What type of dog coat should I get? – The Pet Experience

What type of dog coat should I get?

Dog coats – An Optional Extra or a Necessity?

At the time of writing, we are part way through December in the UK and winter is very much setting in. We have had the first couple of storms of the season. The temperature is dropping and the wind is picking up! In addition, the days are short and our morning and evening walks are now confined to darkness. However we still need to walk the dogs! And most of the time, particularly if they are wearing a dog coat, they love it! No matter how much we may or may not…  That aside, it is important to get out everyday with your dogs. This windy weather brings with it a whole new array of far-off scents. In addition, it makes a nice change from the sometimes stuffy, centrally heated homes we are lucky enough to live in.


What Dog = What Coat

Rukka Stormy Coat

Rukka Stormy Coat in pink

Dog Coats are a great way to keep your dog warm and dry, if that is what they need! Some dogs may just need to be kept dry as they can maintain their own warmth. For instance, having had Samoyeds for many years I can safely say I never had to worry about keeping them warm! Their arctic fur had no problem coping with UK winters. A Samoyed is an example of a dog with a double coat. The function of the top layer is to repel water and protect from dirt.

Samoyed Dog and Puppies

Samoyed Dog and Puppies

The function of the the undercoat is to provide insulation to keep the dog warm. An example of a single coated dog would be a French Bulldog. Coincidentally a breed I have also had and I can very much confirm that he did need a nice warm coat that also kept him dry! Conversely, you may have a dog that enjoys getting wet and does not suffer from the cold. In which case you may not need a coat at all. Indeed with my Samoyed’s, despite their pure white fur, I never used a dog coat. I preferred to towel them dry once we got home. So don’t feel you have to make your them wear a coat!


Beware the variety of coats available!

If you have ever been into The Pet Experience pet shop in Weymouth, Dorset you will have seen we have a wall full of coats. Hundreds of them! Indeed the array can be confusing if you do not know what type you need. Even if you do, it can still be tricky selecting the right one as different coats do different things. So lets look at some of the main types available so you can select the right one for your dog’s needs:

  • Waterproof
  • Thermal & Waterproof
  • Waterproof & Thermal with a thermal removable lining
  • Thermal
  • With a harness hole
  • With chest protection

In our experience we find that these are the main categories of dog coats. Once you know what type of fur your dog has (single coat or double) you can better choose the most appropriate coat.

Waterproof Dog Coats

These are often lightweight and solely offer protection against rain. They should have taped seams to ensure that they are waterproof and not just water resistant. A simple waterproof dog coat would be suitable for a dog that is kept warm by it’s own fur coat. For instance, my Samoyeds.

Waterproof and Thermal Dog Coats

Rukka Warm Up in pink

Rukka Warm Up Dog Coat – Waterproof and Thermal

These will have an thermal element to them in addition to the waterproof layer. Ideal for thin coated dogs like my old Frenchie. Frenchie’s in particular can loose body heat quickly due to their large, pointed ears. As a result, a nice quilted thermal layer to trap air around his body (which his body will heat up) helps keep him warm on winter walks.

Waterproof and Thermal with a Removable Lining

This style is essentially a 2 in 1 coat. A combination of the two coats detailed above. For cold days you can leave the thermal lining in place to keep your dog warm. However for warm, wet days you can remove the thermal lining to stop your dog getting too warm. A great all round/all season dog coat.

Thermal Dog Coats

Not all coats will keep your dog dry in the rain. Some just have thermal qualities. Included in this section would be dog jumpers and fleeces. Thermal coats/jumpers serve to solely keep your dog warm. For instance, this could be out on a walk on a crisp, sunny winter’s day. Conversely, it could be to keep them warm overnight when the central heating turns off and the house temperature drops. Either way, don’t just grab the first coat you like the look of and think it will keep your dog dry!

Dog Coats with a Harness Hole

Danish Design Harness Dog Coat with lead

Harness dog coat & lead

Harnesses are popular with many dog owners for a variety of reasons. Whatever the reason, if your dog wears a harness, consider buying a coat with a harness hole. This will allow you to attach the lead directly to the harness, underneath the coat. If the dog coat does not have a harness hole and your dog wears a harness, you may end up having to adjust the harness and place it over the coat. Not the end of the world but probably not ideal for best fit.

Dog Coats with Chest Protection

Danish Design 2 in1 1 Dog Coat

2 in 1 Dog Coat & chest protection.

Traditionally, most dog coats protect the back and sides of your dog. However, when your dog is walking/running around in the wet, their underside can get very dirty. This is particularly true with smaller dogs as they are closer to the ground. As a result, choosing a coat with chest protection will give their chest area additional protection from the elements as well as keeping them that bit warmer.


You get what you pay for

This is an age old adage and applies to dog coats as much as anything else. There are inexpensive dog coats, mid priced ones and more expensive ones. What we have found as a result of stocking and selling thousands of dog coats over the years is that the more expensive brands tend to use better quality material. Consequently the garment is more durable and can do it’s job better.

Cheap coats can often nearly be rectangular in their cut so don’t fit particularly well. Better quality coats are usually tailored to the general shape of a dog, this is helped by darting in the appropriate areas which provides shape and curves. In addition, elasticated stretch panels help ensure a snug fit that moves with the dog as they walk or run. Some coats even have elasticated adjusters around the neck and chest areas to further personalise the fit. Furthermore, to stop the coat being blown about on a windy day, some have elasticated leg straps that hook around the hind legs. These however don’t have to be used. Indeed some dogs do not like the feel of them but they are there as an optional extra.


Be Safe, Be Seen!


A final point worth making is that the majority of coats will normally have some form of high-visibility markings on them. These will reflect the light from car headlights or torches to make your dog more visible at night. These markings are often a silvery grey colour and can be a simple pattern in one spot or a line down the length of the coat. Indeed, some dog coats are designed solely with that purpose and are made completely of Hi-Viz yellow or orange material to really make them visible at night or in low light. Much like coats worn by roadworkers. Being seen is being safe!



I hope this introduction to dog coats is helpful. To ensure you buy the correct size first time it is worth measuring your dog around the neck and chest as well as down the back before shopping. Alternatively, bring your dog with you to the shop and we can help you size them up and choose the coat that is best for them! To see the variety of coats we carry in stock, check out our ‘Pointy’ page which shows our in-store stock selection. Just type the word ‘coat’ into the Pointy search bar: https://www.thepetexperience.co.uk/store-stock-selection/


For more information click here to see a related article by the PDSA: http://shorturl.at/mpBO6

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