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Do Dogs Like Wearing Clothes? Canine Preferences & Needs

Chelsie Fraser

By Chelsie Fraser

4dog costume

Most dogs don’t need clothes, but it’s fun to dress them up in cute outfits, whether it’s to take a photo or celebrate a special event. But do dogs actually like wearing clothes? The short answer is both yes and no. Dogs are products of their environment, and if they are conditioned and de-sensitized to wearing clothes, they usually enjoy the attention and adventures that come with it. Dogs that aren’t accustomed to wearing clothes don’t tend to like them.

While cute Halloween costumes and doggie party dresses aren’t necessities for your dog, there are certain circumstances where clothing might be important for your dog to wear. So, should you dress your dog?

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In general, if you like to put clothes on your dog and your dog doesn’t seem to mind, you’re not doing anything wrong. You know your dog better than anyone, and if they have the patience for it, have fun! Many dogs love the extra attention that they get from showing off the latest fashions.

If you have a sensitive, shy, or impatient dog, putting clothes on them probably isn’t the best idea.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure the clothing that you put on your dog is safe for them. Accessories that are too tight can cause pinching or choking, and things like scarves can get tripped on. Find clothes that are made for dogs, and use your best judgment.

Boxer with Santa costume
Image Credit: randersen, Pixabay

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Does a Dog Need Clothes?

1. Cold-Weather Gear

There are a few legitimate reasons to dress up your dog—cold weather is an obvious one. Dogs with light coats that live in cold climates can’t tolerate extreme weather. In this case, a dog sweater or insulated coat may be necessary to keep your dog warm. Your dog’s size, breed, and age will dictate this to a certain extent. There is a reason that you see Chihuahuas dressed up more often than Siberian Huskies.

Winter dog booties are also a good idea during cold weather. If you go on walks on salted sidewalks or ice patches, booties protect your dog’s paws by keeping their paw pads from developing frostbite and preventing potentially harmful road salt from drying out their skin.

dog wearing sweater
Image Credit: Jacqueline Abromeit, Shutterstock

2. Anxiety Vests

Clothing can also help dogs that suffer from anxiety. Clothes like the Thundershirt can have a calming effect on dogs that panic during fireworks or thunderstorms. Such clothes can be pricey, but it’s a small price to pay to keep your dog feeling safe and secure.

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How to Fit Dog Clothing

Dogs aren’t concerned about wearing the latest fashions, but they can be picky about what they wear. Whether you’re dressing your dog up for fun or to brave the cold, there are a few things to consider when choosing their wardrobe.

  • Consider the materials. Wool may be warm but it can cause itching. Conversely, cotton breathes well but doesn’t dry out well in rainy weather. Choose materials that are appropriate for the conditions and won’t irritate your dog.
  • Take measurements. Dog clothing needs to fit properly. If it’s too tight or too loose, it will be uncomfortable for your dog to move around in. Also, keep in mind that your dog needs to be able to relieve themselves properly without soiling their clothes.
  • Check customer reviews. Reviews from other pet parents are ideal for learning about real-world experiences with dog clothing. That doggie raincoat might look cute, but if it will roll under your dog’s belly every time that you use it, it’s probably not worth the money. Customer testimonials can help you sort out the defective products from the good ones, to make sure you’re getting the best quality and value.

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Dogs that are used to wearing clothes often enjoy the extra love and attention that they get. Other dogs don’t like wearing anything and will shy away from clothes. Basically, if your dog likes dressing up, go for it! It can also be beneficial for many dogs to be outfitted in a coat and boots to stay warm during cold weather, and anxious dogs may benefit from anxiety shirts.

No matter what you do, make sure your dog’s clothes fit properly, so they are comfortable.

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Featured Image Credit: YamaBSM, Pixabay

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