Do Dogs Need Sweaters In The Winter?


You may notice there are times when the weather in your area is cold and your dog is reluctant to go outdoors. You may keep the temperature inside your home during winter on a low setting and notice your dog seems uncomfortable. Both of these situations indicate you dog is bothered by the cold temperature.

Some dog breeds such as the Siberian Husky, St. Bernard and Alaskan Malamute have wonderful thick coats and are happy to be in the cold. If you put a sweater on one of these dogs with the thick coat they would be uncomfortable. In fact, they may even become overheated.

Dogs with shorter hair and small or thin body types such as a Greyhound, terrier or Chihuahua will need to be protected from the cold.

Dogs who are older may have weaker immune systems and dogs suffering from medical conditions such as arthritis can benefit from a sweater or jacket to produce warmth so they feel more comfortable.

Poodles who have natural thick hair, but are often groomed to keep the hair from matting, can feel more comfortable in the cold with a sweater.

When you purchase a sweater be sure it fits properly. You don’t want clothing the dog can catch on something or drag on the ground. You don’t want a sweater or jacket the dog can remove by himself. What you do want is a sweater or jacket that fits snug on your dog. You want to be able to put on and take the garment off your dog easily.


The sweater or jacket should be made of a material that is warm and comfortable. Wool is warm but it may feel scratchy to the dog. A blended fabric may be more comfortable to the dog. You want to be able to wash and dry the clothing as needed.

You do not want the dog to be able to chew and swallow any hooks, buttons, zippers or tags. Some dog clothing comes with a hook for the lease and you need to be sure the dog cannot chew this. Whenever the dog is not being supervised any clothing should be removed.

To find the proper size clothing for your dog measure around the neck and the largest part of the chest. The sweater length should end at the dog’s waist. It helps to be aware of the dog’s weight when deciding on the right size sweater or jacket to purchase.

Dogs usually like the attention they receive when having clothing put on or off. They truly do not care about the color of the sweater they are wearing.

If your dog likes wearing his coat or sweater in cold weather then by all means dress him. If the dog shows signs of stress when you try to cloth him then do not put a sweater or jacket on him.

If your dog prefers not to wear clothing and does not have his own thick coat of hair you can try spending shorter periods of time outdoors at more frequent intervals.

Some dogs will even wear boots in winter to protect their paws. This will prevent the dog from licking harmful chemicals from his paws. Again, be sure to remove the boots as soon as you come indoors and do not leave the dog alone when he is wearing the boots.

Take your cue on clothing your dog from the animal himself. If it makes the dog comfortable let him wear a sweater or jacket. If the dog indicates he does not like it then forget about clothing for him.