How to Pick the Right Dog Jacket for Every Weather Condition

October 5, 2021

Lab in winter coat

Keep your pup healthy and happy outdoors with the right dog jacket and coat. You do not have to let snowy, rainy, or windy conditions keep you locked inside. With the right apparel, the world is your oyster and full of outdoor adventure.

If you want to keep your best friend cozy and snug no matter what the weather is outside, consider investing in a stylish and functional dog jacket or coat that can provide warmth and weather protection during the cold and wet months.

Choosing the perfect dog jacket for your pup requires considering your region’s climate and then determining different designs and features that protect your dog. Our dog jacket guide can help you choose a functional and stylish option for your furry friend.

Does Your Dog Need a Jacket?

While some dogs may benefit from a winter coat, some dog breeds do not need a dog coat in most cases. Breeds such as Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes already have dense coats that keep them warm during the winter. However, short-haired dogs may require additional insulation to make up for their lack of hair.

Which Dogs Can Benefit From a Dog Jacket?

Here are examples of dogs that may benefit from a jacket or coat:

  • Short-haired dogs
  • Small dogs; toy breeds can lose body heat quicker than larger dogs
  • Dogs that cannot grow hair due to an illness or injury
  • Dogs with a weak immune system
  • Dogs with diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, or hypothyroidism
  • Dogs with arthritis
  • Dogs that have been groomed and receive deshedding treatments
  • Older dogs and young puppies
  • Dog breeds that are used to warmer climates
  • Dogs that do not grow winter coats due to being primarily indoors
  • Thin dogs with little fat to keep them warm
  • Dogs recovering from an injury or surgery
  • Dogs with bellies that can reach the ground
  • Dogs with larger and thin ears can lose body heat through their ears

Some dog breeds that may benefit from dog jackets include:

  • Beagle
  • Chinese crested dog
  • Dachshund
  • Greyhound
  • Italian Greyhound
  • Peruvian Inca Orchid
  • Pitbull
  • Whippet

While not all dogs require a dog coat during the winter, some do and it is important to keep them warm to keep them healthy. In addition, even if your dog does not need a coat for warmth, they may need a jacket to keep them dry in wet and cold climates.

Cold Weather Breeds

In some cases, certain dogs do not need a winter coat because of their genetic predisposition for colder weather. These dog breeds have a thicker fur coat and higher body fat.

Common cold weather dog breeds include:

  • Alaskan Malamute
  • American Eskimo
  • Bernese Mountain
  • Newfoundland
  • Norwegian Elkhound
  • Saint Bernard
  • Siberian Husky
  • Tibetan Mastiff

Putting a coat on these breeds when they do not need it can cause dogs to overheat. Signs of overheating include excessive panting, pawing at the jacket or coat, fatigue or a lack of energy while wearing the coat.

Dog breeds with thick and warm coats and higher body fat may not require a dog jacket to stay warm but in some cases, they may benefit from a lightweight and waterproof jacket. Wearing a lightweight and water-resistant garment can save you the hassle of extensive drying and brushing after every walk.

Factors to Consider When Looking for a Dog Coat

Chocolate lab in jacket

Dog jackets come in all shapes and sizes. Some jackets for dogs are only intended as fashion accessories, not functional wear that is designed to keep your dog dry and warm. Make sure the winter coat you choose is capable of keeping your dog warm and comfortable.

Aside from the price, here are a few factors to consider when looking for a dog coat.

Another area that needs to be considered is where you are taking your dog. Hunting seasons start around the beginning of September going through January and if you are going to be in the woods it’s wise to put your dog in a bright color like Orange.


Consider how you plan to use the jacket. How easy is it to put on and off? Will you be using a leash? Is it compatible with your leash, collar, or harness? Some dog jackets will have an opening for your leash or harness. Others do not and require the dog’s leash, collar, or harness to fit over the jacket.


Not all dog jackets are made equal. Look into the unique features that come with each jacket to fit your needs. Do you live in a wet and rainy region? Potentially get a water-resistant jacket that can cover your pup from the downpour. Does your dog love night walks? Look for a jacket with reflective material so that you and your dog remain visible in low-light conditions.


