Just as we humans get cold in chilly weather, your dog may, too. And while Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, other northern breeds, and dogs with dense coats may be just fine in winter, short-haired, small, and light-bodied breeds could use an extra layer of protection. Old or infirm dogs may not tolerate the cold well, either. Luckily, there are dozens of types and styles of dog sweaters to choose from, so your pup can be warm and fashionable.
Choosing the Right Dog Sweater
Consider the material. Wool is very warm and provides great insulation. However, it may require hand washing or be itchy on some dogs. There are acrylic and wool-blend dog sweaters that provide plenty of warmth, while still being soft and easy to care for.
You know the old saying “measure twice and cut once”? Take just as much care measuring for dog clothing as you would for your own clothes. Measure around his neck, the deepest part of his chest, and his length. You’ll also want to make sure that the leg openings aren’t constrictive and allow for freedom of movement. A dog sweater should be snug, but not too tight.
Look for a sweater that’s easy to get on and off. Walks shouldn’t have to begin with a struggle to get your dog dressed. Some sweaters have Velcro, buttons, or other means of closure, but make sure there’s nothing he can chew off the sweater.
Keeping these pointers in mind, you can get creative when it comes to color and style. Unless your dog fancies himself a runway model, he won’t care how you deck him out. He’ll just be glad for the attention and the warmth!
Overall Best Dog Jacket
Fall means cooler temperatures and the approach of winter. We love this all-purpose dog coat, which is both warm and fashionable. The coat is reversible so your dog can add variety to their wardrobe! This item comes in sizes XXS-4XL and eight different color combinations, so you’re guaranteed to find the right fit for your pup. Price: $14-25
Overall Best Dog Sweater
If you’re a wool purist, this 100 percent wool boyfriend dog sweater is just the thing. It’s made using organic plant dyes and following fair trade guidelines. As a bonus: it’s pretty good-looking and good for both small and large dogs! The sweater comes in eight different sizes. Price: $19-30
Best Dog Winter Coat for Snow
Perfect if you have a dog that spends lots of time outside on hikes and walks in the snow, this jacket is both reversible and water-resistant. In nine colors and five sizes, the jacket can be worn alone or with your pup’s favorite sweater for added warmth. These coats are specifically designed with active dogs in mind. Price: $25-33
Best Holiday Dog Sweater
In more than a dozen styles and six sizes, this highly-rated, machine-washable sweater is a top choice for dog lovers. The soft sweater comes with a hole for leashes or harnasses so you can take your dog on a walk with ease. Price: $19-23
Best Budget Dog Sweatshirt
Made of polyester fleece, this dog sweater comes in eight colors and five sizes. It’s easy to get on and off, and the hood will protect your dog’s head and ears from the cold. Not only is the sweater durable and functional, it comes at a budget price as well. Price: $11-13
Do Dogs Really Need Sweaters?
Just like humans wearing a winter coat, long-haired dogs can stay safe for a period of time in extreme cold, but eventually, the cold temperature will become dangerous. Dog owners and their veterinarians will know best what is required in winter based on climate, dog breed, age, and the health of a particular dog. Breeds with thick coats generally do not require cold weather protection for short periods of time, whereas short-haired breeds will be more comfortable with a winter sweater and booties.
Signs of Early Hypothermia in Dogs Include:
- Cold ears and feet
- Rapid breathing
- Increase in urination
- Hair standing on ends
Keeping Your Dog Safe and Warm This Winter
In addition to purchasing a dog sweater and/or jacket, you will want to purchase dog boots to protect your pup’s paws. Snow, ice, and sidewalk salt can all hurt the sensitive paw pads of most dogs. Consider investing in paw balm and a warm towel as well.