Do Short-Haired Dogs Need Jackets?

Put the coat on your pup when temperatures fall below freezing.
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While dogs were created to withstand their environments, your Yorkie or Chihuahua might not be bred for your region. If your dog shivers in winter, it's probably cold. A sweater or jacket adds extra warmth and doesn't need to cost a lot, though you can invest in pet couture.

Pet Hair Length

Dogs with short hair can shiver in the cold and benefit from seasonal coats. Breeds that often benefit from a coat include Chihuahuas, terriers, pinschers, greyhounds and small or toy dogs like miniature schnauzers. Sweaters or jackets offer insulation without constricting pet movement.

Additional Considerations

Dogs that don't have short hair but do get short haircuts, such as standard poodles, can also benefit from a light coat. Even dogs with longer hair may benefit from wearing a coat in the winter, especially as they age. Dogs that have thick hair and were bred for cold climates, like huskies and malamutes, don't need jackets and may be uncomfortably hot in them.


When picking out a coat for your dog, look for one that fits without being too snug or too loose. A snug coat restricts movement, while a loose coat can trip your pet. The right coat should be washable, since your pet will get it dirty. Look for coats that do not have snaps, buckles or buttons, since these offer nothing for your pet to chew.

Health Benefits

Jackets offer additional benefits beyond warmth. When dogs' body temperatures drop 5 or 6 degrees below their normal 101 to 102 Fahrenheit range, they're at risk for developing low blood pressure, kidney damage and low blood flow to the brain. The latter may lead to hypothermia.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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