Best Dog Winter Coats

Updated July 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

26 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
531 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best dog winter coats

Last Updated July 2020

Don’t let the winter weather put a damper on your walks, hikes, or special trips with your favorite four-legged friend. Treat your dog to a cozy winter coat that’s comfortable and warm.

While dogs have their own insulated coat of hair for warmth, it doesn’t hurt to give them another layer, especially in very chilly temperatures. Dog winter coats cover the areas where they sustain the brunt of wind and cold, namely the chest, back, and sides. There’s a range of warmth levels, too, from single-layer fleece coats to puffer styles with multiple modes of insulation. Some coats are even equipped with pockets for storing treats and accessories. 

Help Fido enjoy the colder temperatures with a new winter coat. Since we don’t want your decision to be a ‘“ruff” one, we’ve assembled this buying guide comparing all the styles on the market. We’ve even included some of our top picks to make your shopping even easier. 

It’s important to introduce your dog to a winter coat in the right way. Use positive reinforcement to show your pet the coat is something good as opposed to a punishment.

Key considerations

Dog winter coat styles

Blanket or vest: These styles offer modest coverage to the chest, back, and sides. Some leave the belly completely exposed, while others secure the sides with a strip or panel of fabric. These aren’t as warm as other dog winter coats, so they’re preferred for moderate winter weather.

Parka: These styles include puffer, quilted, and padded coats. These are significantly warmer and bulkier than blanket styles. They typically have multiple layers of insulation, and some coats offer removable outer layers like hoods. Parka styles are designed for extreme weather, so one of these is best if you and your dog do considerable walking or hiking in colder temperatures. 

Reversible: These winter coats are popular if you prefer that your pet keep up appearances with a two-in-one look. In terms of practicality, many reversible coats are soft on one side and weather-resistant on the other.

Materials

Shell

  • Polyester: You’ll find polyester used for the outer shell, particularly in puffer and weather-resistant dog winter coats. It dries quickly, is semi-waterproof, and is an affordable nylon alternative.
  • Ripstop nylon: Ripstop is chosen as an outer shell material for its durability and lightweight feel. Depending on its fiber blend and construction, it can be waterproof as well as fireproof. It’s also available in various weights, though medium weight is most popular.
  • Fleece: Fleece is the coziest, softest material choice for dog winter coats. It can be used for both the outer shell and inner lining or as a stand-alone layer. Fleece is flexible and comfortable, so many dogs enjoy wearing it indoors as well.
  • Faux fur/sherpa: Faux fur and sherpa are popular materials for the trim on dog winter coats or for lining the interior. Like fleece, they’re cozy and flexible, so they’re often used as details to soften polyester and nylon coats.
     

Lining

  • Polyfill insulation: This is an effective insulator since its fibers trap air and hold onto body heat well. It’s usually fluffy and lightweight when used in puffer and quilted styles. In more streamlined coats, it consists of a series of compressed polyfill layers.
  • Thinsulate: This is 3M’s patented thermal insulation, which has a solid reputation for exceptional warmth. Since there’s more than one weight of Thinsulate, the tag on a dog winter coat will indicate the winter weather conditions it’s best used for.
EXPERT TIP

Take a lint roller to the dog winter coat after each use to minimize hair buildup. Be sure to go over the inside as well as the outside.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Closures

Dog winter coats have a combination of hook-and-loop, bungee cord, pinch-buckle, and elastic closures to provide a secure and comfortable fit. Hook-and-loop is the most popular closure style since it’s the easiest to put on and remove. Bungee cords and pinch buckles are used to adjust the fit, particularly around the belly. Elastic closures hug the body and minimize chills and drafts from the wind.

Leashes and harnesses

Be mindful of your dog’s leash style before deciding on a winter coat. Some coats are specifically designed to accommodate harnesses, though there are far fewer in this category. The majority of styles simply leave ample room around the neck for the leash as well as the collar.

Pockets

Dog winter coats designed for extreme wear are equipped with storage compartments. These pockets, usually zippered, are evenly distributed around the coat. They aren’t incredibly spacious, so expect them to be able to hold only a handful of treats or a couple poop bags.

Size

Unlike human clothing, the sizes of dog winter coats aren’t exactly standardized. For the most part, size varies quite a bit between brands. As a result, you’ll find yourself comparing a variety of size charts. Keep in mind that it’s common to see coat sizes expressed in more than one way.

