The Dog Clothing Debate: Who Really Needs It And Why?
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The Dog Clothing Debate: Who Really Needs It and Why?

The Dog Clothing Debate: Who Really Needs It and When?

Fido fashionistas, we’ve all been there. You’re walking down the street with your beautifully turned out pup, thinking how fabulous they look in their cool dog clothes when you see it. The slight roll of the eyes of a person who you just know is thinking, “Why do people insist on dressing up their dogs?”

While everyone is entitled to their opinion, there are circumstances where it is not only advisable for a dog to wear clothing, but good sense. We’re going to take a look at what dogs really need to wear clothing and when.

Top 10 Reasons for your Dog to wear Clothing:

1) Small Dogs - Do you have a smaller dog like a Chihuahua, a Yorkie, Morkie or a Min Pin? Small dogs get cold, especially if they are short haired or thin-haired. Sophie is a Portuguese Podengo. She has very thin hair and her whole belly is practically hairless. If I take her out when the thermometer goes below 40 degrees without a coat, she shivers. I always recommend a nice warm coat for a small dog in the winter and a good, comfy sweater in the fall.

2) Dogs with Cropped Hair – If you have a dog who normally has a thick coat but is kept shaved for grooming purposes, like some poodles, I would strongly recommend putting your pooch in a sweater in the fall and a coat in the winter. Having cropped hair is tantamount to being a short-haired dog. There’s no insulation from the cold, which is what a thick coat provides.

3) Lean Dogs with Short Hair – Greyhounds, Italian Greyhounds and Whippets are some of the most graceful and beautiful of creatures. Their very lean bodies and short coats make them perfect candidates for wearing warm clothes when the weather gets cold. I’ve even seen some owners of these dogs wrap generous woolen scarves around their necks because these babies will shiver. They get cold easily and they need protection from the elements.

4) Location, Location, Location… - Chicago, the Dakotas, Minnesota, Moscow, heck, even New York City sometimes during especially cold winters; if you live in a locale where it gets very cold in winter and/or your dog spends a good deal of time outdoors, please put him or her in a coat, especially if they fall into any of the above categories.

5) Dogs Recovering from Illness or Injury – if your pup is recovering, chances are he or she will be more sensitive to the cold. So even if you wouldn’t normally put your dog in a winter coat or sweater, consider doing it until he’s better. His big smile and wagging tail will say thanks. ☺

6) Older Dogs – Like elderly friends who you’d bundle up before taking them out on a brisk day, your older canine family members aren’t as robust as they once were and may have weaker immune systems. Please make them toasty and comfortable so they can continue to enjoy nice walks all year round.

7) Puppies - Puppies, like older dogs, have weaker immune systems. But with puppies, that’s because they are just developing. So I’d recommend protecting them from the cold. And there are plenty of adorable dog clothing choices that won’t break the bank, with your little one still growing and at such a rapid rate!

8) It’s Freezing in Here! – Some choose to keep their home heating systems very low during the winter, using blankets and sweaters in the house rather than pay high heating bills. If you’re one of those families, please make sure that if you feel the need to wear a sweater, you little dog, old dog recovering dog or puppy will probably need one too.

9) Dogs with Diseases – There are some dog diseases that impair hair growth like Cushing’s Disease and hypothyroidism. If your dog has one of these, it’s a good idea to keep their skin covered so they don’t get a chill. I strongly recommend a soft sweater in fall and a cozy winter coat.

10) Fetch Me My Shades and Sun Umbrella! – At the risk of sounding precious, there are some breeds, like Chinese Cresteds, the Peruvian Hairless and the Xoloitzcuintle who have no hair. These dogs, in addition to needing protection from the cold, also need protection from the sun. In winter, the glare of the sun off water or snow can burn the skin of these dogs. They need a coat or sweater. In summer, they may need sun lotion or a light t shirt.

In Summary

While there are many of us who appreciate dog fashion and get excited about dressing our dogs for the sheer fun and creativity of it, there are also times when it makes good sense to put your dog in clothes for protection. For one, size does matter! LOL. And we went over other circumstances which would require keeping your canine friend comfortable. It’s been shown to make a big difference in a dog’s feeling of well-being. And because they are our best buddies, that is a top priority.

Stay tuned for advice on getting your dog comfortable wearing clothes.

Until next time…


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