While a few dog breeds are completely fine with being in cold and rainy weather, a large majority of breeds are not. Many dogs can get cold, and even more dislike being in the rain and wet. A dog raincoat can be very helpful for both the dog and the owner, but there are a few things you must consider before picking out the most appropriate one.
Pick a Bright Color If Possible
In bad weather, it may be difficult to see what’s in front of you. So if you happen to have no choice but to be out in a storm, you want cars, motorcycles, and trucks to be able to see you and your dog from as far away as possible.
Canines who are afraid of thunder and lightning have a tendency to bolt, and if your dog gets away from you and darts across the road in front of oncoming traffic, the driver will at least have time to spot them and hopefully swerve out of the path of your pooch.
If you can find one available, buy a dog raincoat that's not only bright but the one that also comes with a reflective material, like those you see joggers wearing at night. The more layers of precaution you can add for a rainy weather, the better.
Easy Leash Access
When buying a raincoat for your dog, it’s easy to forget that you’ve actually got an entire leash that needs to be attached. Leash connections are probably the last thing on your mind. However, it’s pretty inconvenient when you’ve purchased a raincoat already and realize that there isn’t any proper connection for their leash.
Look for dog raincoats that have an external D-ring, or have a small space on the back of the neck that allow you to attach it without messing up the lay of the coat. If the coat isn’t able to be worn properly, it may be ineffective when in the rain.
Securing the Dog Raincoat
Another thing we worry about is how clothing and collars are attached to our dogs. For the most part, it’s best to avoid zipper attachments because it’s easy for fur and skin to get caught.
Try to pick out a raincoat that is secured by snap buttons, velcro, or clip buckles. For safety measures, snap buttons and velcro work best. If your dog is chasing something, or happens to get caught on an object, the coat will pop off and “break away” so that your pet doesn’t end up hung or strangled.
How Much Coverage Does Your Dog Need?
Some raincoats work like a poncho or light blanket – you simply throw it over your dog’s torso and it hangs off the sides. However, you have plenty of options to choose from in regards to how much coverage can be provided for the pet.
These are probably better for someone who lives a very active, outdoor life and enjoys activities such as hunting and fishing. We all like having our pets accompany us on these trips, but no one really wants their dog returning home covered in mud and in desperate need of a bath. It’s much more convenient to get a raincoat dirty and throw it in the wash.
Does the Dog’s Coat Need a Liner?
Most of the time when it’s raining we do expect it to be a little cooler outside, and some dogs aren’t fond of the rain, let alone the chill that it brings. A warm, water-resistant lining helps smaller, less furry pups maintain their warmth as well as staying dry. Although some people believe that dogs do just fine outdoors on their own, they can still get hypothermia, just like we do.
Southern states like Texas often have warm rain showers in the summer, so a liner might not be needed. As the seasons change, it might be a good idea to keep rain coat specifically for moisture, and another for both rain and colder temperatures. In the same way you don’t want your pup to get too cold, hyperthermia, or overheating can be just as painful and deadly.
Make Sure the Coat Actually Fits
This may seem like an obvious requirement, but not everyone stops to measure their dog before purchasing pet clothing. Aside from being uncomfortable, an ill-fitting raincoat can actually cause your pet discomfort or even pain. Even if you have measured your pup and know their weight, have them try it on before you take them out in the rain.
Take note as to whether or not the straps appear to be cutting into your dog’s skin, and that can walk and move their head and neck with ease. Straps around the belly should be secure, but not so tight that your dog is unable to walk and run as they would normally.
Any strap around the dog's neck is there purely to keep the raincoat positioned correctly, and it should never be tight. If you are unable to stick two fingers under areas of that strap, then it’s too tight.
Is the Coat Machine Washable?
You might be happy just to find a dog raincoat that fits well and does it’s job, but a machine washable jacket can make all the difference. Raincoats are obviously meant to deter water, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t have that damp “dog smell” that most beds and blankets get after a few months. Hand washing is always a possibility, but it doesn’t quite have the same effect.
If you plan on putting your dog’s rain jacket in the wash, be sure that it won’t fall apart or damage the inner lining. Consider using a dryer bag as well to protect the straps, zippers, and buckles that often get caught on the inside of a washer or drying machine.
Be Wary of Less Than Effective Brands
Finding the best raincoat for your dog can be a bit complicated, but if you really aren’t sure about the one you plan on buying, simply check out the reviews it has online and visit your local pet store to try it with your pooch.
When reading reviews, pay attention to what other pet owners say on the durability and comfort, and worry less about things like the color or how cute it is. Your dog will forgive you for a pink raincoat with polka dots as long as they’re warm, dry, and comfortable.
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