What is the dog jacket made of? The best materials in a jacket for your dog will depend on where you intend to use them. For instance, rainy environments may require a different type of dog coat than environments with freezing temperatures and snow. Do you need a jacket that is water-resistant, wind-resistant, or insulating? Deciding on your dog’s needs is the first step to choosing the right material.

Look at the thickness of the material and its warmth. If your dog needs extra insulation, choosing a coat with more than one lining can help. Wool can provide good insulation but can be itchy for some dogs and require hand-washing.

If you are looking for something to handle the wet and rainy weather, consider a coat that has a waterproof outer layer. Fleece with a waterproof exterior layer can be a good option but not wool if you will be in a wet environment.


One of the most important requirements for a dog jacket is how well it fits your four-legged friend. Make sure you size your dog properly and ensure that the coat has a snug fit without being too loose or restricting their movement.

You do not want the jacket to fall off mid-walk or cause severe irritation from a tight fit. Keep an eye on your pet to see if the jacket stays on or irritates them. In addition, if you have a male dog, ensure that the coat allows them to pee without getting the coat too wet.


On top of factoring in how well the coat fits, you should consider its design. For instance, older dogs are not as nimble with dog coats that require stepping in and out of them. Instead, look for a design that is easy to put on your older dog.

If your dog likes to be active and run around the yard and dog park, you want to avoid coats that restrict their legs. If your dog is not as active and prefers to relax, they may benefit from insulation in the legs to increase their comfort if it gets too cold.

Consider the design of the leg opening. Does the jacket have leg coverings? Is there enough room to easily fit your dog’s legs through or is it relatively restrictive and requires more work? Certain types of dogs such as older dogs or ones with arthritis may require looser and less tight leg openings.

How does the coat stay on your pup? Does it have Velcro straps or adjustable straps or can you simply slide it on? In some cases, too much fur can get caught up in Velcro. Adjustable straps take longer to put on and take off, though. Look at the type of attachment system your dog prefers. Many dog coats also have elastic leg straps. These can potentially be irritating to some dogs and may even be in the way of their pooping or peeing. Some dog coats now have removable straps and some do not even have them at all.


Some jackets have sleeves while others do not. Ultimately, going with sleeves or sleeveless depends on how much warmth and water protection you need the jacket to have. Jackets with sleeves can add additional coverage from the wind and rain and provide added warmth.

It can be good for extra cold temperatures and short-haired dogs who can benefit from a little extra insulation. Even long-haired dogs may benefit from sleeves if they usually develop snowballs on their underside.

Sleeveless jackets are more commonly used on dogs with broader shoulders, as well as dogs with a thicker neck, chest, or legs. Sleeveless jackets provide a larger opening to accommodate dogs with different bodies. Sleeveless jackets usually use buckles which are easy to put on your dog to secure and good for older or dogs that wriggle around when you put the jacket on.

Machine Washable or Hand Wash

While most dog jackets will be machine washable, some may only be hand washable such as wool jackets. Consider how you intend to clean the jacket. Since dogs can get them dirty pretty easily, finding a machine washable version can be the most practical and convenient option. However, hand washing your dog’s jackets can also work if you do not mind putting in the extra work.

Return Policy

When shopping for a dog coat, especially online, you want to buy from a retailer or brand that allows you to return it if it does not fit. Since dog jackets vary in terms of size and fit, it can be difficult to determine the fit, quality of materials, and look simply by looking online. Before making the final purchase, ensure that the store has a good return policy.


Once you determine that a jacket meets all of your canine’s functional means, you can narrow down your options based on your preferred style. Some options are reversible oh, so your pet can wear two designs.

Measuring Your Dog

Once you decide that your dog needs some all-weather protection, it is time to consider your pup’s measurements to ensure you get a coat that fits just right. Ideally, you would take your dog to shop in-store so you can try on different dog coats, although you may be limited in selection compared to online retailers.

Avoid buying dog coats from brands that only list their sizes as small, medium, or large. Look up the exact measurements of the coat to ensure that it fits your dog. Keep in mind, small, medium, and large sizing can vary from brand to brand, so it is important to get the exact measurements.

Ready to find the perfect fit? Here is how you can measure your dog:


Measuring the length of your dog’s body is the primary way to determine what size jacket they will need. Measure from the shoulder blades to the base of the tail while your dog is in a relaxed and standing position. If your dog is between sizes, always go with the larger option to avoid a tight and irritating fit.

