Dogs have lived closely with humans for at least 15,000 years, and they are unique in their ability to understand and form a relationship with their human companions. Many modern dog owners see their dog as a family member, not just a pet, and they try to provide their dog with every comfort and convenience possible, from the highest quality of food to the best in canine fashion. Though not every dog enjoys wearing clothes, many can benefit from the extra protection that the right clothing can offer. The following are some tips for choosing the perfect clothes and fashion accessories for your pet.
Why Dress Your Dog?
Dressing a dog in clothes or accessories can have lots of benefits. Some are more practical, while others are purely aesthetic. The following are some the top reasons given by dog owners for dressing their dogs.
- Warmth. A warm sweater or coat can help a dog stay warm and dry on a cold or rainy winter day. Small dogs and short-haired or hairless breeds suffer the most from low temperatures, so they especially benefit from warm clothes.
- Cleanliness. Dogs need to spend time outdoors, but when they do, they tend to come back in the house covered in dirt, mud, or pollen. A sweater or t-shirt can keep your dog’s fur clean when he or she goes outside.
- Comfort. Dogs who suffer from anxiety can be comforted by the pressure of a snug-fitting shirt or sweater. In fact, there are shirts made specifically to soothe dogs who are afraid of thunder and fireworks.
- Costumes. Many dog outfits are designed to be worn as costumes at Halloween or on other occasions. Sometimes dog owners and their dogs even wear matching costumes for fun.
- Cuteness. You may want to dress your dog just for the pleasure of seeing how cute he or she looks in a designer outfit. With the right clothes, your dog might even become the next Instagram sensation.
- Status. Just as humans wear designer labels to demonstrate their social status, many people dress their pets in designer dog clothes for the same reason. If you’re going to treat yourself to luxury brands, why not treat your pet as well?
What Kinds Of Clothing Can Dogs Wear?
The first and most basic type of clothing worn by dogs is a collar. There is evidence from ancient Egyptian tombs that dogs were wearing decorative collars to identify them with their owners as early as 1440 B.C. Collars are worn by almost every dog today, and modern dogs with fashion-conscious owners can even wear collars designed by Ralph Lauren or Louis Vuitton. In addition to collars and leashes, dogs can wear scarves, bandanas, coats, sweaters, t-shirts, booties, hats, and costumes of all kinds.
Is Your Dog A Good Candidate For Dog Fashion?
It’s important to ask yourself whether dog clothes are appropriate for your dog. Every dog has a unique personality which affects his or her response to fashion. Some dogs love wearing clothes, some tolerate it out of love for their owners, and some truly dislike it. If you have to force your dog to wear clothes, you may cause your pet to suffer from discomfort, stress, and anxiety. Signs of distress can include running away, crouching, rolling over, trying to pull the clothes off, and refusing to move.
Calm-natured dogs who have a strong desire to please their owner can often learn to adapt to clothing with the right introduction and training. Small, short-haired dogs can be great candidates for dog fashion because clothing can protect them from the cold and make them feel good. If you want to dress your dog, take it slowly and give it time, but bear in mind that some dogs cannot adapt to wearing clothes and should not be made to endure it.
How Can You Teach Your Dog To Wear Clothes?
If possible, you want to introduce your dog to wearing clothes while he or she is still a puppy. By putting clothes on a very young dog, you can train the dog to accept clothes and consider them natural. With an older dog, it can be more of a challenge. If you have an older dog that you would like to dress, try this step by step process.
- Start with a bandana, the least confining type of clothing. Let the dog smell the bandana and get familiar with it for awhile before trying to put it on. Try wearing the bandana yourself before giving it to your pet so that the cloth will carry your familiar scent.
- Reward your dog with lots of treats and praise whenever he or she wears the bandana so that he or she develops a positive association with wearing clothes.
- Gradually increase the amount of time per day that your dog wears the bandana. At first, keep it on for just a few minutes, but build up the time day by day until your dog is wearing the bandana for an hour or more.
- Once your dog is comfortable wearing a bandana, try using the same method to introduce a light t-shirt. Eventually he or she can graduate to a sweater, hoodie, or coat.
With time and luck, your dog will not only tolerate clothes but will come to associate wearing clothes with comfort and pleasure. Patience and plenty of treats are the key to making this process work. It’s important to let your dog set the pace and to accept your dog’s ultimate decision about wearing clothes.
When Should Dogs Wear Clothes And When Should They Be Au Naturale?
Even when dogs like to wear clothes, they do not need to wear clothes all the time. Temperature and freedom of movement are two important considerations.
While a chilly fall or winter day may be the perfect occasion to bundle up your short-haired Chihuahua in a fuzzy sweater, a bigger dog can easily get overheated when wearing clothes that are too warm for the occasion. Consider your dog’s coat as well as size. Dogs with thick undercoats, like Huskies and Golden Retrievers, are more likely to get too hot in a sweater or coat even on a cold day.
In addition, bear in mind that some clothes may hinder your dog’s movement. Booties or long sleeves could cause your dog to trip or make it difficult for him to move around. If clothes are too confining or too loose, they can keep your dog from walking, running, and playing freely, which could be detrimental to your dog’s health.
What Should You Consider When Choosing Clothes For Your Dog?
Nowadays, the dog fashion industry is growing, and dog owners have many options when choosing clothes for their pet. Before making a purchase, however, you need to consider the following questions.
- Is the clothing in the right size? Dog breeds are highly variable in their dimensions, so it may not be best to order a piece of clothing based only on the breed. Instead, take two measurements to make sure you’re getting the right size. First, measure your dog from the base of the neck (where the collar rests) to the base of the tail. Next, measure your dog’s chest girth just behind the front legs. Make sure the clothing you choose can accommodate your dog’s actual measurements.
- Does the clothing allow freedom of movement and urination? To make sure your dog can move freely, choose a stretchy fabric like cotton or spandex. Avoid wool, which tends to be not only confining, but irritating to the skin. In addition, check the cut of the clothing and make sure it doesn’t obstruct urination. This is more likely to be an issue for male dogs, so check that there is sufficient free space around the groin area.
- Is the clothing adjustable? This is an important consideration, especially if you’re buying clothes for a young dog who is still growing. Even full-grown dogs may change size if they lose or gain weight. To make sure that clothing never becomes too loose or too tight, choose pieces that fasten with Velcro or that can be fastened in different positions.
- Is the clothing safe for your pet? Decorative buttons, sequins, and jewels can make a dog’s outfit look extra glamorous, but any detachable parts can also be a choking hazard. When dogs are frustrated or stressed, they are likely to bite and chew whatever is at hand. If dogs can access a button or jewel on a sweater, they can easily pull it off and ingest it. If you can’t provide constant supervision, consider choosing clothing made of fabric only.
Buying clothes for your dog can be a great way to show your love. By choosing high-quality garments, you can offer your furry friend the best possible protection from the cold, wind and rain, ensuring that you and your dog can spend time together anywhere. If you’re not sure where to begin, start by browsing the collection of chic and luxurious dog fashions at Pehom.