Does My Pit Bull Need a Winter Coat?

It’s a nippy day outside, so you plan to wear a coat on your walk with your Pit Bull. Then you look at your dog and wonder if you should buy them a coat as well. Is their fur sufficient at shielding them from the cold or is more protection needed? 

Does my Pit Bull need a winter coat? If the temperature is warmer than 45 degrees Fahrenheit or if you’re letting your Pit Bull out in your yard to quickly do their business, no coat is required. For longer walks and in temperatures around 32 degrees and under, a coat is a good idea.

In today’s article, I’ll explain further the nuances of when your Pit Bull should don some winter gear versus when you can skip it. I’ll even suggest some doggy coats to try as well as provide tips for getting your dog to keep their cold-weather gear on. 

When Does My Pit Bull Need a Winter Coat? When Can I Skip One?

Like we people all don’t feel the cold the same way, it’s a similar story for dogs. Smaller breeds due to size alone need to be protected much more closely from the chilly temperatures. That also applies to breeds that have thin coats or even no coats.

Recently, I’ve discussed the structure of a Pit Bull’s coat on this blog. If you missed those posts, I’ll recap for you now.

Some dogs can be double-coated, meaning they have insulating woolen hairs close to their body and then dirt-resisting guard hairs on top. Other dogs are single-coated with no woolen insulating layer.

The Pit Bull is one such dog breed with a single coat.

Pits are also mid-sized dogs, so they’re not impervious to cold, although they might not feel it as much as smaller breeds do. 

Knowing all this, let’s delve deeper into the times when you should put a coat on your Pit Bull and those that you don’t necessarily have to. 

Conditions When Your Pit Bull Needs a Coat

According to the Pedigree Foundation, a well known and trusted homeless dog adoption organization, temperatures at around 45 degrees can bother dogs that are considered cold-averse. These breeds naturally have an intolerance to the cold. 

The American Pit Bull Terrier is one such cold-averse breed, FYI. Some others include the Chihuahua, Whippet, Boston Terrier, Pug, Boxer, Chinese Crested, Dachshund, Miniature Pinscher, and Yorkshire Terrier. 

For cold-averse dogs, 45 degrees is when they start to feel the chill. Even if it’s not that cold to you, it is to them, so make sure your American Pit Bull Terrier has a coat and even booties on before taking them on their walk.

Other Pit Bull breeds are not cold-averse, so they may be able to withstand lower temperatures without visible discomfort. Even still, if it’s around 32 degrees out, your Pit Bull needs some defense against the cold.

Another situation that warrants a coat for your Pit Bull is if you’re taking them out for a longer walk in the winter weather. You might work up a good sweat as you log those miles, but remember that dogs don’t sweat except for their paws, so they’ll need their coat on for the entire walk even if you take yours off. 

Conditions When Your Pit Bull Can Skip a Coat

If your Pit Bull is not cold-averse and you’re just going to take them out for a quick pee, then you can skip the coat. That said, if your dog likes to celebrate going to the bathroom by doing victory laps or if they take a particularly long time to poop, then a coat is still recommended. 

If the temperatures are nearing 50 degrees and you and your Pit Bull are heading out for your daily walk, you might be able to pass on the coat. I would bring it with you just in case.

As you two walk along, look for signs of your Pit Bull being cold such as trembling or shivering. Then put their coat on. 

Winter-Ready Coat Recommendations for Pit Bulls

Taking your Pit Bull out in the winter is unavoidable. They have to use the use the bathroom, and even outside of that, Pit Bull breeds from the American Pit Bull Terrier to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier all need 30 to 40 minutes of exercise a day.

Even if you don’t have to use it all that often, it’s better to have winter gear for your Pit Bull than have not. Before you start shopping, you need to measure your dog in four areas: body length, chest size, body girth, and neck size. 

You need flexible measuring tape for this like you’d use when taking your own measurements at home. Then, encircle the area of your Pit Bull that you need to measure, wrapping the tape firmly but not hurting or choking your dog. Their length, in this case, is not from the dog’s head to its tail base, but from your Pit’s shoulder blades to its tail. 

To get the chest measurement for your AmStaff or other Pit Bull breed, you want to wrap measuring tape at the part of your dog’s chest that’s largest. The girth measurement should be taken around your Pit Bull’s waist at the slimmest area.

Once you have those measurements handy, you can find a well-fitting coat for your Pit Bull. Here are some of my favorite doggy coat suggestions courtesy of Amazon.

Carhartt Pet Firm Duck-Insulated Dog Chore Coat

Don’t worry, despite that this is called a chore coat, your Pit Bull can do whatever it feels like in this Carhartt dog coat. Made entirely of ring-spun cotton, the coat features two pockets, both reinforced with rivets for durability.

The collar is bordered with corduroy and can be tucked into the coat for extra protection from the cold. 

Inside the coat is 12 ounces of insulation with a nylon quilted liner. Chest tabs and a hook-and-loop closure at the neck make this coat easy to get into and out of.

This doggy coat can even repel water with a water-resistant coating. You can also order the Carhartt in several colors, including bright hunter orange, camo, tan, black, or army green. 

