Sure, dogs have a built-in coat, but can it really stand up to a typical Canadian winter? If your dog needs some extra protection from the elements, then check out our list of the best winter dog coats.
Depending on where you live in Canada, winter might mean something drastically different, and that means you need the winter dog coat that is best suited to your climate.
If you live in Alberta, like us, then you know winter is no joke. 40 below zero is not uncommon in the heart of winter, so you might need a much different winter dog jacket than if you and your pooch hail from the lower mainland of B.C.
Fortunately, we have something for everyone. No matter how cold, icy, windy, or rainy your winters are, we have a winter dog jacket for any climate that will keep your dog warm and dry.
Does My Dog Need a Winter Coat?
Though it may seem silly, coats are actually recommended for a lot of dogs. Yes, some dogs are designed to handle winter better than others, but many of the most popular dog breeds in Canada aren’t naturally insulated enough to handle all of Canada's varying degrees of cold.
If you notice your dog shivering, refusing to go outside, or acting odd or agitated on your walk, then he may just be too heckin cold.
You should definitely consider a winter dog coat if you have a dog that fits any of the following characteristics:
- Toy or small breed
- Short-haired or hairless
- Short-legged dogs
Breeds that fall under one or more of these categories have a particular disadvantage against cold weather and will likely be the first ones to decide to stay inside cuddled up on the couch.
To learn more about the importance of dog coats, check out Does My Dog Need a Coat?
Do Dogs Grow Winter Coats?
You might be thinking that dogs grow their own winter coat, right? While it's true that many breeds have a thick undercoat that grows in fall, that doesn't mean that coat is designed to withstand harsh Canadian winters. Most dogs with an undercoat may not need a coat in moderate winter temps, but a -30 prairie winter is too cold for most breeds.
Some dog breeds, like the Husky, can handle some pretty extreme temperatures, but even they may need to be protected from the elements if the weather is exceptionally biting. Lighter layers and dog boots may be enough for them, but if you see signs that your dog is feeling the cold, then don't hesitate to invest in a winter dog coat.
How to Measure a Dog for a Winter Coat
One of the ways to make sure your dog stays safe and warm in winter is to make sure that you choose a winter dog jacket that is properly fitted to their shape and range of movement. It's not just about finding a coat that is cute, it has to fit properly to effectively insulate and block out wind and snow.
Most dog coats are sized based on the length and girth of your dog, so before you start shopping, grab a flexible measuring tape and measure the widest part of your dog's chest and the length of their back from the base of the neck to the base of the tail.
Other styles may require additional measurements. Dog snow suits, for example, may offer a leg length measurement to make sure all four legs of the suit will comfortably fit your pooch. Check out How to Measure Your Dog for more measure tips and tricks.
10 Best Winter Dog Coats (and a Budget-Friendly Bonus)
Every dog is different. This means that different coats are better suited to different dog shapes, sizes, and even their activities. That’s why we chose winter dog coats for just about every situation so that you can get the right winter coat for your pooch and your climate.
Take a look at our favourite and most popular winter jackets for dogs:
Small Dog Winter CoatsSmaller dogs tend to have less muscle mass, which means they can get colder a lot faster. Many small breeds are bred from warmer climates, too, so to keep them from feeling that chill right down to their bones, why not try our favourite winter coat for small dogs.
1. Canada Pooch Shiny Puffer Iridescent Vest
The Canada Pooch Shiny Puffer Iridescent Vest is the perfect blend of warm, comfortable, and stylish. With sizes for dogs as small as 5lbs, the Shiny Puffer Vest will be just what your tiny pooch needs to enjoy your winter walks. The dual velcro closure system and adjustable neck drawstrings ensure a comfortable and secure fit.
The Puffer Vest is made of a water-resistant nylon outer shell and a polyester interior to keep even the skinniest and shortest-haired pup nice and toasty on a cold winter day. Plus, you can pop the hood up to keep those little ears from getting frostbitten by that frigid winter wind. It even has convenient cargo pockets to store essential gear like treats or poop bags.
Large Dog Winter Coats
Many big dogs don’t have the natural coat needed to tolerate winter temperatures, but they can also be hard to shop for. Dog apparel tends to focus on small and medium breeds, so you may find your sizing options limited, especially in the cuter or more trendy doggy fashions.
Fortunately, we have fun and comfortable options for large and giant breeds to stay warm on your next winter walk.
Big dogs tend to have a little more meat on their bones to keep warm, but they still need protection from the elements. The Ruffwear Powder Hound Jacket features a weather-resistant outer shell and synthetic insulation to help keep your big pooch from feeling the chill of winter weather.
