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When the temperature starts to drop and you're ready for your own winter coat, consider also whether or not your dog might need a jacket for the cold. True, your dog has a fur coat that they wear all the time, but there are many breeds that don't necessarily have all the insulation they need for extreme weather.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, short-haired and short-legged breeds are more likely to have lower tolerance for cold, while young dogs, old dogs, and pets with health conditions may need more help regulating their body temperature.
“Canine clothes like coats can mean your dog stays outside longer without getting uncomfortable,” veterinary surgeon Linda Simon told The Spruce Pets. “A good dog coat will allow them to stay dry and warm regardless of external conditions.”
Looking for a suitable dog jacket for your dog can be a little overwhelming, especially with different insulation and water resistance options, so we have assembled the best dog jackets for keeping your pup warm this winter.
Best Overall: Wau Dog World's Lightest Warm Jacket For Dogs
Available in several fun, bright colors
Fits to sizing guide
Lightweight and warm
Folds up into a compact carrying case
Fits snuggly so dogs can’t pull it off
Provides chest protection
No opening for leash hook
Zips from neck to tail, which is difficult with squiggly dogs
Doesn’t provide protection for back legs
Zipper on bottom
Available in a myriad of bright colors, this Wau Dog jacket is a comfortable, fashionable, and functional choice that will suit most dogs. It’s fully reversible, windproof, water resistant, and designed to insulate your dog from the cold—all while being so well fitted that your dog will forget they’re wearing it. It won’t restrict their movement as they walk or run, nor will it flap in the wind during zoomies. Plus, it’s super lightweight and folds up into a carrying case that you can stick in your bag or tie to your dog’s leash, making it easy to keep on hand.
Best Budget: Boots & Barkley Color Block Option Dog Puffer
Puffer coat with sherpa-like lining to lock in warmth
Available in two bright colored options
Slit for leash attachment
Easy to put on
Doesn’t provide a lot of chest coverage
Big differences between sizes
Available in blue-green or pink-purple, this affordably priced puffer coat is a breeze to put on your pup, plus it won’t restrict their movement when they run or walk. Though it doesn’t provide much protection on the tummy, the Boots & Barkley Dog Puffer does feature solid neck and back protection. Easy accessibility—including a stitched hole in the back of the jacket to run your leash through—makes this a convenient starter jacket, but it may not offer enough coverage for extremely cold days.
Best Puffer: Gooby Padded Vest Solid
Available in 12 bright colors
Built-in D-Ring leash attachment
Double-layered to provide extra warmth
Zipper-guard to protect against pinches
Fast-drying and water-resistant
Back runs a little long on small dogs
Snap button on neck loosens over time
Rather than a pass-through slit for your dog's leash, the Gooby Padded Vest has a built-in D-ring, making it a jacket that can double as a harness. Providing ample coverage for your dog's core, the Gooby vest is double-lined, with water-resistant nylon on the outside and comfy fleece on the inside. Its step-in design, with the zipper on the back, also makes it easy to put on your dog.
The Gooby Padded Vest comes in five sizes and 12 colors.
Best Fleece: Pendleton National Park Dog Coat
Stylish, classic National Park fabrics
Warm and soft
Slit for easy leash attachment
Adjustable velcro around dog’s mid-section
Sizing runs large
Back can flip up when dog runs
Easy for dogs to slip off on their own
Stylish and warm, the Pendleton National Park Dog Coat comes in patterns inspired by the National Parks system, including Glacier, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Badlands, Crater Lake, Olympic, Yosemite, and other national parks. While the material is warm, with polyester polar fleece on the outside and quilted cotton on the inside, the design is more like a camp blanket than a jacket, with substantial coverage on your dog's back, but only a hook-and-loop closure holding it to your pet.
The Pendleton National Park Dog Coat comes in five sizes and is machine washable.
