Getting caught in the rain is no fun for anyone, including our four-legged friends. Most dogs hate getting wet and will try to find shelter at the first sign of rain. But what about when you still need to take your pup out for potty breaks or their daily exercise? Slipping them into a raincoat can make all the difference in keeping them comfortable, protected, and even happy to be outdoors in otherwise unpleasant weather.
Key Benefits of Dog Raincoats
Dog raincoats offer a number of helpful features that both safeguard your dog’s health and make life easier for you as an owner when it’s pouring outside.
Keep Dogs Dry and Warm
A waterproof raincoat creates an impermeable barrier between your dog’s fur and the rain. Water beads up and runs off the surface rather than soaking through to their skin. This allows your dog to stay dry even when trotting through puddles or getting caught out in a downpour.
Staying dry also helps retain your dog’s natural body heat. Wet fur loses insulation ability, causing your dog to get chilled. A raincoat helps them avoid getting cold and shivery in wet conditions.
Prevent Matting and Skin Irritation
For dogs with medium to long fur, heavy rain can spell trouble. Their fur tends to mat and tangle when soaked. As it dries, these knots tighten and pull painfully at your dog’s skin. Detangling these mats requires extensive brushing or sometimes even shaving fur.
A raincoat forms a smooth surface that rainwater slides off rather than penetrating into the underlayers. This keeps your dog’s coat from becoming a matted mess. Their skin stays protected as well.
Many dog raincoats incorporate reflective strips or piping along the edges. This allows drivers and cyclists to spot your pup more easily when visibility is poor.
Reflective rain gear helps prevent tragic accidents. It also makes it easier for you to keep an eye on where your dog is. Gray days and stormy nights no longer have to put a damper on your dog’s outdoor adventures.
Maintain Good Hygiene
No one wants a sopping wet dog trailing mud and dirty paw prints through the house. A raincoat keeps the mess outside where it belongs. Your dog’s paws and belly stay cleaner with a barrier between them and puddles.
Dog raincoats are a sanity saver for keeping your floors and furniture free of muck. Just be sure to wipe your dog’s paws before removing their rain gear.
Which Dogs Need Raincoats?
Not all dogs require special gear for wet weather. Breeds like Siberian Huskies and Newfoundlands have adapted dense, waterproof undercoats that shield them from rain and snow. But many other dogs will benefit from the extra protection and insulation a raincoat provides.
Dogs lacking a protective double coat tend to suffer the most in cold, wet weather. The rain penetrates right down to their skin. Breeds like Greyhounds, Boxers, Dalmatians, and Whippets do best with rainwear for warmth as well as staying dry.
Little pups have an especially hard time retaining body heat. Their high surface area to body mass ratio means they lose internal warmth rapidly. Just think how much faster a cup of coffee gets cold compared to a big thermos!
A raincoat helps small dogs conserve precious heat while defending against wind chill. This allows them to enjoy longer walks without getting dangerously chilled.
Young and Senior Dogs
Puppies have immature immune systems, making them more prone to catching colds. Senior dogs also suffer declining ability to regulate their body temperature.
Raincoats help protect vulnerable young and old dogs against weather-related illnesses. They support continued health and activity for dogs at both ends of the age spectrum.
Dogs Recovering From Injury/Surgery
Bandages and incisions need to stay clean and dry while healing. Dog raincoats provide a physical shield against contamination and irritation of healing wounds. They allow dogs recovering from surgery or illness to continue prescribed exercise programs.
Dogs With Skin Conditions
Dogs suffering from hot spots, allergies, or infections need their skin protected from further irritation. A raincoat forms a gentle barrier between tender skin and the elements. This allows dogs receiving treatment for dermatologic issues to stay active outdoors without flare-ups.
What to Look For in a Dog Raincoat
With so many styles of dog raincoats available from various manufacturers, it helps to know what features to compare. Correct sizing and smart design elements make all the difference in your dog tolerating and benefiting from their rain gear.
Waterproof and Breathable Fabric
The primary purpose of a raincoat is keeping your dog dry. So the outer layer needs to be made of completely waterproof material. At the same time, you want breathability and ventilation so your dog doesn’t get too hot.
Look for coats made of performance fabrics similar to those used in human athletic rain jackets. These are engineered to be fully waterproof while allowing water vapor (sweat) to escape. Top brands for high-tech waterproof dog raincoats include Ruffwear, Hurtta, and RC Pets.
Snug Fit With Full Coverage
For maximum weather protection, you want a raincoat that fits closely without restricting movement. It should provide coverage from the base of the tail all the way up to behind the ears. The hem shouldn’t fall much below the belly or ride too high.
Take precise measurements of your dog’s body and select a size according to the manufacturer’s sizing chart. Features like adjustable straps and toggles allow fine tuning of the fit.
Little touches like reflective piping, easy-access D-ring to attach a leash, and machine washability may not seem essential. But they make your life much simpler.
Opt for the most convenient, low-maintenance raincoat within your budget. Your dog will thank you (and so will your laundry pile)!
Raincoat Training Tips
The first few times your dog wears a raincoat can be an adjustment. Use patience and plenty of praise to help them get comfortable sporting their new gear.
Start Slowly Indoors
Don’t wait until you’re rushing out into a storm to try on your dog’s raincoat for the first time. Let them check it out while relaxed inside. Encourage them to stick their head through the neck hole and wiggle their legs into the sleeves. Keep sessions very short and reward with treats.
Take It Outside
Once your dog seems fine wearing their raincoat for a few minutes indoors, take it to the backyard. Let them move around while getting used to the feel. Again give frequent praise and treats. Slowly increase the duration your dog keeps their gear on as they acclimate.
Pair With Favorite Activities
When first wearing a raincoat for extended periods, engage your dog in highly enjoyable activities. This associates positive feelings with sporting their new apparel. Play fetch, go on a fun neighborhood walk, or let them splash in puddles while staying dry!
Be patient with the adjustment process. With time, your dog will regard their raincoat as part of preparing for outdoor adventure. They may even get excited seeing it come out!
The Takeaway: Give Your Dog Rainy Day Freedom
Dog raincoats allow your four-legged friend to comfortably carry on with potty breaks, exercise, and playtime even when the weather takes a turn for the worse. Select a thoughtfully designed raincoat suited to your dog’s needs. Help them gradually get used to wearing it through positive reinforcement training. Soon your pup will be begging to don their rain jacket so they don’t miss out on all the puddle-jumping fun!
Investing in quality rain protection pays dividends in supporting your dog’s health and happiness. Don’t let wet weather dampen their spirits. With the right gear, both of you can make the most of stormy days ahead.