The coat also has short, zippered sleeves that ensure your dog keeps his core and muscular areas warm to help retain overall body heat while providing maximum comfort and flexibility.
Waterproof Winter Dog Coat
Winter can be unpredictable, especially when you live near the coast. This means that snow and cold might not be the only weather you need to protect your dog from. Rain and sleet can be just as much of a nuisance, so a waterproof winter dog coat could be just the thing you need to keep your dog warm and dry!
For those of you hailing from the west coast, you might be more familiar with months of cool rain instead of snow and ice. If that’s the case, then the Hurtta Monsoon Coat will keep your dog warm and, most importantly, dry.
The outer Houndtex layer provides an elastic, silent, and breathable shell to keep your dog dry and comfortable. The high collar and large belly flap give this coat a snug fit to keep your dog’s core muscles dry and clean.
For dogs that hate bulky jackets, the Ruffwear Overcoat Fuse Jacket is the perfect lightweight and water-resistant solution. Great for dogs in cool, rainy climates, this insulated, weather-resistant vest-style jacket gives your dog the comfort and flexibility he needs to adventure.
By covering their back, chest, and belly, this jacket helps to keep your dog's core muscles warm. It's great for dogs that generally tolerate cold weather well but just need to block the cool wind, rain, or wet snow from putting a damper on their favourite outdoor activities.
Winter Dog Coat for Extreme Cold
Even dogs that love winter might struggle when the weather drops to sub-zero temperatures. Extreme cold can quickly become dangerous if your dog doesn’t have the proper protection, and you’ll need a dog coat rated for such extreme temperatures.
Your dog needs his daily exercise no matter how frosty the weather gets, so if you live in an area that deals with extreme cold and snow, then you need to invest in an Extreme Warmer.
The insulated inner liner reflects heat back into your dog to help him retain natural body heat, and the waterproof outer shell is lined with a breathable water-proof film to keep your pooch warm and dry. Plus, this coat is made using recycled material, so this is one coat you can feel good about.
Sometimes the windchill in the prairies can be too cold for even the most winter-friendly breeds, and if there is one thing we know about staying warm, it’s that layering is one of the most effective ways to keep toasty.
This foil-lined bodysuit is made of breathable and elastic material and is the perfect pairing for any winter attire. The full legs and snug fit ensure that your dog can enjoy winter walks even when the weather dips into arctic temperatures or can be used by itself when that chilly fall wind starts to roll in.
Dog Snowsuit for Winter
Photo Credit: Hurtta
Coats are great and all, but when we want to play in the snow and extreme cold, we put on a nice warm pair of snow pants. Don’t our dogs deserve the same winter gear? Dog snowsuits may be amusing, but they can be a game-changer if your dog loves to gallop through the snow.
Take your dog’s winter activities to the next level with the Hurtta Extreme Overalls. Providing your dog full coverage from the elements will keep him warm from collar to ankle, so you don’t have to cut your dog’s outdoor activities short.
This water-resistant and foil-lined snowsuit is just what your dog needs to stay warm during his favourite romps in the snow. The full body and neck coverage keep your dog’s core muscles warm, while the legs prevent your dog’s less meaty areas from getting too cold.
Winter Coats for Long Dogs
Our favourite long-bodied friends can be the toughest dogs to buy dog clothes for. They need something that’s going to be long enough to protect their core muscles, but they don't always need the wide girth that comes with bigger sizes.
Dachshunds are among the most notoriously difficult breeds to find clothes for because of their long slender bodies. It might fit her chest but end up looking like a crop top. Or maybe you find the right length, but they are swimming in the girth.
Luckily, there are a few brands that keep these uniquely shaped breeds in mind.
One of the best all-around winter dog coats is the Hurtta Expedition Parka. Specifically designed for short-coated dogs, the Expedition Parka has a soft inner lining that helps your dog retain body heat while being comfortable enough for your dog’s favourite winter activities.
They have specialty sizes for dogs with long bodies or short legs, like dachshunds or corgis, that need a little extra material to cover their long torso but don’t need the extra girth that a larger coat offers. The Expedition Parka has a full and adjustable underlayer to protect their bare bellies from the snow and cold.
For those lucky short pups that live in more moderate winter climates, the Ruffwear Climate Changer Jacket is a lightweight and breathable jacket with a full chest piece to keep them warm, no matter how close to the ground they may be.
The short capped sleeves help keep wind and snow off their core muscles and prevent snow and ice from building up as they walk through the snowy grass. The convenient side zipper makes it easy to take on and off even the unique dog body shapes.
