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A Guide to Buying Dog Apparel

Updated on June 24, 2010

Dog apparel comes in such a variety that the amount of choices can be exciting and overwhelming. There are jackets, sweaters and T-shirts for big dogs, cute and colorful puppy clothes, and stylish collars and designer bandannas. The best clothes combine comfort with style and are also practical to use whatever the weather.

Choosing the Right Size

Choosing the right size when shopping for your dog is important. You want to make your dog feel comfortable, whether you are going to the beach or out for a walk around town. A surprisingly large part of the dog apparel bought today is returned or exchanged because the size was wrong. This happens especially with online sales. The easiest way to avoid having to return what you bought is to take correct and careful measurements before purchasing pet apparel.

Write the measurements down and refer to them, especially when browsing on the Internet but also when shopping on the high street. Unless your dog comes shopping with you, make sure to keep the measurements with you to be able to buy the correct size.

Choosing the right size apparel for your pup will make sure they are comfortable and can move around easily.
Choosing the right size apparel for your pup will make sure they are comfortable and can move around easily.

The Most Important Measurements

When measuring your furry friend for dog jackets, take first the measure around his or her chest. This is the most important when buying dog clothes, and is taken around the deepest area in the chest, generally located just behind your dog’s front legs.

Any measurements around the neck should always be taken from the lower middle part of the dog’s neck. Legs should be measured starting from under the “arm” to exactly above the ankle. Knowing the right leg length is important, because sleeves that are too long get dirty very easily and can also cause the dog to trip over.

You will also need to know how long your dog is. This measurement is taken from the back of the dog’s neck (starting in the middle of the neck) right to where the tail starts. Dog shirts and jackets come in different lengths, and if a jacket is a little bit too long, it does not mean it will not be comfortable to wear, but it is still good to know the length especially when shopping for small dog clothes.

Most manufacturers have their own charts for sizes, and these can vary slightly between different companies. However, generally the most important measurement is the chest. Especially when shopping online, it is necessary to have the correct measurements, especially to avoid having to send the product back for an exchange or refund.

When buying clothes for your dog, make sure you have an idea of what their measurements are to ensure a good fit.
When buying clothes for your dog, make sure you have an idea of what their measurements are to ensure a good fit.

Large Breeds and Puppies

Some dog clothes and dog carrier manufacturers also customize clothes and collars for your beloved pet. These are generally more expensive than normal clothing but can be the best option if you own a very large breed.

Buying for puppies is more complicated because they grow up so fast. If you order online and have to wait for the product to arrive for ten days, the puppy may have already grown out of the clothes by the time they arrive. However, most manufacturers will be able to take this into account if you tell them the breed of the puppy as well as the age and the weight.

Apparel for larger breeds will cost more due to the use of more fabric and because they may need to be custom made in some cases.  Like Great Danes!
Apparel for larger breeds will cost more due to the use of more fabric and because they may need to be custom made in some cases. Like Great Danes!

Special Styles for Dogs

Today it is possible to get stylish and comfortable pet clothing for all seasons and for all kinds of activities. There are special ranges of clothes for the summer and for beach holidays, including swimming gear and life jackets for dogs that like to go boating with their owners.  Some of the newest summer clothes for dogs include cooling vests, cooling mats and other specially designed outfits to keep your pets comfortable even during the hottest summer months.

In the winter, the most important thing is to keep your dog warm and comfortable even when it is freezing outside. Most dogs still want to go out several times a day even if the temperature is well below zero, but especially the breeds with the shortest hair might need to be protected with warm and cozy jackets.

Prices for dog apparel range from the very affordable to the very luxurious. Prices for a comfortable dog sweater can start from as little as $7 to $8 and there is a wide range of quality jackets in the $10 to $30 price range. A t-shirt for any kind of a dog should not cost much more than $25 even for the highest quality shirts. However, if you want a customized designer jacket or a diamond-studded collar, expect to pay a lot more.

Dog T-Shirts and other Interesting Pet Apparel


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