Dog coats have surged in popularity over recent years, there are so many styles available on the market. Whether it’s a fleece jumper, waterproof jacket or full on snow suit, it’s not uncommon to bump into dogs wearing coats while out on your daily walks, particularly during winter months. With so many eccentric designs and styles showcased at the local park, it’s easy to assume owners are ‘dressing their dogs up’ purely to make a fashion statement. However, it turns out there are plenty of reasons why dogs wear coats, along with a range of benefits too! We’ve outlined just a few in this post for you.
Here in the UK, we’re subject to a variable climate at the best of times. The weather can be unpredictable and often cold, especially come winter time and if you live up north! Frosty, crisp mornings are great for walking, however they often come coupled with a bitter cold. While your dog does have a fur coat of its own, they’re often not acquainted with colder temperatures (especially if they live a life of luxury with log burners indoors!) They may be prone to shivering on winter walks, especially when you stop for a break. We’re also not strangers to the occasional snow day or two, which often take us by surprise. The novelty of white winters makes us eager to make the most of our time outdoors before the snow melts. Wrapping your dogs up in a jumper or coat will keep them warmer for longer in these abnormally cold temperatures, meaning you can spend more time as a family enjoying the snow!
Dog coats aren’t exclusively worn in winter though, there are some who wear them all year round. Dogs like sighthounds, staffies, vizslas and some miniature breeds are more likely to feel the cold due to their short hair. It’s not uncommon to see whippets, greyhounds or lurchers in jumpers year-round. Their short hair coupled with low body fat makes them feel the cold even during the summer. Older dogs may also benefit from wearing coats throughout the year, as they don’t run around as crazily like they did when they were younger.
We all lead busy lives and have to balance responsibilities across the board. When we’re working we often have limited time to walk the dogs on big adventures and consequently often make do with a quick jaunt around the park or woods before and after our commute. The last thing we want to deal with is a muddy dog as we’re rushing out the door! Dog coats are great at minimising the amount of dirt our four legged friend picks up on walks. When we return from wet and muddy walks, we’ll likely only have to wipe their paws, which reduces the need for a full on bath every time our dogs go outside!
Dogs that have a penchant for rolling in questionable substances they find on walks (think fox poo, decomposing carcasses etc.) may wear coats more often. It’s much easier to get fox poo out of a dog coat compared to the intricate creases of a spaniel’s inner ear! Dog coats are particularly helpful if you’re a professional dog walker. You don’t always have time to wash each dog thoroughly when you get back from a group walk. Owners may decide to dress their dogs in coats when they go to daycare, in order to make their dog walker’s life just a little bit easier!
Most dogs require walking come rain or shine, which means donning our waterproofs in all sorts or rain showers. We all know walking in the rain is miserable, especially when it inevitably seeps through our clothes! Dogs wear coats on rainy walks just like humans, to provide an extra barrier between their skin and the water. Thankfully there are a wide range of water resistant and even waterproof dog coat designs readily available to owners. They often mimic the technologies found in technical outdoor clothing for humans.
Saying that, some dog breeds absoluately LOVE water – it can be a challenge to get them out of rivers, streams and lakes at the best of times! Waterproof dog coats offer little help for these breeds, however that doesn’t mean they can’t wear dog coats at all! These owners may choose more absorbent coats, designed to help dry dogs after walks. They’re often made of fleece, bamboo or towelling and can be used after a walk, negating the traditional dog towel. Simply put your dog in their drying coat when you get back to the car and they should be pretty much dry by the time you get back home. They also help keep your furniture and walls clean and dry while your dog dries off at home after a muddy local walk!
Another reason dogs wear coats is to help with recovery, whether from a medical procedure or physical activity. If your dog is admitted for a routine operation, your vet may recommend packing a jumper or coat for them. Dogs are unable to regulate their temperature while under anaesthetic. Blankets and jumpers are often used to keep them warm during and after their procedure. Dog coats can also be used to cover up wounds, to prevent debris from walks infecting cuts or surgical stitches. Depending on where the wound is, you may need a special medical vest. However if it’s on their back or torso, you could make do with their regular jumper or coat. Arthritic dogs also benefit from coats, especially out on walks. They prevent the cold getting to the affected joints, reducing stiffness and pain for the dog.
If your dog partakes in agility or gundog trials, a dog coat is a great investment. Shows and shoots often involve a lot of waiting time, for both yourself and your dog. Like any athlete, dogs perform better when their muscles are properly warmed up. It also reduces the risk of injuries like sprains, strains and tears. Popping a fleece, jumper or coat on your dogs will help keep them warm in between runs!
Do your dogs wear coats? What benefits have you experienced as a result?
For more bespoke dog coat and fleece inspiration, follow us on Instagram!