While some jacket brands may designate jacket options for certain breeds or body weights, do not depend on these suggestions. Every dog’s body type is different and can vary even if they are the same breed or body weight.

Chest Girth

Most jackets do not have an adjustable chest area so it is important to get an accurate measurement here, especially for deep-chested and barrel-chested dogs. While the body length may be compatible with the jacket, the chest girth may not.

To measure your dog’s chest girth, measure around the largest part of the chest, right behind the front legs while they are in the standing position. In addition, measure the narrowest part of the waist to find a comfortable fit.


For jackets with a non-adjustable neck opening, measure your dog’s neck circumference around the thickest part, just under where the collar sits. Getting the right measurement here eliminates the risk of having a tight fit or choking your pup.


The drop refers to the vertical length of the jacket. Long jackets can restrict your dog’s movements. Jackets that are too short can fail to provide the proper coverage. Getting the perfect drop measurement allows your dog to have a full range of motion and stay warm and dry.

To understand how a jacket’s drop will look and feel on your dog, measure starting at the base of the tail down its hind leg to the ankle. The perfect jacket provides coverage for the body but does not go more than halfway down the leg.

How to Measure Your Dog

Ideally, you would use a measuring tape to measure your pup. Do not try to eyeball it or you will end up with the wrong fit and have to get a replacement. If you do not have a measuring tape on hand, you can use some string to measure your dog and then use a tape measure or ruler when you get the chance to measure the string.

Pro tip: Do not have a ruler or measuring tape? No problem. A dollar bill is about 6 inches in length. If all else fails, use this measurement to get an approximation of your dog’s measurements.

Best Dog Jackets for Snow

Little dog in snow with jacket

Insulation is key when it comes to battling the snow and cold. If you plan on taking your dog out in freezing temperatures, a winter coat is a must. Keep in mind, while you want to keep your pet warm and cozy, you do not want to overheat them.

Here are a few factors you should consider when choosing a winter coat for snow:

    • Warm lining: Depending on the dog, you will need different levels of insulation if your dog wants to play in the snow and handle the cold weather. In some cases, you may need to layer with a different jacket or coat underneath.
    • Water repellent: A waterproof outer shell is designed to keep the inner, softer, and warmer fabric dry. However, water can seep through the jacket or coat if it does not have a proper and snug fit.
  • Coverage: Finding a winter coat with full coverage of the chest and belly can keep your dog warm and dry in heavy snow.
  • Reflective surface: Keep your pup visible to drivers on the road with reflective material. reflective patches and stitching can keep your canine safe and warm this winter.
  • Leash access: A small hole or opening for your leash can make it easy to walk your pup without having to thread the leash under the jacket.

Our top recommendations:

  • WeatherBeeta dog coat: This sleek and stylish coat has a tweed exterior with 220 g of warm, polyfill fleece lining to keep your dog warm and comfortable on winter walks. Keep your dog dry with the coat’s full belly and chest closure with touch tape. It features a collar with a leash hole so you can easily attach your dog’s leash.
  • WeatherBeeta ComFiTec Deluxe dog coat: For larger dogs, this breathable and waterproof coat comes with a 300 denier outer shell and a warm 220 g of polyfill. It also features a full wrap chest and belly closure and a large collar to protect from the rain. It comes with a leash hole and reflective strips. Its bright yellow color is perfect for taking your dog out on a walk in the dark. This coat is also good for rainy weather.

WeatherBeeta, Comfitec Orange Dog Coat

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Best Dog Jackets for Rain

Doxen in winter jacket

If you live in a rainy environment, that should not stop you from taking your dog for regular walks. A raincoat can keep your dog warm and dry even in wet conditions. It can ensure that you do not spend an extra-long time cleaning your pet when you come back from the walk.

