Do Dogs Need Coats in the Rain? Canine Care

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Author: Jacob Kay

You might have thought of getting a coat for your Fido to protect him during the rainy days 💧. Protecting your canine from the rain and cold is a good thought though. But, do dogs need coats in the rain? Many stray dogs survive in the wild monsoons, so can your dog too?

Key Takeaways

  • Dogs with thick, dense fur do not need a coat as they have a natural insulation layer for protection against rain.
  • Dog breeds with short fur or hairless breeds need raincoats to protect themselves as their skin comes in direct contact with germs and bacteria.
  • The age of a dog also matters, small pups and senior dogs have a weak immune system. Also, their fur does not provide much insulation or protection.
  • If the dog is allergic, infected with any disease, is injured or is having any joint problem then the coat can provide much relief to the dog. A raincoat can help protect these dogs from external factors that may aggravate their condition.
  • Not all dogs require a coat. Dogs with thick fur may not need a coat at all and may even overheat or feel suffocated if they wear one. A coat can also interfere with their natural ability to regulate their body temperature, leading to heatstroke or dehydration.
  • You should check for the material of the coat while buying one. Some synthetic materials can be harsh on your dog’s skin or fur.
do dogs need coats in the rain?

Well, whether or not your dog 🐶 needs a coat, depends on what type your dog is; its breed, age, size and medical condition. Thus, you need to draw some insights and decide the best for your dog. Wearing a dog coat, that does not need one can be harmful and dangerous to the dog. Let us dive deeper and explore do dogs need coats in the rain.

Do Dogs Need Coats in the Rain?

Many paw parents are confused about wearing their dog raincoats. Whether or not dogs need raincoats depends on various factors. Many dog 🐕 breeds have evolved with oily, water-repelling coats so they won’t need a raincoat. These dog breeds are:

  • Golden retriever
  • Labrador retriever
  • Newfoundland
  • Otterhound
  • Portuguese water dog

There are other factors that decide do dogs need coats in the rain ☔. These are the age, breed and medical condition of a dog. However, there is no definitive answer to which breed needs a raincoat, as different dogs may have different needs and preferences when it comes to wearing a coat in the rain.

Length of Dog Fur

The type and length of the dog’s fur. Dogs with thin or short fur that do not provide enough insulation or water resistance may benefit from a raincoat, especially in cold and wet weather.[1]

Examples of breeds that are most likely to need a coat or fleece include:

  • Greyhounds
  • Whippets
  • Chihuahuas
  • Smooth haired Dachshunds
  • Yorkshire Terriers
  • Chinese crested dogs
  • Mexican hairless dogs.

Many dog breeds are hairless and they do need a coat in the rain. The skin of the breeds having short fur or no fur comes in direct contact with rainy drops 💧, chilling their body during the rain. Thus, these breeds must wear a raincoat.

dog in the rain

Thus, if your dog 🐶 is one of a single-coated breed such as Boxer, Dalmatian or Maltese, he lacks the insulating undercoat that helps maintain a comfortable body temperature when it’s cold out and would benefit from a raincoat.

Moreover, if your dog normally has a longer coat but is currently groomed or shaved much shorter than usual, you should consider getting him a raincoat.

Size of the Dog

Dogs that are lower to the ground may also benefit from a raincoat as they may get their bodies wet while walking in the rain ☔. Thus, a raincoat that covers their chest and stomach as well as their back will be beneficial. Shorter breeds like Corgis and Basset Hounds, may need this kind of protection.

These dogs have shorter legs and longer bodies, which make them more prone to splashing water or mud on their bellies or chests. This can make them feel cold and dirty increasing the risk of skin infections.

A raincoat that covers the lower part of the body can help keep these dogs clean and dry preventing them from getting sick. However, not all raincoats are designed to fit these dogs well, as some may be too long or too loose for their unique body shape.

Therefore, it is important to choose a raincoat that is specially made for shorter breeds or one that has adjustable straps or elastic bands that can be customized to fit your dog 🐶 snugly and comfortably.

Age of the Dog

Puppies and senior dogs may have weaker immune systems or lower body temperatures 🌡 than adult dogs.[2] Thus, they may need a raincoat to prevent them from getting sick or hypothermic in the rain. Puppies have not yet developed their full coat, which means they have less natural protection from the cold and wet weather.

senior dog in the rain

On the flip side, senior dogs may have thinner or sparser fur due to ageing, which also reduces their insulation and water resistance. Both puppies and senior dogs may also have less energy or stamina to cope with the rain ☔ and may get tired or chilled more easily. A raincoat can help keep these dogs warm and cosy 😴 and boost their immune system and metabolism.

Medical Condition of the Dog

Dogs with medical conditions or injuries that affect their skin, fur or joints may also need a raincoat to avoid further complications. Some dogs may have allergies, dermatitis, hot spots or wounds that make their skin more sensitive or prone to infection.

Some dogs may have arthritis, hip dysplasia or other joint problems that make their movement more painful or difficult. A raincoat can help protect these dogs from external factors that may aggravate their condition. It can also help these dogs heal faster and recover better, as it can prevent them from licking or scratching their affected areas, which can delay the healing process or cause more damage.

