As we suit up for winter, it’s important to remember that our furry friends also need an extra layer of protection against the cold. 

We all try our best to support cruelty-free brands that don’t exploit animals for the sake of fashion. So, it only makes sense that we should take the best care possible of our furry friends at home. 

But how do you dress your dog appropriately for winter? Dogs can wear sweaters, jackets, and boots to keep warm in windy, wet weather. 

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about how to dress your dog for winter.

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Do I Have to Dress My Dog for Winter?

do you need to dress dog for winter

Many new pet owners wonder if they must dress their dogs for cold winter weather. The short answer is yes. 

Despite their fur coats, many dogs get cold when the temperature drops and the snow begins to fall. So the most crucial part of dressing your dog for winter is understanding their needs. 

Different Breeds Have Different Needs

dress dog winter breeds

How you dress your dog for winter will depend on a variety of factors. Consider your dog’s breed, age, type of coat, and individual needs when planning their winter wardrobe.

Larger dogs with thicker coats usually don’t need as many layers of heavy-duty insulation during winter. For example, dog breeds like Siberian huskies and chow chows already have dense coats and don’t need much else. 

According to the American Kennel Club, your dog will probably need a winter coat and other gear if they fall into the following categories:

  • Small dogs (20 pounds or less)
  • Senior dogs
  • Dogs with arthritis
  • Dogs with short or thin hair
  • Puppies

Chihuahuas, pugs, and dachshunds are just a few breeds that usually need a jacket or two for winter. 

A Sweater

dress dog winter sweater

A sweater is the simplest way to keep your dog warm during the winter. Dog sweaters are soft, comfortable, and easy to get on and off your dog. They provide a nice layer of insulation that warms them up without overheating.

Sweaters are best for when the weather is brisk but not freezing. The extra layer of warmth will make your dog more comfortable when going for a walk on a windy fall day or a cold, dry winter night. 

Sweaters also work when your dog is lounging around the house or cozying up with you on the couch. 

Sweaters aren’t just for dogs. Check out our favorite organic cotton sweaters for humans. 

A Cute Vest

dress dog winter vest

A vest is a nice in-between for when the weather is chilly but not too cold. It provides coverage without overburdening your dog and limiting their range of motion. 

Putting a vest on your dog before you go out and about can help warm up their core and protect them from the winter weather. Buy a waterproof vest if rain and snow are a concern. 

Dog vests range anywhere from a simple sweater vest to a heavy-duty insulated garment. Explore our favorite sweater vests for humans for shopping inspiration. 

Waterproof Raincoat

dress dog winter raincoat

Investing in a waterproof raincoat is a good idea if you live somewhere that sees a lot of rain and fog. 

Doggie raincoats are usually made of thin materials like recycled polyester to keep your buddy dry without overheating them. Overall, a lightweight rain jacket is an excellent thing to have on hand if you ever have to brave the rain for a much-needed potty break or power walk. 

While you’re at it, you might as well buy a new sustainable raincoat for yourself, too.  

Insulated Jacket

dress dog winter jacket

An insulated jacket is an excellent option if your pup needs an extra boost of warmth. 

Insulated jackets are best for small and short-haired dogs because they usually get colder than their larger, long-haired counterparts. 

Before you go out in the cold winter weather, suit up your dog and make sure the jacket fits snugly and comfortably with their collar and leash in place. 

Check out our selection of puffer jackets so you can be just as warm as your furry friend on your next walk. 

A Snowsuit

dress dog winter snowsuit

When you bust out your warm winter coat, it’s time to do the same for your furry best friend. 

A snowsuit is the most heavy-duty option when dressing your dog for winter. Snowsuits are specially designed to cover your dog’s body and legs, providing the most coverage and warmth possible. 

Dress your dog in a snowsuit if they are going out into below-zero temperatures and have shorter fur coats. 

Remember to remove your dog’s snowsuit as soon as you get inside. Dogs quickly overheat, and their special snowsuit will be way too warm to wear while relaxing inside the house. 

Dog Boots

dress dog winter boots

Dog boots can help protect your dog’s paws from ice, snow, and ice melt. This specialty footwear can also prevent slipping, falling, and potential injury.  

Not all dogs like wearing winter boots. Give your dog some time to get used to wearing them inside, and provide plenty of treats if necessary. If they absolutely refuse to wear them, paw balm works just fine. 

Although dog boots are for protection, there are still plenty of cute and fashionable options out there. Take your dog's look to the next level and shop for a new pair of winter boots for yourself so you can match. 

A Blanket

dress dog winter blankets

Blankets are always good to have on hand for your pup throughout winter. With a few strategically-placed blankets throughout your home, your dog can create a cozy oasis whenever they feel like it. 

Blankets are also important for your dog when they first get back inside from their winter walk. Even if they wear a jacket outside, they still need to warm up afterward.

The best dog blankets are made with fleece or other recycled synthetic fibers

Layer Up for Warmth

dress dog winter layers

Layering with scarves, hats, and coats is an essential part of dressing for winter. The same is true when getting your dog ready for the coldest time of the year. 

Make sure you have plenty of layering options available to accommodate your dog’s needs. For example, leaving several warm blankets out around the house or in the car is an excellent way to ensure your dog always has a warm spot to name. 

When adding layers to your dog’s outfit, consider the outside temperature and your dog’s sensitivity to cold. They might need to wear an insulated jacket over their cotton sweater, or they might be fine with nothing but snow boots on. Every dog is different!

Use Paw Balm

dress dog winter paws

Winter weather can be tough on your dog’s paws. Ice melt and snow can cause their feet to become dry, cracked, and uncomfortable. 

Paw balm can help keep your dog’s paws happy and healthy. Certain wax-based creams also act as a protective layer between your dog’s feet and the harsh winter ground. 

Choose a balm that uses high-quality, organic ingredients. Your dog will inevitably lick their paws after you apply a balm, so only use products specifically made for animals. Dog-safe ingredients like shea butter, argan oil, and coconut oil will work wonders. 

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About the Author: Liz Flynn

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