By Mel Lee-Smith
Published: 08/14/2020, edited: 08/10/2021
Save on pet insurance for your pet
You don't have to choose between your pet and your wallet when it comes to expensive vet visits. Prepare ahead of time for unexpected vet bills by finding the pawfect pet insurance.
Are you trying to get your Bichon Frise to wear a bandana but they don't seem to want to keep it on? You may be wondering whether your doggo enjoys wearing clothes or it's cruel to dress up your pupper in different outfits.
Whether it's a good idea to dress up Fido depends on the situation, your pupper's personality, and the piece of clothing. Here's everything you need to know to tell if your pup likes wearing clothes.
When is it okay to put clothes on my dog?
When your dog is comfortable
You’ll be able to tell if your dog doesn't like wearing a particular item of clothing — they'll try to shake it off, try to bite at it, and look generally uncomfortable. Often, if you can see the whites of your dog's eyes while they’re wearing a costume, the chances are they don't want to be wearing it. If your pup seems unhappy in what they're wearing, you should take it off.
Other than it being unfair on your woofer to leave them in a piece of clothing they dislike, it can also be hazardous. Your doggo may chew it at and swallow pieces of material, which could result in serious health issues.
If your dog has thin fur and low body fat
If you have a short-haired or hairless dog like a Greyhound, Chinese Crested Dog, or a Xoloitzcuintle, you might want to put them in a sweater, especially on a cold winter's day. If you live in a part of the world that frequently experiences freezing temperatures and snowfall, dogs with thin fur and low body fat may struggle in such conditions.
Bear in mind that even if you have a dog with minimal fur, you still shouldn't force them to wear something they don't like. If your pupper doesn't like wearing a sweater, get them to try on a clip-on doggy jacket instead, as they may find it less restricting.
If your dog is older
Similarly to dogs with thin fur or low body fat, older dogs may struggle in cold temperatures. It's important to keep old dogs active, even in wintery conditions. However, some older dogs have issues with their metabolism and other health problems that make it difficult for them to go outside during the winter. Try out a range of different doggy clothes to see if you can find one that your elderly canine compadre feels comfortable in.
If your dog has a skin condition or allergies
If your dog has allergies or a skin condition, you may want to get them a comfy sweater or shirt so they don't itch. When picking out clothing for your dog, make sure it's not going to cause any additional irritation. You should check with your vet before putting dogs with skin conditions in clothing, as this may interfere with their treatment or exacerbate the problem.
When shouldn't I put clothes on my dog?
When the clothing is restrictive
When picking out clothes for your canine, make sure they aren't restrictive and that your doggo has a full range of movement. Your pupper should be able to run, jump, and play fetch without any issues. This will go a long way to ensuring Lucky is comfortable in their new sweater. If a piece of clothing is too tight on your woofer, it will make them uneasy and may even cause harm.
If your dog is scared
There are better times than others to put clothing on your dog — if Max is in a new setting or is feeling fearful, you may make them even more uncomfortable trying to dress them up in a cute outfit. If you have a new dog who doesn't fully trust you yet, trying to force them to play dress-up may damage your relationship.
On special occasions despite your dog’s reaction
Just because it's Halloween or Christmas doesn't mean you should dress your dog up for the sake of it. While Princess may look precious in a little elf costume, if your dog doesn't like being dressed up, respect that fact. Your pooch may react badly if you try to force them to wear an outfit regardless of if it's just for the holidays.
You can dress your Poodle up as Peter Pan as long as they seem to enjoy it. Keep an eye out on your dog's body language, as this will tell you if they don't like playing dress-up. Older dogs and dogs with little fur may find a winter sweater beneficial, but only if they like wearing it. When picking out clothes for your pupper, ensure it fits properly, as tight clothing will make your mutt uncomfortable and could harm your hound.