Let's face it: as great as it is, good quality doggy clothing does not come cheap. With dog coats being some of the most commonly bought and practical items of dog clothing, you want to make sure that you’re getting something that your dog can actually fit into and use.
But how do you measure your dog for a coat? Size charts can vary and seem confusing, so what criteria should you be looking for?
A Good Winter Coat
The type of coat you are getting should not affect sizing too much, but knowing what you’re looking for can make things a little bit easier when you measure your dog.
For example, a stretchy-sweater-style dog coat might get away with being a bit smaller and more fitting. However, a jacket-style coat made of thick material for outside use may offer less give. Or you might just go for the middle ground and get a good dog hoodie instead.
Whichever way you go, knowing what your end goal is is a good plan. If you decide to buy a combination of clothes, such as a sweater and raincoat combination, then remember to go a little bit bigger on the outer layers.
Can I Just Go Off Breed Size?
Yes and no.
Many dog coat brands will offer sizing based on breed type. This can be a good place to start and give you a general ballpark of what sizes you should be looking at. Some breeds also have very dense fur or loose skin-folds, such as labradoodles or sharpays, that can affect sizing.
However, there is a lot of variety, even in purebreds. A plump dog will have a different shape from a skinny or muscular dog of the same breed. Therefore, it's not a great idea to purchase a dog coat based solely on breed.
For the same reason, going off weight alone is also not great. An overweight human may weigh the same as a bodybuilder, but they will need very different fits. The same goes for dogs.
Almost all dog clothes, dog coats included, follow the same measurement rules. You will need a soft tape measure and the patience to try and get your dog to stay still to get the following.
Remember! Puppies will grow very rapidly, and any dog that's under 2 years old will need to be re-measured often to make sure that their sizing hasn’t changed too much.
Length is the primary measurement when it comes to dog clothes. This is the measurement from your dog’s collar (The point at the base of their neck) to the base of their tails. This will give you a measurement of their torso, which will make sure that their whole back is covered.
You will need to ensure they stay still and upright when you measure your dog to make the measurement as accurate as possible.
The next important step is measuring your dog’s chest girth. This is the widest part of your dog’s chest, just behind its front paws. You can feel the point just behind their shoulders to start the measurement.
Remember to add a little bit here if your dog’s chest has a lot of loose skin, thick fur, or if you expect them to gain a little weight, such as with a rescue pup.
You should measure your dog’s neck around the area where its collar sits. This will make sure that the jacket will fit around your dog’s neck comfortably and that they will be able to get the dog coat on and off easily.
It's a good idea to record your dog’s size in both inches and centimeters, though most sites should provide a chart in both.
As you can see below, on Sparkpaws’ dog coat sizes chart, once you know these three measurements, it should be easy to choose a dog coat. If you’re choosing your dog’s winter coat, look at the back measurement first - This ensures that your dog’s entire stomach and back will be covered for maximum warmth.
Next, you can judge between the girth and the neck to ensure you will get the best fit.
Remember! A jacket-style coat will normally clip in under your dog's front legs, but a pullover, blanket-style, or parker-style coat will need to be pulled over your dog’s head. Keep this in mind when looking at neck sizing.
When Your Coat Arrives
Once your dog coat has arrived, try it on your dog at your earliest convenience.
The coat should cover your dog’s body as much as possible, stretching from its neck to the base of its tail. However, it should never cover their rear or interfere with their ability to use the bathroom comfortably.
After a bit of wear, dog coats should still be firmly in place, not moving around too much or sliding. They should also never cause chafing, hair loss, or create sores on your dog’s body. If this is the case, then it may be too tight, or your dog might be allergic to something.
Sometimes, new dog coats may take some getting used to. The new smell and unfamiliar feel might be a bit upsetting for a dog. So don’t panic if your dog seems uncomfortable or is keen to get out of the coat at first. It might just take some getting used to.
If you’re sure that the size is correct, then it may be a good idea to give it a wash or even soak it in some water and baking soda to get rid of any packaging smells.
Returning a Dog Coat
Sparkpaws allows for a return and refund of any dog coats that don’t fit.
However, the garment must still be new, have its tags and original packaging, and have no odor or pet fur.
You can also exchange your items within 30 days of order as long as the product is still in good quality if you email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your first exchange is completely free (provided the products are approved), as Sparkpaws wants to eliminate confusion over product sizing. We want to ensure you get the sizing right on your first purchase and eliminate sizing issues in the future.
Additional exchanges might fall on your own cost, and other companies' policies may differ.
It's a good idea to know what you want out of your dog’s coat. The style of dog coat that you're going for may affect how you decide to size them. However, this isn't normally too important unless you’re layering.
Choosing your dog’s coat off of breed may be a good place to start, but the downside is that dogs may differ in size and shape even within the same breed.
Dog coats usually have three measurements. The length - the length of your dog from neck to tail base. This is the most important when choosing an encompassing and large size dog coat. The girth - The circumference of your dog’s chest behind its front legs. The neck - the circumference of your dog’s neck where their collar should be.
You will need a soft tape measure. It's a good idea to keep a record of the measurements in both centimeters and inches.
Don’t worry; dog coat sizing may seem confusing, but once you’ve gotten those three measurements, it should be very easy to compare to a manageable size guide.
If you want to test yourself - Try looking at some of the size guides in our Doggy Clothing catalog and see if the sizing makes sense to you.
Hopefully, this makes choosing a coat a little easier. Enjoy your shopping!