Your Cocker Spaniel has a double coat; an outer layer of silky, fine hair and an undercoat of medium-density fur, the combination of which offer only moderate insulation from harsh winter temperatures. Your dog's health and the severity of cold will be the primary factors in determining whether a clothing coat is necessary.
If your Cocker Spaniel is a senior or a puppy, it's worth investing in a warm winter coat. Like humans, dogs on either end of the age spectrum have greater sensitivity to cold. Additionally, your Cocker's long ears and wavy leg tresses can collect small snowballs close to his skin, making it that much harder to retain heat. If your house is drafty in the winter, or it's cool enough indoors that you need to wear a long-sleeved shirt or sweater, keep your furry guy in thick sweater in a thick sweater indoors and add the winter jacket when he goes outside.
"Cold weather" in Miami or South Carolina is very different from "cold weather" in Minnesota or Northern Maine. Your Cocker Spaniel's body isn't far off the heat-absorbing ground, so if you live someplace where the temperature regularly drops below freezing, 32 degrees Fahrenheit, or if your pooch spends a lot of time romping in the snow, you should dress him in a durable winter jacket.
Dress your Cocker Spaniel in a winter coat if he's suffering from a chronic illness or receiving treatment for a serious condition, like chemotherapy for cancer. Ongoing medical conditions can limit your Cocker's blood circulation or cause weight loss. Also, if you recently adopted an underweight Cocker Spaniel, a durable winter jacket will keep him insulated when he lacks the fat and muscle to do so himself.
Choosing the Right Coat
Choose a coat that covers your Cocker's chest, lower back and at least half his underbelly. Go for durability and practicality rather than fashionable and cute. Bulky puffed, sleeves on your pup's coat can limit his movement and frilly hoods can impede his vision, or just annoy him. Choose a coat with a sturdy, water-resistant outer-layer and a soft, insulating under-layer that you can easily remove and wash. Remember, male Cockers are likely to get urine back-spray on the underside of their jackets, so you want something that will hold up in the laundry.
Christina Bednarz Schnell began writing full-time in 2010. Her areas of expertise include child development and behavior, medical conditions and pet health. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations.