Several dog breeds don’t need a winter coat or jacket because their fur provides all of the winter weather protection they need.
Still, this isn’t the case for many shorthaired breeds. If you’re someone that still walks or hikes with your dog throughout the winter, you should know that many dog breeds will be too cold without a proper winter coat.
Like humans, dogs can get hypothermia, frostbite and show obvious signs of being cold by shivering.
Knowing the signs of hypothermia in your dog if you hike with them often in the winter is ideal, but what is even better is preventing it with the proper gear.
That’s why we put together a list of the best winter hiking jackets for dogs. Keep your best friend safe while you enjoy the solitude of winter hiking.
Best Dog Winter Hiking Jacket: RUFFWEAR Powder Hound Insulated Jacket
Pros & Cons:
Although the RUFFWEAR Powder Hound Insulated Jacket is not fully waterproof, it still won out on our best overall winter hiking jacket for dogs because of the versatility and high-quality materials.
The water-resistant 75D polyester shell fabric and recycled synthetic insulation are the perfect combination for a winter hike.
There is enough water resistance to prevent your dog from getting wet and cold, even when running through snow. Even if they do get wet, they will still be insulated.
The Powder Hound Jacket is somewhat of a hybrid jacket compared to others on our list because it covers the front armpit area and partially down the front legs.
This adds some extra coverage to an area that does not have fur or hair on most dog breeds without restricting movement like full-body jackets can.
The small sleeve addition saves your dog a surprising amount of core heat.
The jacket design allows for a snug fit with a full-length side zipper. Having a full-length zipper versus a pullover makes it even easier to take on and of your dog as well.
There isn’t an opening to attach a leash to a harness, but the neckline doesn’t go up too far, so you can still attach a leash to a collar if need be.
The last great feature on this jacket is the included reflective trip. It also includes a hook to clip a light (sold separately), so don’t get this confused with a place to attach a leash. The loop is not strong enough to hold if you have a large dog.
Runner-Up Best Dog Winter Hiking Jacket: Kurgo Loft Winter Jacket
Pros & Cons:
The Kurgo Loft Winter Jacket came in as our runner up.
It is still an excellent choice for most dog owners because of the easy velcro closure and near waterproof qualities.
It tends to fit larger dogs better and is a great option for dogs with a large chest in particular.
There are several color schemes to choose from, and one of the big positives of this jacket is that it is reversible so that you can have two jacket styles in one.
The blue and orange combo is a favorite since orange is an excellent visibility option for dogs that are off-leash.
There are a reflective rim and zipper opening for harness attachment on both sides of the jacket.
Be sure to follow the Kurgo sizing guide and not go off of what size your dog normally wears.
Their sizes can be much different than other brands, but if you get the right size, your dog should have a comfortable fitting jacket that will keep them dry and warm in the winter.
The Kurgo Loft Jacket isn’t necessarily an extreme weather jacket and should be used more as an athletic jacket.
Best Budget-Friendly Dog Winter Hiking Jacket: EMUST Winter Dog Coat
Pros & Cons:
There are several budget jackets available for dogs on the market. However, many of them will not be very suitable for hiking with your dog.
The EMUST jacket is a decent jacket for hiking with your dog, as long as you don’t plan on going through deep snow and aren’t all day long.
It has a polyester shell on the top. Still, most of the material is a fabric that isn’t water-resistant and has the potential to hold onto moisture quite easily.
For the price, it is a decent option for dogs that live in cold climates but don’t get a lot of snow or only hike every once in a while when it is cold outside.
All in all, it does the job and will keep your dog warm when they are outside. It is easy to take on and off and fits over a harness.
A zipper on the back and a hole attach the leash to either a harness or a collar.
The sizing of the jacket can be rather inconsistent. The low price likely has to do with the manufacturing origin being in China.
If you’re looking for a budget jacket, though, this one will fit the bill.
Best Winter Hiking Jacket for Slim Dogs: DOGHELIOS Blizzard Full-Body Winter Coat
Pros & Cons:
Many slim, shorthaired dogs struggle to stay warm in the winter months. This can be difficult, especially if they love hiking with you.
Investing in a full bodysuit for a slim dog is ideal because it provides the best heat retention.
The DOGHELIOS Blizzard Coat is fully waterproof and windproof, making it an ideal choice for cold winter hikes.
The jacket's design keeps your dog warm, but it is somewhat difficult to get on and off your dog, especially if you have a puppy.
It may take some training for them to get used to putting on and wearing the jacket.
All of the potential heat escape points like the zipper and the collar opening have coverings to further enhance the jacket's heat retention.
The main complaint this jacket gets is that the sizes run small. So, keep that in mind when purchasing this full-body blizzard coat.
Some other coats on our list might be able to double as shoulder season jackets.
But this coat is only functional during the colder winter months. It is relatively breathable but is intended for winter weather use specifically.
Best Winter Hiking Jacket for Small Dogs: Gooby Padded Dog Vest
Pros & Cons:
The Gooby Padded Dog Vest is a unique winter dog coat design, and it is tailored specifically for small dogs.
It is a well-insulated vest that utilizes a full-length zipper system on the back, making it easy to put on your dog.
There are also rings built into the vest that you can attach a leash to, so you don’t have to worry about putting on a harness.
Keep in mind that when choosing sizing with this jacket that it is made for small dogs. So, the main thing to factor in with the size is the size of your dog’s chest.
Since it is tailored for small dogs, you won’t have to worry about the jacket getting peed on when you’re out on a walk.
It is a lightweight material that is water-resistant. It will do best in environments that there aren’t many slush or puddles, but it will hold up well when your dog plays in snow.
Overall, the Gooby small dog vest is an easy to use design that will keep your little dog warm all winter long.
Best Dog Hiking Jacket for Extreme Cold: Hurtta Summit Parka Dog Winter Coat
Pros & Cons:
The adjustability, intentional body coverage, and waterproof materials are what made the Hurtta Summit Parka the best winter coat for dogs in extreme cold.
This jacket is functional for both short neighborhood walks and blustery winter days on the trail.
It allows for an athletic fit with a design covering all of your dogs' most important muscle groups, helping them better retain heat.
The back and neck regions are adjustable, so you can cinch them down or up if it isn’t super cold or windy.
Even with the adjustability, it is easy to take on and off with a once chip system that secures the jacket into place.
With this type of jacket design, sizing is extremely important. You not only have to measure your dog’s chest, but you will also have to measure their back and neck to get the size right.
Dog Winter Hiking Jacket Buying Guide
All dogs and all companies that make dog coats will be different.
Beyond looking at these buying considerations below, be sure that you are looking carefully at reviews for a dog coat you are buying, and not just the good reviews either.
There are several variations in dog jackets, and part of knowing which one is right for your dog will be in the research.
If you’re reading this, then you’ve already started the research process of this shopping journey. The next consideration that will be a driving force is when your dog will be wearing this jacket and how often they will use it.
If you strictly use it for neighborhood walks, you may not need a heavy-duty or even waterproof coat. If you bring your dog on winter snowshoeing adventures or into the mountains, then you’ll need something heavier duty.
These variations in dog breed, use, and coat company will influence your buying decisions and the importance of the considerations below.
Waterproof vs. Water-Resistant
If you are hiking with your pup, they will likely want to play in the snow. Depending on the climate, maybe you have very wet, slushy winters.
These various factors mean that you need to consider how waterproof your dog’s winter coat needs to be.
Maybe you only need a winter coat that is suitable for neighborhood walks. While on the other hand, you might need one that can protect your dog for a winter snowshoeing trek.
Once you’ve nailed down the use and likelihood of moisture, then you can decide if waterproof or water-resistance is enough.
When a product is labeled as water-resistant, that means that it will prevent water from penetrating the fabric to some degree. There is a lot of variation within water-resistance materials.
The main takeaway should be that it will not keep moisture out completely. If you get a water-resistant dog coat, make sure it has synthetic insulation to insulate still when wet.
When a product is labeled as waterproof, water and moisture should roll right off. Think a gore-tex raincoat!
Some coats are water-repellent. This means that the materials are an in-between. It will be difficult for water to get through the materials because of some sort of surface coating.
Our top two winter dog coats on the list are marketed as water-resistant. However, both of them are nearly waterproof. Your best bet is to look at the materials, treat it like you’re getting a winter coat for yourself, and dig deep into the reviews.
As with most outdoor gear, your dog’s equipment should follow most of the same rules you would when buying for yourself. That also means that a budget buy likely isn’t going to be a quality one.