By coat size: Extra small through extra-large (can go up to 4XL in some brands)
By dog weight: Pounds (American brands) or kilograms (European brands)
By dog size: Length and sometimes height

Of course, to find your dog’s size for the best fit, you’ll need to take a few measurements. After you’ve weighed your pet, use a measuring tape to determine body length and neck and chest girth. With all of this size information, you’ll be able to explore a variety of brands regardless of the differring size charts.

EXPERT TIP

If your dog appears to be panting more than usual, it could be overheating. Remove the coat right away and give your pet a fresh bowl of water to cool down.


Staff  | BestReviews

Accessories

Winter boots: Kurgo Step & Strobe Dog Boots
Give your dog some bark-tastic boots for traversing snow. We like this set of four from Kurgo, which are made from breathable woven mesh with rubber outsoles. These boots are outfitted with fuzzy fasteners and bungee zip-cord locks for a comfortable, customizable fit.

Paw-friendly ice melt: Safe Paw Ice Melter for Dogs and Cats
Paws can get injured by harsh rock salt, so we recommend paw-friendly ice melter instead. We like this 35-pound pail of ice melter that is safe for dogs, cats, and even kids. The unique liquid-crystal formula melts ice and covers twice the area of regular salt. It prevents ice from sticking for up to three days.

Dog winter coat prices

Winter coats for dogs cost between $10 and $100. The price mostly depends on how warm the coat is, but the complexity of the design is also a factor.

Inexpensive: Affordable dog winter coats cost less than $35. These are single- or double-layer fleece coats, as well as some quilted styles. Warmth is modest at best with these, and only some of them are water-resistant.

Mid-range: These coats cost between $40 and $60 and include styles with Thinsulate lining, removable hoods, and longer sleeves. These styles are significantly warmer and are usually more weather resistant than cheaper coats.

Expensive: The warmest coats with the most accommodating features, such as harness holes and zipper compartments, are closer to $100. These have multiple lining layers and offer the most protection from adverse weather conditions.

EXPERT TIP

Pregnant dogs might not enjoy having a coat that wraps around the belly. Choose a style that leaves the belly exposed and wraps around the chest and front legs instead.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Invest in more than one winter coat for your dog. Winter weather conditions and temperatures can vary daily. It’s a good idea to invest in more than one winter coat to account for rain or snow, as well as one that is ultra-warm for extreme temperatures.
  • Pretreat any stains on the fabric before washing. If the coat gets a stain, pretreat it with a color-safe cleaner before tossing it in the washing machine.
  • Choose a bright color. In the event the leash slips from your hand and your dog takes off, a brightly colored winter coat will make it easier to spot your pet.
  • Write identifying information on the coat. If your dog slips out of the collar, it won’t have your contact information anymore. It’s a good idea to write identifying information on the coat with a permanent fabric marker.

Other products we considered

Don’t see your pet’s next coat in our matrix? We found a couple more for you. We like the very pawesome Pet Life Metallic Dog Parka for its cute puffer style and faux-fur trim. It’s lined with 3M Thinsulate to keep your dog warm and protected against plunging temperatures and has a fitted waist and cuffs to stay secure. It’s available in pink or black to suit your pet’s personal style.

We’re also impressed by the ThinkPet Warm Reversible Dog Coat, which is designed to accommodate a harness. Not only does it boast one of the largest size ranges in winter dog coats, but it also comes in eight colors. The coat is easy to put on and has elastic panels for a comfortable fit. It even comes with a waterproof adjustable zipper, making this coat ideal for walks in the snow or rain.

Hook-and-loop closures are magnets for dog hair. Clean them regularly with a soft-bristled toothbrush.

FAQ

Q. How often will I need to buy a new winter coat for my puppy?
A.
Puppies grow quickly, so what fits today can be too small tomorrow. To account for the rapid growth, it’s best to buy a jacket with several adjustable features. Once your puppy outgrows it, which could be in a matter of weeks, you’ll need to get a larger one that continues to cover the areas it should.
 

Q. How should I wash my dog’s winter coat?
A.
Most coats can be washed in the machine and hung up to dry. There are some coats with zippers, pockets, and reflective details that may require careful hand-washing. All-fleece jackets can usually go in the dryer, though the heat can damage and thin the fibers over time.
 

Q. My dog refuses to wear his winter coat. Now what?
A.
It’s worth considering different styles that are softer or more flexible. Look for coats with hook-and-loop or elastic details, because these let you customize the fit better than straps or pinch buckles. Some dogs simply won’t wear a coat, no matter how comfortable it is. Pick your battles wisely with your pooch so you can both enjoy winter walks, with or without a dog winter coat.

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
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