Best Splurge: Ruffwear Powder Hound Jacket
Form-fiting, heat-retaining design
Stretchy for running comfort
Includes a reflective trim
Made of recycled materials
Doesn’t work with a harness
Doesn't tighten around the stomach
Sleeves may chafe short-haired dogs
The Ruffwear Powder Hound Jacket is more like performance sportswear than a blanket-style dog jacket, making it an ideal pick for all-day hikes or other sustained outdoor activities. Made from recycled polyester, this jacket is stretchy, water resistant, and well insulated, sealing in warmth nylon-spandex sleeves.
Other features include reflective trim, a zipper closure, and even a light loop so your dog won't get lost in the dark. The Ruffwear Powder Hound Jacket is available in six sizes and three different colors.
Best for Large Dogs: WeatherBeeta Comfitec Reflective Parka 300D Deluxe Dog Coat
Comes with leash hole
Waterproof and warm
Adjustable fit that’s great for broad-chested dogs
Strong, durable fabric
Only available in orange or yellow
Designed for broad-chested dogs, this jacket features an adjustable strap to help keep it snug around your dog’s trunk and rear legs. The WeatherBeeta Comfitec Reflective Parka has a waterproof exterior and enough polyester loft inside to keep your dog dry and warm in most cold weather conditions. Plus, it's designed with high visibility in mind, with reflective stripes and easily visible yellow or orange color schemes.
With 11 available sizes, the WeatherBeeta Reflective Parka has a fitting option that will work for your large dog.
Best Waterproof: Lands' End Dog Rain Jacket
Lined in soft knit for comfort
Features a slot for harness
Only available in two colors
Has a tendency to sell out quickly
Meant for larger dogs
If rain is your biggest concern, this rain jacket will help keep your dog dry on your daily walks, but doesn't have much additional insulation beyond the comfortable cotton jersey knit lining. Available in yellow or blue, the Lands' End Dog Rain Jacket has two points of adjustment, with wide straps across both your dog's mid-section and chest.
Best for Snow: Canada Pooch Dog Snowsuit
Provides full-body coverage protection from snow
Has thermal foil lining for warmth insulation
Available in 11 sizes and two colors
Adjustable button snap at front and back legs
Reflective stripe on the side for visibility
Doesn’t fit all breeds equally
Not easy to put on fidgety dogs
Cannot be ironed
Must hang up to dry
If your dog loves frolicking in the snow, they need something to keep their whole bodies warm, legs included—and this snowsuit is designed to do just that. With protection for your dog’s back, four legs, and stomach, this water-resistant snowsuit combines maximum warmth and coverage. The thermal foil lining on the inside will protect your dog against extreme cold.
The Canada Pooch Dog Snowsuit also includes an opening on the back for you dog's leash and is available in 11 different sizes (but only one color: black).
Best for Short-Haired Dogs: Hurtta Expedition Insulated Dog Parka
Designed to keep short-haired dogs warm
Waterproof and breathable
Easy to put on
Adjustable length, neckline, and collar circumference
Easy to clean
Has a leash opening
Fits bigger dogs better
This jacket was designed with short-haired dogs in mind, since they lack the undercoat that helps keep them warm in the winter. It provides full-body coverage and features both a waterproof, laminated exterior and a fleecy interior. The Hurtta Expedition Insulated Dog Parka is highly adjustable at the back, neckline, and collar, while also snapping on easily by using only a single buckle around your dog's waist.
Available in four colors and 16 sizes, the Hurtta Dog Parka is also machine washable.
The Wau Dog lightweight jacket (view at Wau Dog) is our overall best pick because it covers a lot of different needs, with warm puffer-style insulation, an excellent fit, and a lightweight design that your dog won't mind wearing. it folds up nicely so you can take it with you anywhere. However, if more extreme weather is the norm where you live, then opt for a jacket with more full-body coverage, like the Canada Pooch Snowsuit (view at Chewy) or the Hurtta Expedition Insulated Dog Parka (view at Chewy) for short-hair breeds.
What to Look for in a Dog Jacket
Most winter dog jackets are adjustable, with straps around the chest or waist, but getting the right size will still be crucial to a proper fit. When you’re buying a dog jacket, make sure to look at the sizing guide and measure your dog using a fabric tape ruler (or use a piece of string, then measure that with a ruler).
