The dog clothing industry has boomed over the years. For a while now, celebrities have been dressing their dogs up and posting it on Instagram for the world to see and admire. In Beverly Hills, you’ll see a dog in nothing short of a frilly princess tutu. This sets a trend in the dog community and puts unnecessary pressure on the average consumer to dress their dogs up to stay in the loop. But riding on the trends isn’t always the case. Sometimes, it’s difficult to resist our pooches dressed as a pumpkin. Sure, it looks cute and it’s great for the gram. But at what cost?
People dressing their dogs up has always sparked some controversy. Some people argue that it’s inhumane and demeaning, while others say it’s perfectly fine and gives their dogs characters. But you need to remember that dogs are not human. Evolution has given them a natural defense system to protect them from the elements and made them highly adaptable to harsh weather. Wolves roam the frozen tundra of the North and coyotes brave the desserts of the South, the same way that Alaskan Malamutes can stand sub-zero winters and Chihuahua’s thrive in the summertime.
Dogs weren’t made or built to slip into a tracksuit. They were designed to withstand the great outdoors with what they already have. Dogs aren’t people. They don’t need that extra layer of protection that humans do. Sure, it looks good in pictures, but it doesn’t feel good for them in real life.
Dressing up your dogs could increase their body temperature
Dogs are creatures that have learned to self-regulate. They technically don’t sweat, but they do have sweat glands located in the pads of their paws and ear canals. However, sweating plays a minor role in regular body temperature. Instead, they use the panting mechanism to rid their bodies of excess heat.
Making your dogs wear clothes unnecessarily raises their body temperature and makes it more difficult for them to self-regulate. Dogs with long or fluffy coats don’t need extra fabric to keep themselves warm. Huskies and Golden Retrievers can happily walk through the snow without catching a draft. As the year progresses, their coats get thicker and longer to prepare themselves for the winter. They come with their own insulation, which is why buying them a coat isn’t advisable.
Dress your dogs out of necessity, not because it’s trendy or stylish. If you notice that your dogs are shivering on a cold winter’s night, then drape a blanket over them. They don’t necessarily need to be in a corduroy sweater and windbreaker to be comfortable. In fact, you could be making them feel the opposite.
However, short haired dogs could use the extra warmth. Greyhounds and Chihuahuas aren’t built for the cold. They’re much thinner and have less hair than the two breeds mentioned above. Additionally, puppies and elderly dogs need the insulation as well as they’re more likely to get sick from the cold.
Their costumes or outfits may inhibit communication with other dogs
Our furry friends aren’t used to wearing clothes and when they encounter a dog that’s unfamiliar with them, the opposing dogs may feel confused and unaware how to react to the situation. Dogs do not speak, so they rely heavily on non-verbal cues to communicate how they’re feeling. Your dog could be struggling to convey how they feel which could cause problems for them and the opposing dog. Wearing a costume or outfit might make them act aggressively toward your dog.
Putting clothes on your dogs put them at risk of stress and anxiety
Not all dogs are okay with the idea of putting clothes on for fun. Others may find it stressful and uncomfortable. Dogs might show they're stressed out with their outfits by licking their lips, yawning or panting. Some even go as far as biting or ripping their clothes off.
They may develop allergic reactions to the clothes
A wet dog favors the proliferation of bacteria and fungi. The moisture trapped in their fur by their coats could cause an allergic reaction in your dog, particularly if they have sensitive skin. The clothing could rub against sores and wounds if the animal is wearing it for a long time.
The symptoms of an allergic reaction include:
Clothes restrict your dogs’ movements
It’s a well-known fact that dogs have a wider range of motion than people do. Attaching a tutu to their waist or strapping boots to their feet restrict their movement. Dogs are creatures that need their personal space — except when they deliberately inconvenience their owners for the sake of love and affection, and these clothes infringe on their personal boundaries. Moreover, clothes could potentially choke your pet if they get tangled in the fabric or caught on something.
Dressing up your dog isn’t always a bad thing, as long as it’s done for the right reasons. Take for example police dogs, they wear vests to show the public that they’re on duty and shouldn’t be disturbed while they’re working. As long as dressing your dog serves a purpose beyond aesthetics, then it should be a logical and valid reason for doing so.
High visibility vest for safety
Working animals are required to wear a high visibility vest to help keep them safe on busy roads or in other dangerous situations. Additionally, a high visibility vest is also useful for taking your dog on camping or on winter walks.
Illumiseen's LED Dog Vest is perfect for maintaining excellent visibility and is vital for safe morning and evening walks with your four-legged friend. Whether you’re playing a game of fetch after dark or taking a pre-dawn stroll before work, light up your pup with the unrivaled illumination and fluorescent color of the dog safety vest.
Surgical vests and therapy tops
If your pet just went through surgery or had an operation, your veterinarian might recommend dressing them in a surgical vest to stop them from licking their stitches. These surgical vests must fit well and are not too baggy because a large vest can get tangled and prevent them from moving correctly or slow down their recovery. A small minority of dogs will sometimes need special shoes to protect their paws, especially if they are prone to getting cuts and scrapes on their foot pads or are recovering from a recent injury to their paws.
Photo ops (if your dogs are comfortable with it)
On special occasions such as Halloween, Christmas, and Birthdays, it's natural for you to want your dog to get in on the festivities. It’s hard to resist dressing them up, but only for little amounts at a time. If it's not too cumbersome for them, slip them into their costumes. Make sure it's comfortable enough for your dog to wear. Note that dogs and people have different definitions of comfort. What's warm and fuzzy to us could be hot and restrictive to them. Your dog's costume should be breathable and comfortable to remove for when your dog is getting stressed out.
You don’t necessarily have to put your dogs in long John’s to dress them up. Something non-invasive like a Christmas hat or LED Dog Collars, LED Dog Leashes, or LED Dog Necklaces should light up the holiday spirit.
If you do choose to dress your dogs, follow these safety tips to ensure the well-being of your dog
✔ Avoid wool clothes
Most dogs are allergic to wool clothes. Opt for more breathable fabrics instead. Wool provides too much insulation and heats up fast. It will make your dog uncomfortable and overheat. Instead of buying wool sweaters for your pets, invest in one for yourself. Your dogs have a coat that’s more than sufficient to keep them warm, they don’t need it. You, on the other hand, need an external source of warmth.
✔ Don’t leave your pet unattended
Keep an eye on your dog at all times. They shouldn’t be left alone when you’ve dressed them up in their costumes or Instagram outfits. Like we said earlier, their costumes could potentially be a choking hazard. Or, they could get tangled in any exposed string or fabric. Unless you’re 100% sure that there’s no way for your dog to chew on their costumes, only then can you leave them alone.
✔ Look for well-fitted articles of clothing
The clothes shouldn’t be too loose or too tight because it could potentially be a discomfort to your dog. If you’re buying their clothes online, always refer to the sizing chart. And don’t just eyeball your dog and guess the size you need to buy. Use a tape measure and take their measurements so you can compare it to that of the sizing chart. As much as possible, bring your dog with you when you’re buying clothes for them. You need to see how it fits and how your dog reacts before you make a decision.
So, dressing up your dogs? It's a choice that's probably best left to each dog owner, since you know your dogs better than anyone else. As long as you know what you’re doing and you’re doing it for the benefit of your dog, then dressing them up should be alright. But don’t go overboard or they won’t be too happy about it.