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Chihuahua in a Winter Coat

With unusually cold weather across much of the country, daily dog walks may be more uncomfortable than ever, for both human and canine. Even if you’ve never used a coat for your dog before, as you bundle yourself up to go outside, consider whether your dog needs some protection from the cold, as well.

As a general rule of thumb, large dogs with thick, dense coats are well protected from the cold. This includes Northern breeds, like Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies, with fur coats genetically designed to keep them warm. But there are dogs that need to be protected from extreme weather.

  • Small, toy, and miniature shorthaired breeds, like Chihuahuas and French Bulldogs. These small pups can’t easily generate and retain enough body heat to keep themselves warm.
  • Dogs that sit low to the ground. Although breeds like Pembroke Welsh Corgis, for example, have thick coats, their bellies sit low enough to the ground to brush against snow and ice.
  • Breeds that typically have long hair but are clipped or shorn, like Poodles. Grooming may alter the natural protection of their coats.
  • Lean-bodied breeds with short hair, like Greyhounds and Whippets, should also be protected from the cold.
  • Senior dogs are prone to conditions that may require a winter coat, such as arthritis or a weakened immune system. Heat regulation may decline with age, making even a thick-coated dog uncomfortable in the cold.

Once you’ve determined that your dog needs a winter coat, look for a coat that protects his neck and belly. It should extend from the base of his neck to his tail, without being so long that it would make bathroom stops problematic. You’ll want a coat that fits snugly without being tight. Clothing should never restrict your dog’s movement.

Here are some coats in different styles and materials that are sure to keep your canine BFF warm and comfortable when temperatures drop.

Reversible Bone Dog Puffer

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Puffers are back in style (or never went out of style), so why shouldn’t your dog be both warm and fashionable? This puffer has poly fill and an adjustable bellyband. Bonus: it’s reversible — two coats in one.

Reflective Dog Parka

Made of high-visibility fabric that’s also waterproof, this coat makes nighttime winter walks safer, as well as warmer. It’s got reflective strips for added safety and a high collar to keep your dog toasty.

Casual Quilted Jacket

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With a water-repellent surface, padded lining, a wide bellyband, and high collar, this coat is tailor-made for hairless and shorthaired dogs.

Fleece Cold Weather Coat

If it’s not quite the polar vortex outside, or if you keep your house on the cool side, this fleece pullover is a versatile choice. It’s great for small and shorthaired dogs that may be uncomfortably chilly when other dogs are just fine. And it comes in great colors!

Wool and Shearling Dog Coat

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Go for the lumberman (or hipster) look while keeping your dog toasty warm. The coat is 100 percent wool with shearling lining, pockets, and some nice leather detailing. As a bonus, it’s machine washable.

Padded Coat for Small Dogs

Made just for little guys, this padded coat has a leash attachment, water-resistant fabric, and a zipper closure with a fur guard to prevent fur from being stuck in the zipper.

Extreme Warmer Dog Coat

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If your dog is the adventurous outdoor type, regardless of weather, this winter coat has the features he needs: thermal insulation, reflective foil to keep his neck warm, breathable waterproof lining, and construction that protects important muscle groups. It even has a hood.

Cold Weather Hoodie

It’s hard to keep a dog’s ears and head warm in cold weather, which is why this water-repellent hoodie is a good solution. It’s lined with fleece and has an extra-wide bellyband to keep his underside warm and dry.