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Dog Clothing - Practicality and Safety First

Updated on June 13, 2013
Dog clothing in action
Dog clothing in action

To begin with, dog clothing is not for every dog. Most people will gladly dress their dogs in clothing. Usually, this would be a small dog. The only problem is that most small dogs are not necessarily going to enjoy being dressed up in clothing, or the extra attention they are going to receive when dressed in such a way. If you have a nippy dog, especially one that is small and cute looking, don't dress him to look like a toy. People will get the wrong impression, and then you might have a dog bite victim on your hands. Be sure your dog is obedient before you allow him to attract attention with cure clothing.

Use common sense when dressing your dog. If it's a hot day, your dog is going to be too hot in his clothing. If the clothing looks uncomfortable, it probably is. Keep an eye on your dog to make sure he can move around in his clothes without it rubbing on him the wrong way. If he is panting, it's a good idea to take the clothes off. Be especially careful with dogs with short snouts, as they have a harder time cooling off when overheated, such as bulldogs. Never leave a clothed dog unsupervised, as the clothes could get caught and tangle, causing serious injury or death. And if you are bringing a dog to a dog day care or kennel, don't dress your dog unless you know that 1) the staff is going to keep an eye out for him and 2) there is a need for the clothing, i.e. your dog gets cold very easily.

Now that we've covered some important information, let's get to the dog clothing!

Small Dog Clothing

You see it all the time: small dogs in small clothing made to look like humans.  There are many choices when it comes to small dog clothing.  Clothing for small dogs is at times very practical.  Small dogs lose heat faster than big dogs do, and more often than not, you will see your dog shivering if you leave him out in the cold for too long.  On cold days, there is nothing like a dog sweater to stave away the frigid air.  It also gives you a good excuse as to why your dog is wearing a coat: he's cold!  Dog clothing can have a negative connotation to many people as so many dog owners dress their dogs up as though they are dolls and not dogs.  But if your dog gets cold easily, why not dress him in a stylish coat for a trip in the car? 

Small dog clothing also has practicality for rainy days.  There are quite a few doggy rain coats on the market, complete with booties to keep their feet from getting too wet.  A small, wet dog is more susceptible to getting sick, so keeping the wet off of your dog's fur to begin with is one step in helping to prevent a sick dog.  Small dog clothing can also come in handy in the summer.  Dog life jackets can help save your dog's life on a trip to the lake or at the beach.  This is a matter of great importance for people with dog breeds that are disproportionate to those with standard dog features.  Think a corgi compared to a labrador: which one is going to have more trouble paddling?  The one with the long body and short legs. 

Large Dog Clothing

There is not much in the way of cute big dog clothes, which limits the selection solely to practicality. Many people hate walking their dog in the rain - who likes wet dog? So the solution is simply not to walk the dog. However, if you value your walking time with your dog, you might want to consider a rain jacket for your dog. For dogs like greyhounds, they may get cold easily on cold days, so a coat will give them the range of motion they need as well as warmth. In the summer time, don't forget that trusty life jacket! Leave nothing to chance if you plan on being near the water - especially if you don't know if your dog can swim!

Dog Costumes

For special occasions or holidays, particularly Halloween, you may want to spice things up or put a smile on people's faces by buying your dog a costume. Dog costumes may be a little more difficult to keep on your dog for one simple reason - head adornments. Dog clothing is one thing, but putting a band around your dogs head and expecting it to stay there is going to be a nuisance. So keep in mind when buying a costume that not only might it be difficult to keep a head piece on your dog's head, it might also be uncomfortable.

If the entire costume rides on the head piece, you might not want to buy it. However, if it can make a nice addition to pictures, and then can be taken off so the dog not have to deal with it, The piece might not be so bad. Costume are often inherently more uncomfortable for a dog to wear, though, so try not to make it an everyday thing!

pet accessories

Whether or not you decide to get clothing for your dog, there are some things in dog owning life that can be essential to keep your dog safe.

In Alaska, where the Iditarod race takes place, dogs are often seen wearing booties. Dog boots are a great piece of dog clothing to have if you live in areas where it snows. As with most animals, a dog regulate body temperature in extreme cold by focusing most of it's warm blood to it's core. This means that the feet your dogs are walking on will be functional, just not with as active a blood supply as it does in normal weather. As your dog walks around in the cold, he may not feel an injury to his paw, which can worsen the more he walks on it. All weather dog boots are a way to keep your dog's feet safe from cold weather and possible injury when in the snow. They can also be useful for rocky terrain, or if you live in a city where your dog might end up walking over broken glass.

Another tool to keep your dog safe is a harness that acts like a seat belt when you're driving. This will not only keep your dogs in place so you can focus on the road, but also prevent further injury from your dog being thrown around the interior of the car, for both you and your dog, should the unthinkable accident occur.

One last item that we don't think about to keep our dogs safe is a breakaway dog collar. While there are many choices of dog collar on the market, this particular collar is designed to come apart if the dog were to get it tangled in something. This collar could very well save him from strangulation, as well as give you piece of mind when you are not home that your dogs collar will keep him safe.

Dog clothing can have various practicalities, and every once in a while, can be a source of fun and amusement. Always keep your dogs comfort and safety in mind, so you and your dog can live a long, happy life together!


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