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Life hack - Get your dog's size right every time!

Updated on December 7, 2016

I never got it right, either

I've had dogs and a shopping addiction all my life. Which led to boxes of too-adorable-not-to-get dog stuff that didn't fit any of my dogs. I was generally an under-estimator - everything was too small.

Which, naturally, led to getting another puppy so the stuff wouldn't go to waste!

About a decade ago, my sister and I started a shop (Golly Gear) that specializes in stuff for small dogs. We've learned over the years to judge sizes pretty well, and we can generally fit small dogs on the first try, if their owners bring them into the shop.

But what if you spot something you know would be perfect for your dog and your pup isn't with you? There's a simple way for you to get the right size every time, no experience needed!

Why didn't I think of that?

It's so simple, it's kind of a forehead-slapper. Don't tell anyone you didn't think of it yourself - they'll never know.

I only thought of it because I compete with my dogs in obedience, rally, agility, etc., and I was always having to fill out entry forms that needed the dogs' birthdays, registration numbers, and other stuff I could never remember and didn't have with me when I wanted to fill out the forms.

It finally occurred to me that one thing I always have with me is my phone. And my phone, like everybody else's, can remember stuff for me!

I created a "Contact" in my phone for each of my dogs. And in the "Notes" section, I entered all the stuff I needed to fill out those entry forms.


All you need in one place

  • Step 1: Create a contact in your phone with your dog's name
  • Step 2: Grab a tape measure, some treats, and your dog
  • Step 3: Measure your dog's neck where you want his/her collar to sit. Enter that measurement under "Notes" (Neck = XX inches) and give your dog a treat.
  • Step 4: Measure your dog's "chest" or "girth" (all the way around, just behind the front legs). Enter that measurement (Chest = XX inches) and give your dog a treat.
  • Step 5: Measure your dog's length from the nape of his/her neck to the base of the tail (don't include the tail). Enter that measurement (Length = XX inches) and give your dog a treat
  • Step 6: SAVE!

Right at your fingertips

Now you're all set! You'll get the right size for your dog every single time you shop! If you come into our shop, you'll have your phone out anyway to show us pictures of your pup - we just love dogs and try to "meet" all of our four-legged customers, even if it's only virtually.

And when you find exactly the right harness, or coat, or collar - we'll all know which size is right for your best friend.

For harnesses the most important measurement is the girth. Most harnesses are adjustable to a certain degree, but not more than a couple of inches.

Coats and sweaters are generally sized by the dog's length - for most manufacturers' products, a dog measuring 12 inches from nape to tail will wear a Size 12.

Measuring and fitting the Choke Free Shoulder Collar

Rudy, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, wears a Medium Wrap-N-Go Harness
Rudy, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, wears a Medium Wrap-N-Go Harness | Source

Small isn't always small

Just because the last sweater you bought for your dog was a "small" doesn't mean the next one will be!

There is no size standardization in dog wear. Each manufacturer uses its own sizing chart, and companies that make stuff for all sizes of dogs have radically different size charts than those who specialize in stuff for small dogs only. The same dog might wear a "Large" from a maker of small dog stuff and an "Extra Small" from a company that makes all-dogs stuff.

That's why it's so important to have your dog's actual measurements in hand when you shop. It would be ideal if you could bring your dog along and have harnesses and other items, professionally fit and adjusted. Since that's not always possible, having the measurements handy is the next best thing.

Buyer beware! Here at Golly Gear we have a very generous exchange policy, but not all pet shops do. If you're not sure, ask about the store's exchange/return policy before you buy.


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