Posts Tagged ‘dog clothing’

Does Your Dog Need a Sweater and Boots?

December 28, 2010

Killer the Dog Wearing a Sweater and Boots

Believe it or not, sometimes the answer is yes.  Most of the time it is no.  But sometimes, just sometimes, it is yes.  Let me give you a good example of dogs who do not need a sweater and boots.  Then I will give you an example of a dog who does.

Sephi and Maya are my dogs.  They definitely do not need sweaters or boots.  First of all, both are big energetic dogs.  Sephi is a Chow Chow mix who has a double-coat which is medium in length.  Maya is a Labrador Retriever with short hair but hair which has been bred to keep in warmth.  She also has thick skin.

Killer is my parents’ dog.  He is a Lhasa Apso which is a small dog breed.  Although this breed can have long hair, the hair was bred for cuteness, not warmth.  His hair is thin and his skin is sensitive.  So like most small breed dogs, Killer should probably wear a sweater when he goes outside in the extreme cold.

What about boots?  Do dogs need boots?  In most cases, the answer is no.  But it may be a good idea in the snow.  Balls of ice may get in between a dog’s foot pads and cause pain or injury.  This may be especially true for dogs who have long hair sticking out from the pads of their feet.  But if you check your dog’s feet periodically, you probably won’t need to make them wear boots.  Killer has boots.  It is not just because of the snow and ice which can get trapped between his paw pads.  It is also because Killer won’t go outside in the wet unless he is wearing his boots.  He hates getting his feet wet so my parents got him little doggy boots which he surprisingly loves.  No more messes in the house because he refuses to go outside in the rain or cold!

If you are trying to decide if your dog needs a sweater or boots, first consider the breed.  Most big dog breeds do not need a sweater – even if they have short hair.  However, if your big dog is primarily an outside dog, make sure he at least has a warm place to sleep away from the rain, sleet, and snow.  Likewise, most small dog breeds, even breeds with long hair, may need a sweater.  Review information on the dog breed and see what he was originally bred for.  Most toy dog breeds may need sweaters whereas most sporting dog breeds do not.

Also consider how your dog behaves when he goes outside.  If he has a tendency to shiver or if he is reluctant to go outside, then consider getting him a sweater.  This applies to both big and small dogs.

And lastly, consider how your dog will react with a sweater and/or boots on.  If they hate them, then you will need to take the time to teach them to wear clothes.  To teach a dog to wear dog clothes like dog sweaters and dog boots, praise them whenever they wear it (don’t laugh at them), have them wear clothing only when you are able to supervise, start out with them wearing clothing for very short periods, and distract them with play or other fun things while they are wearing them.

Dressing Up Your Dog for the Holidays?

December 9, 2010
Sephi and Maya

Sephi and Maya dressed up for Christmas

Pet stores are full of doggie costumes this time of year – from Santa hats or reindeer antlers to holiday clothing.  They are so cute and very tempting but is it a good idea?  Will your dog hate it?  Will it be uncomfortable?  Are pet costumes safe?  Before you purchase a holiday pet costume for your dog, consider these things first.

Consider Your Pet’s Temperament
Cassie absolutely loved to wear costumes.  She would get so excited whenever I got one out for her.  She loved the attention she would get when she wore them.  But she only tolerated them if they were comfortable.  Although Cassie loved dressing up, most dogs do not like it at all.  Sephi loves to wear a scarf but anything else, she hates.  And Maya hates both scarfs and clothes.  It took time for Sephi and Maya to get used to their dog seat belt so it would take even more time getting them used to wearing dog clothes.  A dog seat belt is necessary but clothing is not.  So why subject them to it?  I know it can be cute and even amusing.  But if your dog hates it, it is not nice.

Consider Your Pet’s Comfort
If your dog likes wearing pet costumes, make sure to purchase something which fits well.  Dog clothing should neither be too tight nor too loose.  Sleeves should be placed well so that the clothing does not irritate under their legs.  Straps should not pinch their skin or pull their hair.  And their tails should be free to wag.  It would also be nice if the clothing left places for your dog to go to the bathroom.  (Cassie once pooped in a pair of doggie pants.)

Consider Your Pet’s Safety
For the most part, dog clothes are safe.  Read the labels for any warnings and abide by them accordingly.  Consider if your dog has allergies as the stuff used to clean and/or package the clothes may cause irritation.  Make sure that your dog is always supervised when they are wearing their costumes.  You wouldn’t want them to eat their costume or get tangled in it.  And don’t allow your dogs to wear their costumes during vigorous play where injury is more likely with clothes which might get in the way of the fun.

(The photos above are of Sephi and Maya.  Since they hated the antlers I bought for them, I put them on, took a quick photo, and never made them wear them again.  They got lots of treats afterward.)

If your dog loves to wear costumes, send us a photo.  We’d love to see them!