As the weather starts to get colder, you may be wondering about how to allow your furry friend to still have fun outdoors. Protecting them from the dangers of extreme winter weather is a priority, and their fur may not always provide the level of insulation they need. 

dog in a sweater

You may have considered purchasing a jacket or sweater for your pooch as a way to keep them safe and warm while spending time in the cold. However, you may also be wondering if it is necessary to layer up your dog as you’re layering up yourself in preparation for exposure to the elements. 

You can use the following information to determine if your dog could benefit from having some cold-weather gear, and you can also learn some tips on picking out the right puppy parka or sweater.

Does My Dog Need Warm Clothing?

As cute as your furry friends may look in jackets and sweaters, your dog probably doesn’t need a coat or jacket, especially for short jaunts in the backyard or around the block. In fact, there are several breeds, like Alaskan Malamutes or Siberian Huskies, whose fur coats are designed to help keep them warm in cold weather. Even if your dog isn’t one of the above-mentioned breeds, many large dogs with thick coats will be perfectly fine to spend a few minutes outdoors. 

However, when deciding about providing your dog with warm clothing, you will want to take into account the size of your dog, the breed of your dog, and the temperature outside. Though most dogs will be well protected by their fur, some dogs do need an extra layer of protection between their bodies and the cold. 

Here are some special cases where winter clothing may be necessary:

  • Small Dogs — Small dogs, like chihuahuas and French Bulldogs, have a bigger surface area to volume ratio, meaning that they may have trouble producing and retaining enough body heat to keep themselves warm when in weather below 40°F.
  • Short-Haired Breeds — If your dog has short fur, they may have a harder time keeping themselves warm. This may be especially pronounced if your dog is from a region that generally doesn’t get cold, such as a chihuahua or an Italian greyhound.
  • Short-Legged Dogs — If your dog has short enough legs that their bellies may touch snow and ice when they go outside, then it’s advisable to get them some cold-weather clothing. Even dogs that have thick fur, like Corgis, may need jackets on days when it’s particularly snowy.
  • Groomed Dogs — Some dogs may have naturally thick coats that are groomed to prevent issues like matting, such as Poodles. Since they are no longer getting the full protection that their fur coat would otherwise offer, it may be a good idea to provide them with some additional layering.
  • Senior Dogs — No matter the breed, if your dog has issues that may be made worse by the cold, such as arthritis or an auto-immune condition, having a coat handy for them may make them more comfortable in cold conditions. As dogs age, they are less able to regulate their body temperature, and even dogs with thick coats may benefit from and be more comfortable with extra warmth.

It is worth noting that dogs generally do not need to wear their clothing items once they are back inside. Wearing their jackets or sweaters in a heated house can cause them to overheat, as well as cause irritation or chaffing to their skin. 

If you are still unsure about good clothing options for your pet, it is always best to consult your veterinarian for advice.

How Can I Choose the Best Sweater for My Dog?

If you’ve decided that your dog could benefit from some extra warmth when going outside during the colder months, you may be wondering how to pick the best sweater or jacket for them. 

Here are some important things to consider when looking to find the best outer layer for your pup:


You need to consider warmth, practicality, and comfort when choosing a sweater or jacket for your canine friend. 

For instance, wool may be the warmest material but may need to be washed frequently, and it could even be itchy for your dog. However, cotton and acrylic blends may not provide as much warmth but are generally much easier to maintain. Consider these tradeoffs, and look closely at the tag or product description of any clothing you buy.


Just as humans need to fit comfortably in their clothes, your pup will need to comfortably fit into their new outer layer. 

You may want to take measurements of your dog so that you can be sure that the clothing will fit them nicely. You want it to be snug without being tight, but not loose enough for your dog to pull it off. You don’t want it to drag on the ground, as it may become caught in something, creating distress for both you and your furry friend.

Few Accessories

When choosing a good sweater or jacket for your pup, you’ll want to examine it to make sure there aren’t many zippers, hooks, or buttons. 

While these accoutrements may make the jackets look cuter, they can also be chewed off and cause a choking hazard for your dog. Some jackets may have places where you can hook a leash, but these jackets should only be worn under direct supervision and taken off as soon as possible once the outdoor outing is over.

Send Your Furry Friend to Greenlin Pet Resort

If you are worried about your pet getting the exercise and socialization they need during cold weather, contact Greenlin Pet Resorts. With five convenient locations in Central Pennsylvania, a trip to Greenlin Pet Resorts is a safe and fun way for your pets to get the care they need when the weather is less-than-ideal. With climate-controlled indoor play gyms and lots of fun activities available, your pup can get the exercise, socialization, and stimulation they need to feel fulfilled, even on the chilliest of days.

Greenlin Pet Resorts offer both dog daycare and longer-term pet boarding options for you and your dog. Contact us today to schedule a time to meet with our friendly and knowledgeable staff, so we can start making memories with your sweet pup!