As with waterproof and water repellent coats for humans, keep in mind that waterproofing often wears off with time. So, get to know how to waterproof your dog’s coat each season so you can keep using it year after year.
Insulation & Materials
Most winter dog coats will use synthetic insulation of some kind.
This is usually cheaper to produce, and it is ideal for dogs because they tend to run through snow and water. Synthetic insulation will still insulate your dog even once it is wet. So, it tends to be the safest option during the winter.
How much insulation and the type will be dependent on the climate you live in during the winter. Not all dogs need a full-on puffy jacket for the winter, and they may do just fine with a base layer of fleece and a water-resistant shell.
When choosing the right insulation and materials for your dog’s winter coat, remember that cotton holds onto moisture quite well.
So, if they usually have a nice soft sweater, they wear indoors on dry fall days, that likely isn’t going to cut it when they’re out on a winter hike.
Sizing & Fit
The sizing of the dog coat is going to vary from company to company. It is really important to always look at the sizing chart the manufacturer provides and verified customer comments when deciding which size will work for your dog.
Do not go off of the size your dog usually wears just in case they run small with one brand or too large with another.
The sizing will often also vary from country to country. For instance, some sizes will run larger in the UK versus the US, depending on the manufacturer.
The best bet is to measure your dog’s chest, neck, and back most of the time. This gives a well-rounded look at their sizing.
Since you’re most likely ordering a dog jacket online, as sizing seems to be a common issue even among the most reputable brands, double-check and see what the return or exchange policies are.
Some companies require an additional fee for exchanges to avoid that, measure and size correctly the first time.
Another consideration to make is how much coverage your dog needs.
This again will come down to climate, use, and dog breed. If you are in extremely cold weather with a shorthaired dog, you may want full-body coverage. At the same time, some dogs will do just fine with a vest design that only covers their chest and back.
Although you always want to make sure that your dog’s privates are covered, so they don’t pee on their coat, covering their armpits and part of the belly can be advantageous.
Most shorthaired dogs do not have any hair in those areas, and they can quickly lose heat, even when they’re running.
It is ideal to have a high neck coverage, full back coverage, and have their primary muscles on their legs covered in extreme cold. This helps your dog retain heat whether or not they’re moving around.
Reflectors and Lights
Most winter dog coats intended for outdoor uses like hiking or backpacking include reflectors.
Having a line of reflectors or even having a dog coat color (like orange) that is highly visible is perfect for people who walk their dogs on country roads. This helps you and other people see your dog no matter the time of day.
Although having a built-in light system would be epic, not many dog coats offer that.
Some dog coats have a feature that allows you to attach a small light to the back of their coat, so it is easy to see them in the dark.
You can also opt to attach a light to their collar, but that can easily be covered if their coat goes above their neckline.
If you are backpacking with your dog, you may be looking for a winter coat with more suitable backpacking features like saddlebags.
Other additional features could include multiple layers, reversibility, an opening to attach a leash to their harness, or a hood.
Dog Winter Hiking Jacket FAQs
Does your dog need a winter jacket?
Unless you have a specifically cold weather dog breed like a husky, Bernese mountain dog, Newfoundland, or the like, then your dog likely needs a winter jacket.
Most short hair dog breeds and small dog breeds get cold very easily. To help you know whether your dog needs a coat, notice how easily they get cold in the shoulder seasons.
If they are shivering throughout the Fall when you go on longer hikes, they will need a coat in the winter months.
As dogs age, they may start to need additional warmth as well. Many old dogs develop arthritis or joint problems, and their pain levels can increase due to cold weather.
If you want to keep your dog feeling good enough to enjoy a hike or two with you as they age, a winter coat may be one way to help them out.
How to choose the right size dog jacket?
Choosing the right winter jacket has a lot to do with the considerations we listed above.
You will need to know what your dog’s needs are as a breed, what activities you’ll participate in, and the climate of the area your hiking. Using those three main guidelines will help you narrow down your choices.
If you’re someone that still walks or hikes with your dog throughout the winter, you should know that many dog breeds will be too cold without a proper winter coat.
Like humans, dogs can get hypothermia and frostbite. That’s why we put together a list of the best winter hiking jackets for dogs. Keep your best friend safe while you enjoy the solitude of winter hiking.
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