine-washable, and don’t provide enough insulation. Instead, we concentrated on models that are useful for the cold and wet weather. We compiled a list of jackets that were well-liked, from reputable brands, had positive reviews, and were easily accessible from a variety of retailers. Based on these standards, we reduced our list of jackets to ten by looking for models with the following qualities and characteristics:

Most of our testing was done with two spirited Lab mixes. Together, they engaged in several spirited games that allowed us to evaluate each jacket’s strength, comfort, and fit as well as its resistance to another dog’s best efforts to remove it. In the cooler months, we also took them on extended strolls through parks and along hiking trails. Throughout these excursions, we kept an eye out for any discomfort or movement restrictions. After each activity, we checked each dog for any rashes, burns, or other indications that the jacket wasn’t fitted properly. We also looked the jackets over for wear or damage.

We placed the jackets overnight in near-freezing temperatures while they were wrapped around 20-liter water bags at a temperature of about 100 degrees Fahrenheit to test insulation. We took readings every 15 minutes from Sen. use the jackets’ internal Peanut Bluetooth thermometers to track the rate of heat loss. This test does not accurately reflect your dog’s actual temperature after a few hours in near-freezing conditions because dogs tend not to be water-bag shaped and produce their own heat, but it does demonstrate the relative insulation of each coat.

We put each coat on a dog and then sprayed the dog with a hose (one of their favorite games) to see how much water got through and where. This allowed us to determine how waterproof each coat was. We also let the dogs play in the muddy grass and run through the drenched bushes. However, as long as it’s the right size, a good jacket should be able to keep the pet’s core warm and dry regardless of the dog’s shape, and it should stay in place while the dog is running and jumping. How much of the dog a jacket covers depends somewhat on the shape of the dog and the coat.

We put the jackets through a shower as the second waterproofing test. We briefly sprayed each jacket to test its general water repellency, and then we submerged it in water for five minutes to see how it would fare in extremely wet conditions. Most dog owners won’t leave their dog in a pouring downpour, so we gave some wiggle room for everyday jackets. However, if you need a jacket for hours of walking your dog through the woods, it must be waterproof to keep your dog warm and dry.

We soaked the dog jackets in vinegar water (for the smell), dragged them through the mud, and then put them through the washer and dryer on the suggested settings to see how simple it was to clean them. We then double-checked that they remained waterproof and weren’t damaged during the cleaning by washing them all several times and checking to see if the wash had removed the stains and smell. We put the jacket through several cycles in the dryer if it could go there to see if the drying process damaged the waterproofing. We hung jackets that called for hang drying right after the wash cycle and checked them every hour to determine a drying time.

When attachments or additional features like reflective trim were present, we made sure they functioned as intended, weren’t harmed by typical dog behavior, and didn’t get in the dog’s way by becoming chew toys or snagging on objects.

Breeds that might need a dog raincoat

If a dog might need a dog raincoat, it depends on more than just their natural coat. Toy breeds and short-coated breeds, which are frequently known for being lean and/or muscular, may find it more difficult to produce enough heat to stay warm in cold or wet weather. Examples of these breeds include Yorkshire terriers and chihuahuas. Whippets, Greyhounds, and “bully” breeds, such as American Pit Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers, are susceptible to becoming chilled in damp weather, especially when not participating in strenuous athletic activity.

In wet weather, young puppies may also struggle to stay warm. Any dog with a compromised immune system is more susceptible to illness when exposed to prolonged wet weather, and older dogs with arthritic joints are more likely to feel uncomfortable when cold.

Your dog’s breed

Some dog breeds have naturally oily, water-repellent coats, so they won’t require a raincoat. They may or may not still find one comfortable, but wearing a raincoat won’t have any positive effects on their health. These breeds include:

  • Golden retriever
  • Labrador retriever
  • Newfoundland
  • Otterhound
  • Portuguese water dog
  • Other breeds, especially smaller ones, are very likely to require a jacket to keep warm and dry. Because of their small bodies’ inability to produce enough heat on their own, miniature and teacup breeds are particularly prone to developing the chills. Even if they are larger in size, lean, even muscular breeds can experience the same effects. These dogs include the greyhound, whippet, and Weimaraner.

    Lower-to-the-ground dogs can also benefit from a raincoat, but they need one that covers their chest, stomach, and back as well. Shorter breeds like corgis and basset hounds may be too close to the ground while outside during a downpour, getting their bodies wet.

    However, Horowitz notes that dogs are also masters of mixed signals. For example, your dog may wag his tail happily as you put on a raincoat or he may cower from it and curl his tail between his legs. He may also appear disheveled after a rainy walk without a coat but then take great pleasure in vigorously shaking off the water. Horowitz looks to the dog’s evolutionary ancestor to determine the dog’s true feelings regarding that possibly plaid, possibly tartan-patterned raincoat:

    Understanding the umwelt, or the subjective reality in which each creature lives, and how it shapes the meaning of things for that creature is important when it comes to issues like a dog’s raincoat or interpersonal relationships between people. Horowitz writes:

    In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy’s Levin observes his dog Laska one evening and finds in her behavior a “token of all now being well and satisfactory,” mirroring the “blissful repose” he so desires in his own life. “she opened her mouth a little, smacked her lips, and settling her sticky lips more comfortably about her old teeth, she sank into blissful repose,” Tolstoy writes. Although it has resulted in some great literature, such as Mary Oliver’s sublime Dog Songs and an entire canon of high-brow comics, our tendency to anthropomorphize our devoted canine companions and project on them our own experiences and intentions is something cognitive scientist Alexandra Horowitz admonishes against with great elegance and rigor in Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know (public library).

    However, this illustrates the broader solipsism of the Golden Rule in its traditional formulation, which calls for us to treat other human animals as we would like for them to treat us. This goes beyond a simple evolutionary curiosity or reality check for our relationship with our beloved pets. Instead of treating others according to the personal ideals we subscribe to ourselves, true compassion necessitates that we seek to understand them so that we can do for them what they would like done, as Karen Armstrong has written in her magnificent treatise on the subject.

    Horowitz, a self-described “dog person” and “lover of dogs,” who also works as the director of Barnard University’s Dog Cognition Lab where she studies dogs in play, makes a particular and utterly fascinating argument against the use of doggie raincoats:


    Should a dog wear a rain coat?

    Raincoats have the very obvious but significant advantage of keeping your dog dry. Preventing your dog from getting wet while outside is essential, especially as we head into these colder months.

    At what temperature does a dog need a coat?

    Do Dogs Need Winter Coats? They just might. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), even dogs with thick coats can develop hypothermia or frostbite in freezing temperatures. If the temperature is in the mid-40s Fahrenheit / 4. If the temperature is 4 degrees Celsius or lower, that pet needs to be dressed.

    How do you know if your dog needs a coat?

    When it feels at or below 32°F (0°C), small or thin-furred breeds, puppies, and senior dogs will typically need a winter coat. Once the temperature drops below 20°F (-6. No matter what breed of dog you have, keep a close eye on them for symptoms of discomfort in the cold (below 6°C).