The Carhartt coat comes in four sizes: small through extra-large. The small is for neck sizes of 13 to 17 inches, a body length of 12 inches, and a chest size of 16 to 21 inches. The medium is for neck sizes of 18 to 23 inches and a chest size of 22 to 28 inches. The large is for neck sizes of 22 to 26 inches, a body length of 20 inches, and a chest size of 25 to 38 inches. The extra-large is for neck sizes of 24 to 29 inches and a chest size of 30 to 45 inches. 

Kuoser Cozy Waterproof Reversible Dog Vest

The British stylings of this Kuoser waterproof reversible dog vest may be more for your tastes than that of your Pit Bull’s, but you can’t deny this dog coat is quite sleek-looking. It’s reversible too. On one side is that pretty plaid, which is soft to the touch with its cotton base. The other side is water-resistant terylene. Inside the coat is a polyester fill that insulates your Pit Bull so they don’t shiver in the cold. 

The colorful array of plaid patterns available includes colors like red, purple, gray, teal blue, brown, pink, and gray. The Kuoser comes in eight sizes, XXS through 3XL.

The XXS is for body lengths of 8.7 inches and chest sizes of 9.1 to 11.8 inches.

The XS is for body lengths of 9.8 inches and chest sizes of 11.8 to 14.6 inches.

The small is for body lengths of 12.6 inches and chest sizes of 14.6 to 17.7 inches. 

The medium is for body lengths of 14.2 inches and chest sizes of 17.7 to 20.9 inches. The large is for body lengths of 15.7 inches and chest sizes of 20.9 to 23.2 inches. The extra-large is for body lengths of 18.1 inches and chest sizes of 23.2 to 26.8 inches. The XXL is for body lengths of 20.9 inches and chest sizes of 26.8 to 29.9 inches. The 3XL is for body lengths of 24 inches and chest sizes of 29.9 to 37.8 inches. 

Kurgo Dog Jacket

My last pick for Pit Bull winter coats is the Kurgo Dog Jacket, an Amazon’s Choice product. This coat is also reversible for all sorts of weather.

One surface of this coat is reflective so when walking your dog at night, you can feel safer since your Pit Bull is more visible.

The ripstop fabric of the Kurgo dog jacket is designed for strength and weatherproofing. A leash access zipper built into the coat lets you easily hook up your Pit Bull to their leash with the coat still on them.

You also have all sorts of fun colors to select from so you can match your Pit Bull’s coat to yours. 

You can choose from five sizes for the Kurgo dog jacket: XS through XL. The XS is for neck sizes of 12 inches and chest sizes of 14.5 to 17 inches. The small is for neck sizes of 15 inches and chest sizes of 19 to 27 inches. The medium is for neck sizes of 18 inches and chest sizes of 26 to 35 inches. The large is for neck sizes of 22 inches and chest sizes of 30 to 39 inches. The extra-large is for neck sizes of 24 inches and chest sizes of 35 to 45 inches. 

Tips for Adjusting Your Pit Bull to Wearing Their Winter Coat 

You bought a coat for your AmStaff or cold-averse American Pit Bull Terrier from the list above, but your dog absolutely refuses to wear it. You don’t want to force them into it, but you’re not sure what else to do. How do you get your Pit Bull to happily wear their winter coat? Here are some tips.

Make Sure the Coat Fits

I’m sure you took measurements of your Pit Bull per the information in the last section, but it’s still not a bad idea to double-check the fit of their coat anyway.

That’s especially true if you’ve ordered your doggy coat online, since you can’t try it on your Pit Bull ahead of your purchase. 

If you have clothes that are too tight, you don’t want to wear them either, right? The fit could be why your Pit Bull is so resistant to keep their coat on. Just as uncomfortable to a dog is a coat that’s too loose, so keep that in mind as well. 

Show Before You Put It On

The first time your Pit Bull sees the coat, they shouldn’t be made to wear it. Instead, when you bring the coat home from the pet store or open your Amazon box, pull the coat out and lay it on the floor. Let your curious Pit Bull come up to the coat naturally, sniffing at it. 

Then reward them for this behavior. I know, it seems strange to give your Pit treats or even head pats and verbal praise for just sniffing a dog coat, but trust me.

This creates the connection in your Pit Bull’s mind that when this coat appears, good things happen for them. 

Make Contact with the Coat

After a few times of repeating the above step, you want to add some physical contact to the mix. Take the coat and begin rubbing it along your Pit Bull’s body. This gives them a feel for what the material is like but without the commitment of wearing the coat. 

Once again, you do want to reward your Pit after this bit of exposure. In the coming days, repeat this step, making the exposure to the coat longer and longer.

Try on the Coat

It’s all gone well to this point, so now it’s time to have your Pit Bull wear the coat. After your dog is all zipped or buckled up in the coat, praise them verbally and give them treats. Then, just as fast as you put it on, remove the coat. 

Like you’ve done this entire time, it’s all about short-term exposure at first, then longer periods of wearing the coat. Keep your dog inside throughout all this.

Then, once you feel they’re acclimated to indoor use of the coat, take them for their first walk when wearing it. This might be a short walk, so be prepared for that.

However well or not well the walk goes, you still need to reward your Pit Bull for a job well done once you get home.  

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