Whether it’s to keep your dog warm, dry, or for fashion, dog coats are a fun and functional way to keep your pet snug, comfy, and looking great no matter what the weather. Many dog breeds especially those with short hair were actually not made to be able withstand the particularly cold or wet weather conditions in which their owners may live. Sometimes dogs just need a little help to stay comfortable. This is especially true for many small dog breeds as well as older dogs. And of course all individual dogs are different. No matter what breed or size they are, some dogs just dislike cold or wet conditions, or happen to be very sensitive to them. Protection from the elements can go a long when it comes to the health, and comfort of your pet and that is just what dog coats were designed to provide.
Types of Dog Coats
In fact, there are actually a few different types of dog coats each of which was designed to perform a different function not only to keep your dog warm or dry. There are winter coats, rain coats, anti-anxiety coats, and of course designer dog coats.
Winter Dog Coats
Dog coats for winter are probably the most common type of coat you will see dogs wearing. These coats are made specifically to keep your dog warm in cold and snowy conditions. They are typically used with dogs that have short coats or breeds that are known to dislike and cannot really handle cold weather well. Older dogs also can really benefit from wearing one too!
What to Look for in Winter Dog Coats
The best dog coats for winter offer quite a few features. Most importantly they need to be both warm and water resistant. You should look for a jacket that has an outer shell made from materials like nylon or polyester which are resistant to water. For warmth many jackets use thinsulate or polyfill as insulation because not only will they keep your dog warm but are also not bulky. Having an inner lining which is soft and warm such as fleece is another excellent option. For winter you also want a coat that is both easy to put on and take off while also being able to fit your dog’s body well. Velcro straps which close around your dog’s neck and stomach are the best for this. The jacket you choose also needs to have a leash opening so that you can attach the leash to either a collar or harness without any problems.
Durability is also very important because you don’t want the jacket to rip or tear if your dog decides to have a romp or decides on some rough play with another dog. It also needs to be machine washable for easy cleaning and of course should be tough enough to stand up to being washed in a washing machine. These types of jackets often have extra features such as storage pockets and many also have a reflective strip making your dog much more visible at night. This is especially important because it helps to keep your dog safe in snowy conditions when it’s hard for drivers to see.
Dog Rain Coats
Dog rain coats are meant for wet weather conditions and while many owners think they are only for a pampered pooch they actually do wonders to prevent “wet dog smell,” after taking your dog for a walk on a rainy day. Other than in the rain, these coats are also a good winter option for long haired breeds that don’t need the extra warmth of a winter coat but could do with an extra layer of protection to help them from getting wet from the sleet or snow.
What to Look for in Dog Rain Coats
With these coats obviously the most important thing is that they need to be water resistant. This means they should be made from a material like vinyl or nylon. Dog rain coats should also be lightweight so that they can easily be carried in case it does rain while on a walk, hike, or trip. Many coats will come with a carrying pouch or stuff-sack to make them more convenient to bring with you anywhere and everywhere you go.
Because they are used outdoors, an access hole so you can attach your leash to the collar or harness is also something you need. While they are normally slipped on over the head, they should have a Velcro strap that closes around your dog’s waist. If the jacket does not slip on over the dog’s head it needs to have a strap that goes around the dog’s neck as well. Most dog rain coats do have a hood but not all. Some dogs will not allow anything to be on their head, while others have no problem with it. It depends on your dog. If you do want one with a hood it is better to choose one with a drawstring because it will help to block water from getting inside.
Dog coats with legs are another option which helps to keep your pet even drier. Like winter coats many rain coats can have pockets and reflective strips so your dog is much easier to see both at night and while raining which can make it hard to see. Most are also brightly colored for added visibility at all times.
Purchasing one that is machine washable is always the easiest option however if the particular one you like must be hand washed, that’s not a big deal because unlike winter coats which are thick, rain coats are relatively thin and easy to clean yourself. Another neat feature to look for is that many dog rain coats are reversible so it’s like getting 2 for the price of 1!
Dog Coats for Anxiety
Sometimes called anti-anxiety wraps, stress coats, or calm coats, these aren’t made to protect your pet from the weather but from stress, fear, and anxiety. The principle is similar to wrapping up a newborn baby which makes it feel safe and secure. Surprisingly this works very well with a large percentage of dogs that have anxiety from such things as thunder, loud noises, being left alone while their owner is at work, travelling, visiting the vet, and more. The constant yet gentle pressure that these coats provide has a calming effect which can help to relieve stress without having to waste any time or money trying to train your dog. While they don’t work with every dog, they do work with most and are definitely worth a shot if your dog suffers from anxiety.
What to Look for in Dog Coats for Anxiety
The number one thing you are looking for here is that it fits your dog snugly. If the coat is too big or too small, your dog will not benefit from using it. So, it’s very important to make sure you review the sizes for the particular model you are interested in and of course measure your dog. Velcro straps are a very important feature too because not only do they make them easy to put on and take off, but give you some room to adjust the coat making it a little tighter or looser if you need too. Because these jackets are snug-fitting its best to find one which is advertised as being made from a material which does not collect hair as it will stay cleaner for much longer. Also you want a coat which is machine washable.
Designer Dog Coats
Designer dog coats are all about fashion and fun. Of course they can keep your dog warm and dry as well too. They can run the whole gamut of colors, styles, and themes. From chic to hilarious, there is something for every dog and every occasion in this category of dog coats. While these are most often seen on small dog breeds there are sizes available for every breed of dog.
What to Look for in Designer Dog Coats
The most important features to look for here are durability and ease of cleaning. You want a coat that is not going to fall apart if you have an active dog and is easy to clean. Other than that your imagination is the limit. Many owners choose a pattern or style that matches their own apparel such as a jacket, or purse. Another option is too choose a coat which complements the size and shape of your dog or looks funny with that particular breed of dog such as a bunny rabbit coat for a small fluffy dog. Designer dog coats which portray the opposite look of your particular dog breed are always funny too, like a tough-looking faux leather jacket for a very small cute dog or a pink and girly coat for a very menacing- looking dog. Of course you could also simply go with stylish and classy to make your dog look like just that. It’s really all up to you.
Dog Coat Sizes
From small dog coats to large, most brands have their own specific sizes. What is medium for one company might be large for another. That’s why it’s always important to carefully read the sizing chart for the particular model and brand you like. The smartest thing you can do before purchasing is to measure your dog. 3 quick measurements using a tape measure should be all you need to ensure you purchase the right size dog coat:
1) Measure from the base of the neck to the base of the tail. This will give you the length of your dog.
2) Measure the width of your dog’s chest from its widest point all the way around. This will give you your dog’s girth.
3) Measure the base of your dogs neck all the way around. This should be from its widest point at the top of the chest, not just below the head.
*Remember it’s always smart to measure twice so you only have to purchase once!*
So What Are the Top Dog Coat Brands?
There a quite a few brands which make excellent products and are well known in the industry for their quality. Weatherbeeta dog coats are a great brand which are exceptionally tough, warm and of course good looking. Another good brand for protecting your dog from the weather is Kakadu. They are outstanding quality, very reasonably priced and while they make all sizes, are especially known for their large dog coats which can accommodate the biggest of breeds. Hurtta dog coats from Finland are also very good, super warm, and easy for dogs to move around in. Zack and Zoey is yet another option and one which has basically every style you could think of from winter and rain to designer dog coats of all types, all of which are first-rate. RC Pet Products is a good choice for rain coats, especially if you have a large dog. And as far as anti-anxiety jackets go, both AKC and Thundershirt brands are top-notch.
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