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Should Dogs Wear Clothes? Tips for Choosing Dog Clothes | AKC Pet Insurance

Pet Health and Safety  •   Richard Rowlands  •   Dec 21, 2021

 

Dogs and clothes – it's a topic that's often debated. Some people say they love to dress their dogs up in cute outfits, while others think it's cruel and unnecessary. But are clothes good for your four-legged friend, or should you avoid dressing up your pup? We're here to help you find out!

Not All Dog Clothes Are Created Equal

First, it's important to point out that not all dog clothes are created equal. Some outfits are designed with a pup's comfort and safety in mind, while others only serve the purpose of human entertainment. To put it simply, dog clothes can be helpful or potentially harmful, depending on the garment.

Necessary Garments for Dogs

Although your furry friend won't necessarily enjoy wearing them, some garments can actually be beneficial for dogs. Let's take a look at some examples and the benefits they offer.

Sweaters & Coats

Sweaters and coats can help protect your dog against the elements. They're a good choice for dogs with short or thin coats, or any pup that's uncomfortable in cold weather. Insulated sweaters and coats are especially useful if you live in a cold climate or have a sick or aging dog.

Sun Shirts

UV-blocking sun shirts can keep your dog cool and provide them with sun protection. This is especially important for breeds with thin and light-colored coats and dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors. Make sure to choose a sun shirt that has a UPF rating of 50+ so your dog is well protected from the sun's harmful rays.

Vests

Several types of vests can be helpful for dogs and their human companions. Reflective vests are perfect for nighttime walks and can help protect your pup against cars and other dangers. If your dog tends to get anxious, consider investing in an anxiety vest. These snugly-fitting garments apply pressure to your dog's body and may help soothe and calm them. Finally, cooling vests are perfect for hot weather. Most work by using evaporative cooling to draw heat away from your dog's body, lowering their core temperature in the process.

Booties

Booties can be a great way to protect your pup's feet from the cold, ice, and salt on sidewalks and roads in wintertime. Non-slip booties are also helpful for senior dogs who may have difficulty with mobility. In addition, booties can help protect your dog's paws in hot weather and prevent injuries from thorns, sharp rocks, and other hazards.

Life Jackets

If your dog spends a lot of time in the water, a high-quality life jacket is a must. They're perfect for dogs that like to go boating with their family or enjoy swimming at the beach or in the pool. Life jackets are especially helpful for dogs that aren't strong swimmers, and for short-nosed breeds like Pugs and Bulldogs that have trouble staying afloat.

How to Pick the Perfect Clothes for Your Dog

There are a few things you should keep in mind when choosing clothes for your dog. First, make sure to measure your dog and choose garments of the appropriate size. Clothes that are too tight can be uncomfortable and potentially dangerous, while clothes that are too loose may fall off or get caught on things.

It's also important to choose dog clothes that are made from durable, comfortable, and safe materials. Avoid materials with rough seams or other parts that might rub against your dog's fur and cause irritation or discomfort. You should also steer clear of materials that can be harmful if your pup tries to chew on them.

Finally, it's a good idea to choose clothes with adjustable straps and closures for maximum security and safety. Outfits should also be easy to clean by hand or in the washing machine (on a gentle cycle) after use. If possible, look for dog clothes made from materials that are resistant to stains and odors.

Unnecessary Garments for Dogs

Now that we've looked at some of the most helpful dog clothes out there, let's take a look at some not-so-helpful garments.

Pajamas

Unless your pup has trouble staying warm at night, pajamas are generally unnecessary and may even be uncomfortable for dogs. In addition, most pajama fabrics aren't breathable and can cause your dog to overheat. Instead of dressing your dog up in pajamas, provide plenty of warm bedding in colder weather so they can stay comfortable at night.

Hats & Scarves

Hats are another type of clothing that's generally not necessary for dogs. They can be uncomfortable and difficult to wear, and they may also interfere with your pup's vision and hearing. Dogs should never be left unattended with scarves since they can be a choking hazard. They can also get caught on things and cause your dog to become entangled. Instead, look for a dog coat or sweater with a high collar to keep your pup warm during winter walks.

Costumes & Fashion Clothing

We've saved the most controversial type of dog clothes for last – costumes and fashion clothing. There's no denying that dogs can look cute in these types of clothes, but there are a few reasons you might want to avoid them.

First, many costumes and fashionable items are uncomfortable and restricting. This can cause dogs to become agitated, anxious, and even aggressive. Additionally, most clothing like this isn’t made from breathable materials and could cause your pup to overheat.

Finally, these types of outfits can be a safety hazard if they get caught on something or your dog starts to chew on them. They can also limit your pup's vision and hearing, making it difficult for them to interact with the world around them.

If you do choose to dress your dog in a costume, make sure it's made from comfortable and safe materials, is easy to put on and take off, and doesn't restrict your pup's movement or vision.

Final Thoughts

Dogs are generally not big fans of dressing up. Clothes can be uncomfortable, restrictive, and may even cause your pup to feel anxious or agitated. However, there are some instances where dog clothing is necessary for safety reasons or if the weather requires it. The tips in this article can help you choose dog clothes that are helpful and safe for your four-legged companion.

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