As the leaves fall and the mercury drops we are all enjoying some scenic autumnal walks at the moment. You may have noticed that some dog owners are choosing to dress their dogs in a waterproof or insulated jacket on wetter or colder days. But are these coats necessary, or are they just for pampered pets?

Does my dog need a coat?

Dogs of course have their own natural coat, and it is nature’s way to keep them warm and dry. A dog’s coat is made up of three types of fur: Undercoat, guard hair and whiskers. These layers of fur are incredibly efficient at protecting your dog from the worst weather: both undercoat and guard hair add an extra layer of insulation from the cold. Dog breeds that were bred to retrieve game from water have very active oil glands to help waterproof their skin.

When would a coat be a good idea?

Dogs with fine or thin hair (e.g. greyhounds and whippets) will feel the cold more and may benefit from an extra layer. Likewise, dogs that are very old, underweight or ill should wear a coat while outside. Also, keep their walks shorter during the colder days. If a dog is shivering, it is a sign that they are cold and should be brought back into the warmth of a house or daycare for dogs centre.

Which coat should I buy?

The fit of a coat is very important. If a dog is scratching at a coat or trying to bite it this is a sign that the coat is irritating them. There are services that can measure a dog for a coat, but you can usually do this yourself: using a tape measure, measure the distance from the nape of the neck to the base of the tail (in cms).

Jackets can be windproof or waterproof. Choose a jacket based on what your dog needs help with. Does it often rain where you are? Or is it the cold you are more concerned about?

Another useful feature when looking for a dog coat is reflectivity. If you regularly walk your dog after dark, a coat with reflective sections or trim can be really useful.

There are some good sites that review the best dog coats available. Try or this from the Independent newspaper.

Does my dog need a coat to attend daycare for dogs?

If your dog is lucky enough to attend a daycare for dogs centre or dog training classes you don’t need to provide a coat for them to wear. The expert staff will ensure that your dog is protected from the worst weather and will let you know if they think a coat is necessary.

Daycare for dogs at A & T is in a safe indoor environment. Dogs have a chance to socialise with other dogs and humans in engaging, fun activities. Dogs will have access to an outdoor play area too. To find out more about our services visit A&T Trained Dogs.