By Nancy Cope
Dogs wear clothing for different reasons. Some need clothing such as sweaters or rain gear for functionality.
Toy breeds can become cold and need to wear extra cover to stay warm, or they might need protection from the rain when you are walking them.
Other owners like to dress up their pets for special occasions such as Halloween. And some owners just like to have their dogs wear clothing because the dogs look cute and it’s fun.
There are lots of great outfits and costumes for your pet to wear. You can usually find clothing available for sale in pet stores, from vendors online who sell dog supplies, and from some stores who specialize in selling dog clothing.
Tips for Choosing Your Dog’s Clothes
If you want to choose clothes for your dog, aside from the purpose of the clothes and your preferences about style, the most important consideration is getting the right size.
To get the right size clothes you will need to measure your pets length from neck to the base of the tail; his neck; and his chest circumference around his ribs (girth). If you know these measurements you will be able to figure out the right size to get, no matter how the clothes are sized.
Your dog’s breed or weight measurements cannot give you enough detailed information to choose clothes, so knowing your dog’s actual measurements is always preferred. Many dogs clothes come with the measurements of the clothes included so you should be able to tell if the clothes will fit.
When choosing your pet’s clothes, the length is usually the most important measurement. You will usually want the clothing to reach all the way to the base of your dog’s tail if you are selecting a sweater, coat, or dress for your dog. If you are choosing a shirt, T-shirt, or tank top, these items usually stop 2-3 inches before reaching the base of the tail for a proper fit.
If your dog’s measurements are between sizes, it’s generally best to choose a larger size. This will give him more room inside the clothing and, if he should gain any weight, the clothes will still fit. Some clothes can also shrink in the wash, especially if they are cotton.
When measuring your dog it’s best to use a fabric tape measure. This is the same kind of tape measure a seamstress would use for measuring a person. It is much easier to take your dog’s measurements with a fabric tape measure. You can buy one at a hobby store or a fabric shop. If you don’t have a fabric tape measure, you can use a piece of string or yard and measure it against a ruler.
Most dogs don’t like clothes that are too confining or which have a lot of appendages or attachments. This is particularly true of those who don’t wear clothing very often. If you are choosing a Halloween costume for your dog, beware of costumes that have wings or other parts that flutter or flap. They could frighten your dog or rip off.
And, of course, you should never allow your dog to chew on his clothing or accessories. Keep a careful eye on your dog when he is wearing clothes, especially if the clothes have buttons, bows, hats, or other accessories that your dog might be tempted to eat.
Dogs can look incredibly cute when they wear dog clothes, and some dogs definitely need to wear clothes for practical reasons. Keep these tips in mind and your dog’s clothes will always fit and look great.
Nancy Cope is the owner of four rescue dogs and Pampered Dog Gifts.