Our dogs are part of our family and we want them to be warm, comfy and happy, so when it comes to winter time, many owners will purchase heavy winter coats for their favourite pouch to stay warm.

Depending on how cold your winter gets, and the breed of your dog, this can be a great thing or maybe a bit of overkill.

Larger breed dogs that are used to the winter and have their natural winter fur coat don’t usually need a coat unless it is bitter or drizzly out there, and then maybe just a lined rain coat or light jacket.  You don’t want to overheat your dog especially if you are exercising him at the dog park or running around the block, but getting chilled from cold rain is not good either.

It is best to get a winter dog coat that fits properly and is not too tight, and mostly covering their back where if they get really wet will not keep them warm.  But many people will suit up their dogs in snowsuits so big they can barely walk or do their business and they look like a blown up inner tube that just sits there!

Winter at the Dog ParkCredit: www.abrushwiththepast.com

If you have a short haired breed or smaller dog that can’t take the severe winter temperatures then getting a coat for the winter is a good idea.   I know my larger dog is a husky/shepard/perinese cross, and she would rip a coat off in a few seconds.  She loves to roll in the snow and puddles, and her breed is geared for the winter months, so for her a coat is not really a necessity. 

But my friend has a short haired dog, which is quite large but he shivers as soon as that temperature drops like a rock, so you have to gauge your pet.  If you do a lot of outdoor activities then getting him a good waterproof fleeced lined jacket is a good idea. 

If you live in town where the sidewalks get salted, then it wouldn’t hurt to get them used to winter boots.  But once again you should not over dress your pouch to the point of overheating or they don’t want to walk.

So, unless your dog has no hair, stay away from the “puffy tire” looking coats that are much too large, and get him or her a coat that fits well but is not too tight or too loose so that he can still run and play.  The coat should not stop movement.  

dog coats for winterCredit: amazon.com
Zack & Zoey Nor'Easter Blanket Coat, X-Large, Orange
Amazon Price: $32.99 $16.58 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 13, 2016)

Blanket Coat for Larger Dogs

If you have a large dog with short fur, then getting him a blanket style coat will help to keep the chill out.  You don’t have to go big and puffy for them to be warm.  Just that extra layer can make all the difference, and you want them to be able to still run.

This particular coat has a waterproof outer shell and a soft blanket lining, to give them extra warmth.  Remember once your dog starts running you don't need him to get over heated and try to rip it off.  But this will take the chill out and is easy to take off and put on.

dog winter coatCredit: amazon.com

Lightweight Ski Jacket for Smaller Poochies

The smaller dogs can get cold quite easily, but being holed up in the house the entire winter is not an option either, so getting them a style of coat that keeps their back and shoulders warm will help.  Once again don't allow the dog jacket to be too big and puffy, but just something they can slip on and go for their walks or runs at the park, or even just out back.

dog sweater coatCredit: amazon.com

Dog Sweater Hoodie Jacket

I have a friend who uses a dog sweater and says it makes all the difference having just a light layer.  If it is not raining, and simply a cold day and your dog doesn’t mind, then a sweater may be all they need, plus they are pretty flexible, which allows them to run and play without being hindered by the jacket.

dog jacketsCredit: amazon.com
Orvis Buffalo Check Dog Jacket, X Large
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of Jan 13, 2016)

Fleece Dog Jacket - Easy to Put on and Wear

This style is especially nice for the larger dog.  You don’t have to put their legs through any restrictive sleeves, just basically clip it on quickly.  When you go out for your walk or run it can be taken off just as quick if your dog gets overheated. 

A larger dog will get used to this style easily, and it gives them that extra layer of warmth on those cold blustery days.  Stay away from anything too restrictive especially for a larger dog that can take larger strides when walking or running.

Dog BootsCredit: amazon.com

Dog Boots for Winter

Most dogs are not thrilled with anything on their feet, but if you live in a very cold climate and especially if you live in town or the city, the sidewalks get salted to keep them from icing up.  This is great for you walking, but it can be harsh on the pads of your dog.

Some dogs are not bothered, but many dogs have serious issues with salt burns, so getting them to wear winter boots might be the answer to this problem.   Some dogs also get hardened pieces of ice between their toes which can be very painful and cut them. 

If you let your dog out to play and he is constantly lifting a foot off the ground, this is a good sign that either it is too cold for his feet or ice has balled up between his toes and he may needs boots.  

Make Your Own Dog Boots

You can purchase brand name dog boots online, just make sure you have the right size, or you can also try making them yourself.  YouTube has many videos on the subject, such as the one above.

Making our dogs comfy is very important, so take the time to decide if your pet needs a dog winter coat, and if he does, the best type that would suit him.  The more active he is the more likely he won’t need anything too heavy.  Get the right size and don’t let winter get in the way of some outdoor walks and fun.