“The coat should fit well and allow normal movement: jumping, running and playing,” says Corinne Wigfall, veterinarian with SpiritDog Training. “You should be able to fit a finger between the body of your dog and the coat to check it’s not too tight. If your dog scratches, bites or refuses to walk this may be their way of communicating to you that the coat isn’t fitting right.”
In general, a waterproof jacket is preferable, since staying dry is a key component of staying warm, but if you anticipate predominantly snowy weather, then insulation should be a higher priority. Fleece and polyester fills are most common, but give extra consideration to jacket options with two-layer linings that can offer multiple benefits.
Almost as important as the fabrics and fill is the overall cut, with dog jackets typically finding a middle ground balance between easy to get on and coverage. In more extreme weather, you'll want to opt for a jacket that covers more of your dog's chest and limbs, even if it's more of a pain to get them in and out of it.
Your dog's natural insulation
Some dogs are just naturally better suited for colder environments because they have more fur. As a result, they won’t need as heavy of a coat as others.
“Certain breeds such as the Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky and the Caucasian Shepherd were built for the snow and have thick, double coats to keep them toasty warm,” says Simon. “These guys need little intervention when it comes to handling cold weather.”
But other breeds aren't as prepared for cold weather, with some smaller dogs even at risk in relatively mild cold.
“The American Hairless Terrier and Chinese Crested are two examples of breeds that can’t handle low temperatures due to their lack of fur," Simon told The Spruce Pets. "These dogs can only go outside shortly and need to wear doggy clothes to ensure their core temperature does not plummet.”
Since your dog can't tell you directly, watch carefully for signs of their discomfort to determine whether a jacket is offering too much or too little insulation.
“If your dog is panting while wearing the coat, he might be too warm,” says T.B. Thompson, a veterinarian from Arizona. “If your dog is shivering or trying to curl up against you, he might still be cold and needing a warmer coat.”
Lots of coats either have a place to attach your dog’s leash or they have a slit to allow for you to attach their leash to the harness they’re wearing underneath the coat. This feature is important if you’re planning to have your dog wear the coat on walks.
Also consider getting a coat with reflective strips or lining so that your pup is visible to other people or vehicles if you plan to walk your dog at dusk, dawn, or at night.
Do dogs really need a jacket in the winter?
"Most of our pets are well set up for handling the winter,” says Simon. “They come with a built-in fur coat and thick skin. You’ll notice your dog is walking confidently along while you may be shivering.”
However, some dogs cope better than others. For example, older dogs or dogs with certain medical conditions aren’t as good at regulating their temperatures so they could benefit from a jacket in the winter. In addition, as mentioned above, some breeds have longer fur coats, with undercoats that help insulate them from the cold. As a result, they might not need a coat at all. But breeds with shorter coats, such as greyhounds or whippets, have very slender frames and thin coats, making them more susceptible to cold.
"While a chihuahua may start to shiver at temperatures of 40 degrees, an American Staffie won’t start feeling the chill until it dips to 30 degrees," Simon says.
As a rule of thumb, though, if you notice your dog shivering, refusing to walk, whining, lifting their paws, or walking slowly, these are all signs that they’re cold and could benefit from a sweater or a jacket. You might also want to get your dog a coat if temperatures in your area regularly dip to 40 degrees or lower, unless they are a breed with a particularly thick natural coat.
How often should dog jackets be cleaned?
In general, dog coats don’t need to be washed that often. “Dogs don’t sweat and their coats tend to stay clean on the inside,” says Simon. “However, they should be washed a few times each season, especially if your dog is keen on rolling in grass or lying on mud.”
Thompson agrees. “You should wash your dog’s jacket when it is visibly soiled or odorous,” she says. ”Wash it at least as often as you bathe your dog.”
Why Trust The Spruce Pets?
When choosing the best dog coats, we relied on our own experience as dog parents and user reviews to find coats that are well-designed, waterproof, insulated and easy to adjust. We also consulted closely with experts to ensure we were using the best criteria in our selections. The writer, Steven Rowe, has a rescue beagle of his own that won’t tolerate the cold or garments that hinder her ability to run so he made sure that the jackets on this list had the features he looks for when shopping for her.