Here are a few features to consider when looking for a raincoat:

  • A hood or collar: Hoods can help keep your pup comfy and dry and can even make certain dogs who do not like to go out in the rain more comfortable. Keep in mind, some dogs will not like wearing the hood. There are some options with extended collars as an alternative to the hood.
  • Warm liner: High-quality raincoats include an insulating liner made from either wool, fleece, or synthetic materials. Consider how much foreign body fat your dog has and get an appropriate thickness of insulating material.
  • Straps and closures: You need a dog jacket that has adjustable straps to securely fit your dog. Proper closures can ensure that every part of the coat is keeping your pet dry.
  • Reflective surface: Consider a raincoat with a reflective surface such as patches or stitching if you want to make your four-legged friend visible to drivers in low light conditions.
  • Unrestricted leash access: Dogs that require a harness may need a dog raincoat that allows you to easily attach the leash to your harness without having to awkwardly insert the leash elsewhere under the coat.
  • Coverage: Most dog jackets for rain will not provide coverage for the dog’s legs and underside. You may consider looking for options with full coverage to protect your dog’s underbelly from puddles and mud.

Our top recommendations:

  • Dog rain slicker: Bright and colorful, 100% polyester, and waterproof. This dog rain slicker comes in a classic yellow color with contrasting piping and a reflective stripe on the back and hood. Easily adjust the slicker to your pup’s body with a self-adjusting belly strap. A leash opening allows for quick and convenient access for your daily walks.
  • WeatherBeeta ComFiTec Deluxe dog coat (navy blue/gray): This waterproof and breathable dog coat comes with a tough 1200 denier triple weave, polyester lining and 220g of insulating polyfill for warmth and comfort. It also includes a full wrap chest and belly closure. It has a large collar that has a leash hole and reflective strips for easier visibility and improved safety at night.

WeatherBeeta, ComFiTec Gray/Navy Blue Deluxe Dog Coat

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Best Dog Jackets for Spring and Fall

Little puppy in blue sweater

Winter brings the snow and cold temperatures but what about the other seasons? Does your dog need a dog coat then? During the spring and fall seasons, your dog may not need as much warmth as in the colder months.

Here are a few features to look for in a spring and fall jacket for dogs:

  • Windproof: In brisk and windy weather, your dog needs a jacket that can protect them from the biting winds and keep them warm.
  • Waterproof: While spring and fall may not bring freezing temperatures, you may expect some light rain. Investing in a waterproof jacket can keep your canine dry in the chance that it rains.
  • Lightweight: You do not want a jacket to be too thick and warm when all you need is a light covering for wind and rain. Getting a jacket that is too thick can make your dog too hot and uncomfortable.

Our top recommendations:

  • Ariat team softshell dog jacket: Great for those brisk walks. This stylish jacket features team-style color blocking in all black. It is a cozy and lightweight jacket with a microfleece backing, a stand collar, and adjustable velcro closure. It is made of 92% polyester and 8% spandex.

Ariat, Team Softshell Dog Jacket, 10033013

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  • Horseware Ireland Rambo reflective dog coat: This cool and comfy fluorescent yellow dog coat is perfect for your night walks. It features 100g fill to keep your dog comfortable on your chilly walks. It comes with an adjustable neck closure and a leg arch to allow for full freedom of movement. An elasticated surcingle allows for a snug fit. It also makes a great winter coat.

Horseware Ireland, Rambo Reflective Dog Coat

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Best Accessories for Cold Weather

When colder months start to affect your daily walks, you need to be prepared with a wide range of winter-friendly accessories for your four-legged friends. Aside from a dog coat, these cold-friendly accessories can keep your pet snug and cozy in all weather conditions:

  • Paw protection: If your furry friend does not like to wear dog boots, you can protect their paws with non-toxic wax that can be applied to their pads to protect them from the ice, cold, and salt burn. Dog socks are also an option.
  • Dog boots: If you need some heavy-duty insulation, rugged dog boots can keep your pet’s paws ready for adventures in any weather. Look for expandable and adjustable boots to get the perfect fit.
  • Knitted scarf: Whether they are indoors or outdoors, knitted scarves can be an excellent and fashionable addition that can keep your pup warm without limiting their movement.
  • Dog blankets: Fleece blankets can line your pup’s bed during the colder months and provide extra comfort during car rides or wherever they like to nap.
  • Dog bed: A comfy, fleece-lined dog bed can be the perfect haven for your dog to drift into a peaceful slumber.

Shop Wilco Farm Stores for All-Weather Dog Coats

Explore a wide range of dog coats and jackets at Wilco Farm Stores. Gather all your weatherproof supplies for dogs and even some rain-proof and snow-proof apparel for yourself. We have got just what you need to keep you and your pet warm and cozy all season long.