A wolf in sheep’s clothing

Do you dress your dog up? I spoke a couple of years back with the owner of a chain of pet stores who told me his fastest sales growth was in clothing for dogs! I imagine that this growth has only continued in recent years.
Dressed up dog

So why do it? And should we do it at all?

To dress…
Well the pros, as I see it, are the bond between dog and owner. People love their pets. How better to express your love than to buy the latest outfit? If the dog tolerates you putting it on, then he must tolerate a lot of handling which is a good thing. And there is no doubt, that a colourful bandanna around a dog’s neck looks so very stylish. And you and your dog will get noticed.

Or not to dress…
Dogs are dogs. They don’t need clothing. They have fur. Clothing can mask their body language, preventing them communicating effectively with other dogs and with us. It could potentially also be very restrictive, becoming a welfare issue.

If you choose to dress up… Good dog owners will monitor their dog’s behaviour and welfare if they choose to dress them up. Signs of discomfort may be very subtle – lip licking or more extreme – panting. If this is something you want to do but don’t know how to start, start small with a bandanna around the neck (remember to keep your dog’s collar and tag on too). When your dog is with other dogs, take the clothing off. He needs to be able to communicate to be safe.

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Dressing up can be fun. Let me know if you dress up your dog. Do you make your own costumes? Or are you against it?

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  1. Hiya Jo,
    I have knitted 8 jumpers for my dog Pepe! Just when I think he has enough I see some more great wool…
    He’s a maltese x but I keep him clipped as I’m groomingly challenged so in the winter he needs it. If he doesn’t like it or it’s too hot for a jumper he will mouth at my hands when I try and dress him. Same for if he’s not ready to have the jumper taken off.
    I have to be careful though – he gave me the darkest looks when I put him in his bumble bee suit – and the 70s retro tracksuit!!
    Current favourite is a purple hoodie that makes his shoulders look big and tough…
    🙂 sue

    1. Hi Sue,

      Thanks for your comments. I am interested – does your dog ever meet other dogs while he is dressed up? And how do they react? Did you start dressing him when he was young?

      1. Hiya Jo, we live in a unit so go to the dog park 3-4 times a week (more in summer). When he was a puppy i was worried about him getting cold as he doesn’t have thick fur and no undercoat and I had read that puppies, like babies, have poor thermo-regulation. Now he’s older I don’t worry as much. If Pepe is clipped he wears a jumper in the winter, park or not. It doesn’t seem to bother him, or the other dogs. I can’t be precious about it staying clean and there has been the odd pulled thread but not often, luckily he has enough jumpers that I can change them when dirty. I would NEVER take him in the ‘dress-ups’ (ie the bumble bee outfit), I think he would be embarrassed! I do have to watch in case he gets overheated if he plays alot but this is rare. To get him to accept the jumpers I used super-powered treats in the beginning (ie cabanossi) but from the start he was more curious than nervous – and once he realised they kept him warm and comfortable he didn’t mind the jumpers at all.

  2. @JoanneRighetti Oh boy… you should see it in HK. One shop had tutus, basketball singlets, camos, etc all for the hound about town.

      1. @JoanneRighetti I can only bark up 4 myself but if U want 2 know, we like U with clothes on, U people R scary, unfurry & unfeathered YUK

  3. Talking to a client today who puts a coat on her dog not to keep it warm but to make it easier to clean when her dogs rolls in dirt (poo etc). A benefit of dogs being dressed up?

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