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Happy National Dress Up Your Pet Day! Because, yes, there’s a day for everything. Sure, it’s cute, but is putting your dog in a sweater really a good idea? We did some digging into the pros and cons of dressing up our pets, why people like to clothe their dogs, and more. Read on to get the scoop.
There’s no right or wrong answer, as long as you’re not doing any harm. You know your dog’s temperament better than anyone. If they have the patience and don’t mind an occasional fashion show, go for it! Many dogs enjoy the extra attention. Then again, is your pet shy or sensitive? It’s probably not a great idea.
“Imagine that you arrive at work one day and are told that today is the day you will be walking around in your skivvies (the human equivalent of putting a naked dog in clothing, perhaps).” – Alexandra Horowitz via the New Yorker
If you do go for it, make sure there are no hazards. For example, a scarf could get wrapped too tightly, and accessories can cause choking if swallowed. The first thing to keep in mind, always, is the comfort and well-being of your dog. Use your best judgment here.
Is there ever a legit reason to dress up your pet? Yes! Cold weather is an obvious one. For dogs with thin or light coats of fur, the harsh cold of certain climates just aren’t manageable without a good coat or sweater. Exactly how cold your dog gets depends on the breed, size and age. There’s a reason you see Chihuahuas bundled up for the cold more than, say, Newfoundlands.
Smaller, lighter, and less furry breeds are more comfortable in a sweater or a coat. The same goes for dogs with fresh haircuts, or dogs who are aging or sick. Dogs that are made for the cold have an extra layer of insulating fur built in. For them, too many layers could mean overheating, which is just as bad as getting a chill.
Okay, but how about booties? These are safer. Go for it, especially if you regularly walk a neighborhood with salted icy sidewalks. Not only are they freezing cold, but they’re also potentially harmful. Not sure which booties to get? We’ve got the lowdown on all the styles of booties right here.
Besides keeping your dog warm, clothing can also help with anxiety. The sense of security that comes from a snug-fitting vest like the Thundershirt can be soothing for anxious dogs. Next time there’s a thunderstorm in the forecast, or your town is planning a big fireworks show, try an anxiety vest. It can make all the difference in ensuring that your dog feels safe and comforted.
- Consider materials. Wool is warm, but it can be itchy—think about hiking socks, for instance. Cotton is breathable, but doesn’t dry as well.
- Take measurements. Clothing that’s too tight or too big is seriously uncomfortable. The better the fit, the happier the dog! And remember: they need to be able to relieve themselves, so shop accordingly.
- Read reviews. Pet parents look out for other pet parents—if you’re shopping online, see what people like or didn’t like. Testimonials are a great way to make sure you’re getting the best clothing for your dog.
The bottom line? If your dog will happily wear a hat for a quick photo to amuse you (and up your Instagram game), that’s great. If your dog has a legitimate need to get dressed, go for it! If your dog is upset or uncomfortable in clothing? Better to pass.