Does my dog really need a jacket in winter?

winter jackets for your dog

Contact us for all your Pet Grooming and Pet Sitting needs


So the seasons are changing and winter is coming! We are stocking up on warm wear for ourselves but the question is have you bought a winter jacket for your dog? Many people ask the question, does my dog really need a jacket? We want to dive into this answer to help everyone out there make a more informed decision. There are a few factors that will be used to determine if your dog should or shouldn’t be layered up this chilly season. 


Certain dog breeds that originate from colder climate regions of the world will have a double-layered coat. A double-layered coat is when your dog has rough guard hairs on the outside of their coat that keep warm air trapped between their skin and coat. Effectively, the dog can be warm and snuggly at skin level even while it’s a freezing temperature outside. 

Dogs with a double-layered coat usually would not need to wear jackets in the South African winter, however, other factors may be involved and they might then need a light jacket. 

Examples of these breeds are Golden and Labrador Retrievers, German and Australian Shepherds, Pomeranians and Huskies.

double layered coat dog


Since a dog’s ability to regulate its body heat reduces with age, elderly dogs, regardless of the breed, might benefit from extra layers. Also, some elderly dogs may suffer from joint pain or arthritis and the added warmth will be greatly appreciated by them.

The same can be said for younger puppies, they are still growing into their thicker coats and will struggle to regulate their body temperatures as well as an adult dog. 

While a light jacket or jersey is fine for dogs with thicker coats, a thicker winter jacket is best for smaller dogs or dogs with thinner coats.

elderly dog


Yes, the height of your dog may even play a factor here. If the weather drops to freezing levels and we experience hail or even a light dusting of snow, this doesn’t stop your dogs need to go outside. If you have a short-legged dog whose body is closer to the ground, they will feel the cold more on their belly than a taller dog. 

When your dog wears a jacket, it should not be left on them all day long. Their skin and coats need to breathe as well. A jacket is not natural to them and they may become uncomfortable, which could result in them biting and scratching themselves or even developing a rash. 

Use a jacket when you take your dog out for a walk in the cold and then remove it when you back indoors again. If you think your dog is still cold then encourage them to cuddle into a blanket, that way they can step out from if they start to get too warm again later. 

dog who needs a jacket


It is important to note that whatever cold-weather clothing you purchase for your dog should be correctly fitted. If the jacket is too big, it will not keep the dog warm and likely get tangled up in their legs. If it is too small, this will be uncomfortable and could result in skin irritation for your dog. 

When you are shopping for a jacket for your dog, the best would be to take along their measurements as a guideline, this might save you a return trip to the mall.  

measurements as a guideline

Please keep in mind that these factors are merely guidelines, so this doesn’t mean that a tall dog with a thick coat can’t wear a jacket. Each dog is different and has its own quirks and you as their owner will know them best. If your dog is shivering, lifting paws up to avoid the cold, or even burrowing under a blanket, then they may be a candidate for some winter weather clothing. 

Remember to book your pets in for the regular grooming sessions to help keep those coats looking and feeling amazing throughout this winter. Bookings can be made here.

Contact us for all your Pet Grooming and Pet Sitting needs