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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

Dogs in coats? For some people, this is a strange view. But especially on very cold days, you see dogs walking around with their warm coats. But does a dog coat make sense at all, especially since dogs naturally have a warming coat? 

When does a dog coat make sense?

Many dog lovers are divided on the question of whether or not dogs should wear warm clothing. People often counter with the statement that this is merely a need of us humans and that dogs are thus humanised. The domestic dog is descended from the wolf, so its fur protects it from the freezing cold. Is that really the case?

Yes and No. The domestic dog is indeed descended from the wolf, and the wolf is equipped with a thick, warm coat to defy the cold. However, since the domestication of wolves, almost 350 different dog breeds have evolved, some of which bear very little resemblance to their ancestors. 

In the meantime, there are dog breeds that can definitely freeze, considering their physical conditions. Thus, a dog coat can make sense for some dogs and protect them from low temperatures and their consequences.

Which dogs need a dog coat?

The dogs’ sensitivity to cold varies greatly. There are dogs that don’t seem to mind sub-zero temperatures and then there are real cold-sensitive dogs that start to freeze at much “higher” temperatures. It therefore makes little sense to list specific dog breeds at this point.

In general, however, we can say that the following types of dogs are more sensitive to cold:

  • Smaller dog breeds and especially breeds with short legs.
  • Dogs without or with short fur.
  • Dogs with little undercoat.
  • Freshly shorn dogs.
  • Older dogs.
  • Puppies and young dogs.
  • Sick or weakened dogs.
  • Dogs from warmer areas or those that are not used to the cold (for example, because they live mainly indoors).
  • Dogs that participate in outdoor dog sports (but only during training breaks).
dog harness that fits your dog

 A dog coat protects against hypothermia

Dogs that are particularly sensitive to cold can be protected with a dog coat (but also with special dog shoes). This warms the body of our little (or big) darlings and protects them from hypothermia and its consequences:

  • Inflammation of the urinary tract.
  • Inflammations of the respiratory organs.
  • Aggravation of joint problems.
  • Frostbite of individual body parts.
  • Colds and much more.

Important: Please do not forget to take the coat off again as soon as your dog moves around a lot or you are back in the warm. 

How can I recognise that my dog is freezing?

It’s actually quite simple: as soon as your furry friend starts to shiver or shows one of these signs:

  • Tense posture or lifting of individual paws.
  • Refuses to go outside or does not want to go any further.
  • Seeks out warm places, such as your proximity or similar.
  • Has shallow breathing.
  • Movements tend to be avoided.
  • Visibly feels very uncomfortable.

What criteria should a good dog coat fulfil?

What makes a good dog coat? Certainly not the look, that’s for sure. Coats with rhinestones and other fashionable accessories are only important for us humans, but our four-legged friends simply don’t care. 

The most important thing is definitely the function: a good dog coat has to keep warm and protect against moisture. In addition, the fit is enormously important. Your dog’s movement must not be restricted by the coat. The tail, the head and the legs must remain free to move. 

Especially for dogs with short legs, it is also important that the belly is protected from the cold. The neck and kidney area should also always be protected, regardless of size. 

The material is also crucial. In the best case, the dog coat is water-repellent and breathable, as well as washable.

Reflective applications can also protect against accidents.

Tip: Depending on how cold your dog is, choose a coat that is more heavily lined or a pure mackintosh that only protects against moisture but hardly provides any warmth. 

Hund mit Mantel im Schnee


Yes, for some dogs it makes sense to wear warm dog clothing in cool temperatures. Not all dogs are equally protected from the freezing cold. However, when choosing a dog coat, the function, fit and material should be in the foreground. Fashionable details are quite indifferent to our beloved four-legged friends and do not protect them from low temperatures.