Dog Clothing – More that just stylish by Dr Anne Fawcett
Some people love dressing up their dog, others think its a ridiculous notion, but it can be very practical. For dogs with skin disease, clothing can be helpful protection against topical allergens and reduce self trauma due to licking or biting. It can also keep dogs comfortable and warm in winter – especially after a groom. Clothing can be practical, such as rain coats and parkers, or just plain decorative (we have a few clients who have bought doggy tuxedos so their dogs can be included in their wedding party).
My tips for dressing up dogs
- Make sure clothing is loose enough fitting to permit movement and not constrict the chest. Dog clothing sizes vary significantly between brands, so try-on before you buy where possible.
- Be aware of temperature changes. It might be cool when you put your dog’s tee shirt on in the morning but when it warms up during the day, or if the dog moves from an air-conditioned space out of doors, remove clothing where necessary.
- Make sure male dogs can “clear” their clothing when they urinate. That is, t-shirts and jumpers that are too long may get in the way, causing the urine to accumulate in the material which smells unpleasant but also can be irritating to the dog’s skin. Ideally, tee shirts and jumpers should be long on top (along the dog’s back) but shorter below.
- Don’t leave clothed dogs unsupervised. They can get their legs caught in the sleeves.
- Always aim for comfort. Some outfits are elaborate, intricate constructions that may be heavy, may affect your dog’s center of gravity or may be just annoying to wear for prolonged periods of time (for example, outfits that incorporate a hat). If your dog’s behaviour changes (for example, if your dog refuses to move or shakes his head continually) he or she is probably telling you that they would rather go natural than wear that particular outfit.
- Remove wet or damp clothing as soon as possible. Prolonged exposure to damp clothing can macerate and irritate the coat and skin.
- Change clothing regularly and wash carefully (I use a Woofy Washbag for my dog’s gear, which protects from pilling).
Keep this tips in mind and your dog will not only look stylish, but be happier and healthier as well.