Cheap Dog Winter Coats
Getting comfortable and much-needed dog clothing doesn’t have to give you sticker shock! If you have a growing pup or multiple dogs to clothe, you may be looking for something that doesn’t require taking out a second mortgage on your house.
When it comes to dog clothes, you want something affordable, but the most affordable options may not always be the quality you are looking for. That’s the difference between affordable and cheap. But don’t worry; we skipped the cheap stuff and found quality and affordable options for dog owners on a budget.
This stylish hoodie-style jacket is a great deal for dogs needing to keep warm on a budget. This lightweight polyester jacket is warm enough for moderate winter temps and comfortable enough for dogs that love to play.
The turtle neck and short-sleeved design protect your dog's core from cold wind and snow. Using a patented antimicrobial technology called Silver Shield, the dog coat is resistant to odour-causing bacteria, mould, and mildew.
Extra Winter Accessories
Sometimes a coat just isn’t enough by itself. To make sure your dog stays nice and toasty on your winter walks, then some extra accessories might be just what you need. Besides, these things are so cute, how can you resist!
Sweaters may not be warm enough on their own but can be used as an underlayer for any winter dog coat. These are especially great for short-haired breeds that need just a little more insulation.
Layering is also great for climates with unpredictable weather. A cloudy or windy winter day might require an extra layer or two, but when the sun comes out, you can easily shed a layer and let your dog’s adorable sweater shine through.
Sometimes the best way to beat the cold is to layer up. Chilly Dog sweaters are not only a great inner layer for those extra cold winter walks, but they are adorable! Who doesn’t want to dress their dog up as a bunny or a fox?
This casual sweater is perfect for mild fall weather walks and chilly evenings at home. The sweater itself is lightweight and comfortable, and the velcro straps help to keep the sweater snug and secure. This sweater uses Silver Paw's Silver Shield technology to combat odour-causing bacteria and lasts over 100 washes.
I know, I know. You’re thinking, “dog hats, really!?!” It sounds silly, but they can be helpful in some of the more extreme climates of the prairies and the territories where winter feels like the ice age. Hats aren’t for every dog, but those who need a hat the most will learn to appreciate the much-needed warmth.
Holy moley, this thing is cute! The Arctic Air hat is the perfect addition to your dog’s winter wardrobe, with a warm fleece lining and a durable polyester outer shell. The ear flaps allow for comfort and don’t impede hearing but help to keep the delicate skin of the ears and head toasty when that winter wind starts to bite.
Cold, dry winters can take a toll on your dog’s delicate skin. Keeping them warm and safe is one part of protecting their skin. Check out our other tips for Treating Your Dog’s Dry Skin in Winter.
One of the first signs that it’s too cold for your dog is when he starts lifting his paws. This means that the snow and ice are so cold on their paws that it’s starting to hurt, so they lift one paw at a time to get a short reprieve. If your dog does this, then it’s time to invest in some dog boots.
These extra warm fleece-lined boots help keep those doggy toes toasty and dry while they frolic through the snow. The high leg of the boot makes for a comfortable, flexible, and snug fit to keep the boots secure and provide warmth for the lower and less meaty parts of their legs.
Ruffwear Polar Trex Dog Boots
For dogs with more active winter activities, a boot with a durable sole helps to provide traction and grip so that snow and ice can’t slow down your pooch. This DWR-coated boot keeps your dog’s paws warm and dry no matter what conditions winter throws you.
These are just a few of the many kinds of dog boots to protect your dog’s paws from the cold and ice and harsh chemicals like road salt that can damage their tender paws. For more dog boot tips and recommendations, check out Do Dogs Need Boots for Snow?
Sometimes a full boot is just a little more than your dog will tolerate, or maybe you live in an area with much drier weather where a sock will be suitable for keeping the ice and snow from collecting on your dog’s furry paws. Dog socks are an ideal, lightweight alternative to a more cumbersome dog boot.
The number one complaint about dog socks is that they just keep sliding and falling off. Canada Pooch secure Dog Sock Boots have a velcro strip to help keep the socks from slipping. The bottoms and tip are coated in rubber to provide grip indoors and out and help keep your dog’s paws dry and free from ice and snow build-up.
Ruffwear boot liners are the perfect addition to your dog’s favourite boots for those extra cold months. They add an additional layer of warmth and protection and help to keep your dog’s boots snug and secure.
Does winter get your dog down? What winter gear do you use to keep your dog warm and safe during the harsh winter months? Let us know in the comments below!