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Dog Clothes - Do Dogs Need Clothing?

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Winter’s chill is in the air and it’s the perfect excuse to dress my pup.  I say “excuse” but I don’t really need an excuse anymore.  Dog clothing is hot! Once considered a “frou frou” accessory has entered mainstream and many canines have a better wardrobe than most of us, myself included.  Canine couture is all the rage and this is no passing fad.  From the corner hydrant to the local salon, it is obvious that bark is the new black. It’s not uncommon to see four legged fashionistas all decked out wearing everything from specialty clothing to designer accessories such as Gucci’s doggy backpack.  Do dogs really need clothing? Of course a Gucci backpack is bit extravagant but before you scoff at the idea, understand there are functional reasons for dressing your four-legged best friend.

My pooch shivers violently during the winter. The winter months in Rhode Island are BRUTAL.   As a responsible pet parent I certainly couldn’t allow her to continue walking around au natural during the coldest months.  While I do purchase dog clothes to keep my dog warm, I appreciate fashion and enjoy dressing her up.  Her favorite piece is a black and pink quilted Hello Kitty jacket adorned with faux fur.  (OK, ok.  So it’s my favorite piece.) There are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not your pup would benefit from dog clothes.  

A siberian husky is most likely going to react differently to colder temperatures than a hairless or short haired breed.  A Greyhound will benefit from the layer of insulation that a jacket provides, while breeds with denser fur may not.  Dogs with longer hair also benefit from wearing clothing.  If your pup frequently needs to be groomed he/she may be more comfortable in a jacket, especially in wetter climates to help keep them dry.  

Age and ailments should also be taken in consideration when deciding if clothing is necessary.  Protective clothing will help a dog with arthritis to be more comfortable during the winter, and in air conditioned environments during the summer months.

Some dogs may be uncomfortable when dressed.  Any dog who is obviously upset or stressed while wearing clothes shouldn’t be forced to do so.  Signs of stress may include barking, drooling and freezing in place   Even if your dog is obviously cold, do not force him/her to be clothed.  Instead opt for shorter walks during colder weather.  

Keep in mind that clothing certain breeds can be harmful.  Large breeds with dense fur react negatively to extra layers because it restricts their movements.  Clothing may cause a Saint Bernard to feel uncomfortable and the extra layers could cause your dog to overheat.  Large breeds with denser fur are naturally better equipped to handle the colder climates.

When it comes to doggy fashion, practicality and safety should always come first.

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