Should Dogs Have and Wear Clothes?

DRESSING DOGS: THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

Some people believe that dogs should not wear clothes; that it’s not natural or necessary.

Some are concerned that the clothes may chafe the dog or prevent routine personal grooming and harmless scratching.

Others worry that dressing a dog has something to do with seeing a dog as a substitute for a child. This may not be good for a dog’s mental state as he may be treated differently (carried around; not exercised enough; easily forgiven for bad behaviour, etc.).

On the other hand, many dog owners invest in dog clothes that have a purpose:

  • Diapers for female dogs in heat
  • A light jacket for cold days outside
  • A rain jacket for toilet breaks and walks
  • A breed that’s not accustomed to the climate
  • Specially designed snow boots for loo breaks and walks
  • Guard vests for career dogs
  • A shirt to cover a wound you don’t want them to scratch or rub against objects

As you will notice, sometimes dog clothes are only worn for a short period. There are some occasions that also seem harmless, for example, dressing your dog up for Halloween or Christmas.

Inside a home (especially in countries that rely on internal heating systems), dogs should be fine with enough blankets and a comfortable bed. However, a dog’s breed, size and even age all determine whether he can keep himself warm. Those without a heavy hair coat in colder environments may need help.

Small breeds (e.g. Chihuahua, Greyhound and many terrier and pinscher breeds), with short or thin hair coats, or even larger breeds with short-cropped hair (e.g. Poodles) might benefit from wearing sweaters for longer periods of time in low temperatures. Dogs with immune diseases or other health issues might also require extra warmth. On the other hand, the Siberian Husky, Malamute and Saint Bernard breeds should not be dressed up as they’ll probably overheat.

TYPES OF SWEATERS TO CONSIDER

If you’re going to get your dog a sweater, think about whether it will make him itch; if it’s not too warm; and how often you’ll need to wash it. Some recommend a blend of quality wool and acrylic that’s washable.

Make sure it fits properly by measuring your dog. Snug, not tight, is good. The clothing should not irritate your dog or prevent normal movement and comfortable resting. It also shouldn’t be a struggle to put on or remove the item.

Also check for things your dog can chew off and swallow. Some clothes can only be worn under supervision.

Most people agree that pants should be left out of the equation.

CAN’T DECIDE?

If your dog doesn’t need clothing for health or weather purposes, and doesn’t like clothing, you probably shouldn’t dress him.

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