There is nothing cuter than seeing your four-legged friend in a cape and devil ears for Halloween or popping a Christmas hat on their head to get them in the festive mood. Many dog owners would agree with you as sales of clothing for animals have grown by 21% since 2019, with 60% of pet clothes bought being for dog wardrobes.
Dressing your dog can come in handy for numerous occasions – whether for comfort or necessity. In the colder months, dog coats in the winter will keep them warm and toasty and booties are useful for protecting their feet during warm weather. High-vis jackets may be worn by working dogs to help keep them safe on roads.
While dressing up your pooch can be fun, it’s not just a great photo opportunity. You need to make sure that you don’t do anything that stresses them out, scares them, or makes them feel uncomfortable. Dressing them up for yearly events like Halloween and birthdays isn’t an issue as long as you know what signs to look out for.
Here are some things to think about when dressing your dog:
If the clothes are restrictive or the wrong size, your furry friend won’t be able to move properly when doing normal things like walking, going to the toilet, or grooming. They also may not be able to lie down easily.
Ill-fitting clothes could prevent your dog from regulating their body temperature and could even choke them if they’re too tight or get caught on something.
Signs of stress
Whether they are comfy or not, some dogs won’t enjoy having clothes put on them and it’s important to recognise signs of distress. This can range from excessive panting, whining, and pacing to aggression, trembling, or increased bowel movements.
It’s extremely unethical to keep your dog in an outfit when they are visibly displaying signs of stress so be sure to remove the offending item in these cases.
If your pup is dressed up in a restrictive manner, it may decrease its ability to communicate both with humans and other dogs. You won’t be able to understand them easily and other dogs may not be able to read their body language. This can lead to them acting aggressively towards your pet.
How can I ethically dress my dog?
The climate and weather will impact if your dog is comfortable in their clothes so consider what they are made of.
Take your dog’s measurement to ensure the comfiest fit!
Make sure to read the reviews of clothes you’re considering buying to see why other pet parents did or did not like an item.