However, a raincoat should not interfere with your dog’s prescribed medication 💊 or treatment plan. You should always follow your veterinarian’s advice 👩‍⚕️ on how to care for your dog’s condition or injury.

Drawbacks of Dog Coats in the Rain

Not all dogs need or like coats in the rain. Some dogs 🐶 have thick or long fur that naturally protects them from the elements. These dogs may not need a coat at all and may even overheat or feel suffocated if they wear one.

A coat can also interfere with their natural ability to regulate their body temperature 🌡. This can lead to heatstroke or dehydration. Another drawback of dog coats in the rain ☔ is that they can cause discomfort and irritation to your dog.

Some coats are made of synthetic materials that can be harsh on your dog’s skin or fur. These coats can also trap moisture, dirt, or bacteria, which can cause itching, inflammation, or infection. A coat that is too tight, too loose, or poorly fitted can also restrict your dog’s movement or blood circulation.

How to Train Your Dog to Wear a Coat

Many dogs 🐶 are picky and they don’t like to add an extra layer to themselves. Therefore, it might be difficult to wear them coat in the rain. It is better to go at a slower pace. You need to first introduce the coat and gently let them get comfortable with it.

do dogs need coats in the rain?

Here, are some guidelines by which you can train your dog to wear a coat:

  1. Keep the coat on the floor. By placing it on the floor where it will be stationary and low down, your dog will be able to investigate the unfamiliar coat and conclude that it is safe and will not harm him.
  2. Reward your dog for a little interaction. To help your pup understand that interacting with the raincoat is a positive thing, you may give him a treat whenever he touches or plays with the coat.
  3. Gently put the coat on your dog. Once your dog is comfortable with the coat being on the floor, put it on him for just a few seconds. If he seems fine with it, reward your dog with a treat.
  4. Increase their time wearing it. Slowly increase how long he is wearing it by a few more seconds, then a few minutes, etc. It is also best to let your dog wear it for some time whilst inside the house before you go out into the rain.
  5. Go out in the rain. While your dog might not be too keen on the raincoat, once he experiences the difference it makes while out on walks, and so begins to comprehend its function of keeping them warm and dry, they might grow fond of it!

You can also help your dog get used to wearing rain accessories by having them first wear a dog umbrella hat. The dog umbrella hat sits on their head and has a small umbrella attached to protect their head and back from the rain

See, so easy! Now, your Fido is ready to play or walk outside in the rain without being wet. This also decreases the risk of him getting cold and protects him from any dirt, mud or infection from the rain.


Should dogs wear a coat in the rain?

If your dog needs a coat then he must wear it in the rain. Generally, breeds with thick fur do not need a coat as they already have a natural layer of protection whereas hairless breeds or breeds with short fur should wear a coat in the rain.

Do all dogs have waterproof coats?

Some dog breeds are known for their waterproof fur because of their thick double coats. These breeds include Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Newfoundland dogs, and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. The water-resistant properties of their fur are attributed to the oily, dense undercoat and weather-resistant outer coat.

How can I protect my dog in the rain?

A raincoat and booties can help protect your dog from the cold and wet weather. If they are hesitant to wear it, train them using doggie training treats. However, if the temperature is warm and humid, it’s best to avoid walking your dog during the hottest parts of the day, as this can cause your dog to overheat.

Do dogs get cold in the rain?

Rain, snow, heavy fog, going for a swim any form of dampness that soaks through the fur can quickly chill a dog even if the air temperature is mild. You can check for signs like shaking, shivering, whining, paw lift, tucked tail and change in behaviour which reflects that the dog is feeling cold.

Wrapping Up

The answer to whether dogs need coats in the rain or not depends on several factors, such as your dog’s breed, size, fur and health. Some dogs may benefit from wearing a coat in the rain, while others may not. Do dogs gets cold in the rain? Yes, dampness can chill them quickly. If you decide to buy a coat for your dog, you should choose one that fits them well and suits their needs and personality.

Consider your dog’s needs and preferences to decide “how long can dogs be in the rain” with or without a coat. With proper precautions, most healthy adult dogs can tolerate light to moderate rain for 30-60 minutes. Adjust this time based on conditions and your dog’s response

You should also train your dog to wear a coat positively and gradually. A coat can be a useful and stylish accessory for your dog, as long as you use it wisely. Hope this blog helped you decide whether your dog needs a coat in the rain or not. Happy monsoons! ☔🐶


  1. Your Pets and Rainy Weather. (2019, February). AnimalCare.
  2. Dall’Ara, P., Lauzi, S., Turin, L., Castaldelli, G., Servida, F., & Filipe, J. (2023). Effect of ageing on the immune response to core vaccines in senior and geriatric dogs. Veterinary Sciences.
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Jacob Kay
Jacob Kay is a Veterinary Advisor and Editor at WWD. He’s also a dog lover and has two pet dogs of his own. He has extensive knowledge in the field of veterinary medicine and is always happy to share his insights with others.

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