Dressing a dog can be a very fun experience, however, most first-time dog owners are not sure what type of clothes to buy. Some go for a fashionable and cute look, while others go for functionality. Before choosing an outfit for your dog, there are a lot of factors that can be useful in order to help you make a smart decision. From size to materials and measurements, to some health benefits and potentially harmful consequences as well.
Pet Clothing Size
The most common problem pet owners face at first is a pet clothing size. There is no universal size that fits all dogs. Even sizes such as small, medium or large will often not fit into your dog’s body type. Some dogs have longer legs, some shorter, also their neck and body length can vary even among the same breeds. The same breed can be built differently, based on their pedigree and nutrition and lifestyle in general. Even if the clothing is designed for a certain breed, it is strongly advised to take time to take a proper measure before buying. The better the measurements, the more the dog will be feeling relaxed and comfortable.
How to Take the Measurement
There are three groups that are important for good measurement: back length, and chest and neck girth. Most of the time, treats will help to keep your dog still while taking measurements. When measuring chest girth, make sure to use measure tape behind the front legs, where their chest girth is the widest. Neck girth is basically the same area where the dog’s collar is. As for back length, start from the base of the neck all the way to the tail. After the measurements are taken, the next step would be to check the type of your dog’s temperament.
Type of Dog’s Temperament
Some dogs tend to bite and chew decorations, which quickly make clothing unusable. For beginners, clothing with zippers may be a better choice, since buttons can take some time and usually at the beginning dogs are not patient enough while dressing.
Dogs are incredible creatures of habit. As they get used to wearing clothes and dressing up, then you can switch to buttons and more stylized clothing. Speaking of potentially harmful consequences, make sure to check if your dog has any allergies or if they are skin sensitive to certain materials.
Usually, dogs have lower tolerance toward synthetic fabrics and they have a higher tolerance to natural materials, such as cotton. If a dog doesn’t feel comfortable wearing certain cloth types, don’t force them to wear it, because they will always find a way to sneak out of the cloth or possibly destroy them.
Look for something else until they will feel comfortable enough to tolerate the clothing. Make sure to also check if the cloth material is washable. Cotton is among the most popular materials, especially for puppies, since it’s flexible and they fit more naturally than some of the stiffer materials which restrict a lot of movement.
Treated cotton or 100% natural cotton is especially good for short-haired breeds in spring as they will keep them warm. Also 100% natural cotton is good for dogs with allergies since it avoids the use of chemicals and synthetic fibres.
Your Living Area Matters
If you live in an area that has colder springs, then cotton is the one to go with, however, it will not provide good protection against rain. If the area is abundant with rain, then polyester or quilted nylon would be a better option. Of course, there is always clothing with mixed materials, such as cotton on inside and polyester on the outside.
It all depends on the weather conditions of a certain region. Polyester is a great waterproof material for rain as a jacket and it is not hard to find one with cotton fill in case of the colder weather. This combination works for the winter season as well, however quilted nylon is probably a better choice since it is warmer than polyester. Other materials available are also spandex, which is usually mixed with cotton to get more flexibility and hemp which is stronger.
Finding the Proper Clothing
Finding the proper clothing can be a fun and enjoyable process, both for you and your dog, however, if you decide to dress up your dog, personally I would always go for cloth with attention to provide benefits to your dog, rather than style. Providing your dog extra warmth, protection from winds, rain, and cold is what should be the original intention and if it can be combined with fashion and style, then even the better.
Spring is a season full of rain, winds and often cold which still lingers from winter. Getting your dog wet on a rainy day while exposing it to cold wind is certainly something that should be avoided, hence the polyester with cotton inside would be the best option in early spring, while in late spring, especially if it is warmer, it is better to switch to something with less warmth and focus on occasional potential rain.
However, the most important thing owners should be careful about in spring is not the clothing, but a good insect repellent. Spring season is the most famous for its insect growth.
Ticks, mosquitoes, fleas and the list goes on. No matter how tight the clothing is cloth simply can’t protect dogs from insects. They can either go under the clothing or simply focus on areas that aren’t covered with a layer of clothing. The potential diseases which they spread are not only harmful but in most cases, they can be deadly, such as the famous heart-worm. Fortunately, it is quite easy to combine both clothing and insect repellent.
The options on the market right now are almost limitless, even after you take into consideration all the materials mentioned, it should still be possible to narrow down your choices to get a proper balance of both protection and style. Protection should be always on the first place, however, that is not to say that you shouldn’t make your dog looking stylish. As unique and cute every dog is, making your dog looking stylish will not only look even more adorable, it will also give your dog a very unique personality.