Dog Blankets: When Dogs Need Them and Why

by | Dog Care

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Sometimes dog owners aren’t sure if they should give blankets to their dog. My dogs have several blankets to snuggle in, which are always in their matching dog beds. I wasn’t sure if the dogs needed more blankets or different kinds of blankets, so I decided to find out and share it all with you today.

Do dogs need blankets?  A dog’s fur isn’t always enough to keep them warm. Every dog needs at least one blanket, sometimes more. Dogs use blankets for more than warmth; blankets also provide comfort and a sense of security.

Not all dogs are the same so there’s no blanket rule that works for all dogs all the time. Your own dog’s blanket needs might also change over time, with the weather and their age. Here are a few things to think about before choosing when to give your dog a blanket and how many blankets are needed.

When your dog needs blankets and why

Do dogs need blankets?

Do dogs need blankets in winter?

Dogs need blankets in winter to keep warm.

Blankets help to protect dogs from the cold and sometimes freezing weather. If you feel cold, your dog is probably cold too.

If the temperature falls below 40° Fahrenheit (4° Celsius), you should keep an eye on your dog as it might be too cold for them according to the Tufts Animal Care and Condition Scales. Dogs can get hypothermia, which can kill them if they don’t get help.

Fur is usually not enough to keep most dogs warm. Whether your dog is inside or outside during winter, they should have at least one blanket. If your dog spends a lot of time outside during the colder months, they should have more than one blanket to cuddle up in.

But blankets might not be enough to keep a dog warm if they’re outside during cold weather. Look for a nice warm dog coat or jacket for your dog to wear. An insulated kennel, shelter for during the day, and a pet-friendly heater are added musts.

In particularly bad winters, it’s not recommended to leave your dog outside for long periods of time.

Do dogs need blankets in summer?

Dogs need blankets in summer for warmth, comfort, and a sense of security. A dog needs at least one blanket for summer, but you can give them more than one blanket to enjoy, especially if the dog is small or getting older.

Summer days can still bring rain, wind, and chilly weather. Smaller and older dogs often struggle to stay warm on their own, even during summer. Older dogs have a weaker immune system and are naturally more sensitive to the weather. Blankets will help a dog stay warm when it needs a little help.

Who doesn’t like to snuggle up in a blanket or lie down on a soft bed? Blankets don’t just give warmth, they give comfort and security in the hotter months too.

Your dog could sleep 12 to 14 hours a day and needs something comfortable to lie on. The floor is hard and there are often insects crawling around in the grass. A blanket will soften your dog’s sleep and protect your dog from biting critters.

Do puppies need blankets?

All puppies need blankets no matter what season it is. Puppies are very sensitive to the cold and, like human babies, like to be snuggled up for comfort and security in a blanket.

Puppies with thinner coats or a bigger bone structure will need thicker or more blankets than others. Puppies that are sickly definitely need a blanket to stay warm and fight any infections.

If you have a puppy or a dog that likes to chew and swallow non-food things, it’s better to invest in puppy-safe or chew-resistant blankets. These blankets are more durable and make it harder for your dog to bite off pieces and swallow them, which is a choking hazard.

Do dogs need blankets inside?

Dogs that stay inside need a blanket to cuddle and several blankets if they don’t have a dog bed to sleep in.

Hard surfaces such as wooden floors, tiles, concrete, laminate flooring and other types of uncarpeted floors tend to be cold and are uncomfortable to lie on, especially for older dogs and those with arthritis or joint problems.

Put several blankets in a corner for your dog to lie on if they don’t have a dog bed. Your dog should be at least 2 inches (5cm) off the ground when they lie down, even if your floors are carpeted.

Remember to set up this area where it’s easily accessible to your dog – old dogs and puppies can seldom make it up stairs or over and under obstacles to get to their bed.

Do dogs need blankets in their crate?

Dogs do need a blanket in their crate for comfort, but a foam mattress or dog bed will also add to their wellbeing. The type of blanket depends on the dog’s requirements as dogs that are crate trained, puppies still being crate trained and senior dogs all have different needs.

If your dog or puppy often wets the bed or chews things, waterproof and chew-resistantblankets are a great option for their crate.

It’s important to never punish your dog by covering the crate fully with a blanket. A blanket over the top of a crate is okay for relaxed moments and sleep time, but never as punishment and never the entire crate.

What is the best material for a dog blanket?

The material you choose for your dog’s blankets will depend on the weather, the breed, your dog’s fur and how old your dog is. Cold weather, puppies, sickly dogs, older dogs, and outdoor dogs all need thick, durable blankets to stay warm and comfortable.

Lightweight polyester fleece, nylon, faux fur, Sherpa, quilted, coral fleece, and polar fleece are some of the best materials to use for dog blankets.

Coral fleece is the most popular material for dog blankets and tends to be quite thick and warm. This material makes excellent blankets for colder weather and dogs that need a little extra snuggle and warmth.

Most of these blanket materials are machine washable, soft and durable. The good news is that they tend not to collect dog hair.

How big should a dog blanket be?

The size of the dog blanket should be in relation to your dog’s breed and size.

Smaller dogs need smaller, lighter blankets. Bigger dogs are better off with thicker, heavier blankets.

Pet blankets are often sold according to size, much like the sizes on human clothes. The manufacturer will provide specs for the dog size and which blanket you should get.

As a general rule of thumb, here’s a table of dog sizes and what size a more luxurious dog blanket should be:

Dog SizeDog Blanket Size (inches)Dog Blanket Size (cm)
Small Dogs31” x 27”80cm x 70cm
Medium-Size Dogs44” x 34”110cm x 90cm
Large Dogs53” x 41”130cm x 105cm
Extra-Large Dogs60” x 48”150cm x 120cm
Dog blanket dimensions in inches courtesy of Chewy.com

Can a dog overheat under a blanket?

If a dog can’t get out or the blanket is too heavy, your dog might overheat. If you think your dog might be getting too hot, feel the skin inside their ear flap. If it feels too hot, help your dog out from under the blanket and let them cool down.

Most small breed dogs like to burrow down under our duvet. This is a natural instinct from their days in the wild, when they’d dig holes or look for a safe place to hide in and sleep.

We know it can get warm under the covers and in winter we often have electric blankets on too. This temperature could get way too hot for your dog. Try to loosen the bedding so your dog can easily make their way to the sides or ends of the bed and get out, if they need to.

As long as your dog can get out or move away from the blanket, he will do so if he feels too hot or like he isn’t getting enough air.

Are heated beds safe for your dog?

Heated beds are relatively safe for dogs, but don’t leave any dog unattended with a heated bed. These beds carry the same risks as the electric and heated blankets we use on our own beds.

Warm up your dog’s bed before sleepy time and switch the bed off when your dog is all snuggled in.

Never use a human electric or heated blanket for your dog as dogs and people have big differences in body temperature. Heated dog beds heat up safely and work on a low voltage, which makes them quite safe for animals. Don’t give a heated bed to a dog or puppy that likes to chew things or cannot control their bladder.

Like everything else, there’s still a small chance that the bed could malfunction, overheat or catch fire. Always follow the instructions. Don’t ever leave your dog unsupervised on a heated bed or leave the bed on if you’re not in the room.

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MONIQUE

Monique has had pets all her life and will have them for the rest of it.

She currently has 4 adopted fur kids.

Monique loves researching and sharing what she finds out about taking the best care of animals.

Ayo is an African word for ‘happy’, which is why this site is called Ayo Pets (Happy Pets).

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