Should Dogs Wear Clothes: Benefits, Studies & Myths of Dressing Your Pet

Designer Dog Clothing

Here’s a little fun fact about the #1 pet-owning generation: there are 89.7 million dogs owned. Pretty much everyone can attest that our furry friends are exactly like our family. That can only mean that most of us are willing to splurge on the same luxuries we do for ourselves as well. From comfortable beds to the softest plush toys, grooming services, accessories, and of course, dog clothing. However, even though some much-needed accessories are necessary, the question of "should dogs wear clothes?" is still wrapped in controversy.


The reality is that $72.1 billion in the U.S. this year were spent on pet-related responsibilities according to a recent APPA survey. That total includes streetstyle-ready dog fashion as well as accessories. Zulily's latest report backed up the claim that millennials are treating their cute four-legged-friends as members of the family. As a result, 60% of millennials agreed that they enjoy buying sweaters, coats, dresses, and other fashion for their pets as much as they like ordering for themselves. 


Should dogs wear clothes in the winter?

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Let's be honest, our biggest fear is spotting a pup dressed better than we are, however, it seems like the RSPCA's position leans towards the benefits of dog clothing - other than the obvious cuteness factor. According to them, it is appropriate to dress your dog in some circumstances. In fact, when it comes to old, bold, thin, tiny or ill dogs, adding an extra layer of warmth can be quite beneficial. That includes warm fabrics and waterproof materials to battle the cold weather.


For Greyhound and whippet dogs, clothing has always been a fool proof way of keeping themselves warm. Owners have been using coats for many years. Nonetheless, RSPCA points out that functionality should always come first. Comfortable dog clothing with high-quality materials is favored. In addition, they make it very clear that fashion for pets should not restrict movement or affect their ability to relieve themselves in any way.


Is dog clothing bad for pets?

As clinical animal behaviorist Pippa Hutchison mentioned in BBC news "If the animal appears to tolerate the attention and fuss of being dressed up, then as long as it can perform normal functions i.e walk, toilet, rest then there is not a welfare issue."


BC SPCA is opposed to the infliction of pain or suffering upon animals, however, for the argument of "should dogs wear clothes" they offer a simple answer. They accept the use of animals for clothing or aesthetic purposes only when the methods used meet the Five Freedoms (these being: Freedom from hunger and thirst, freedom from pain, injury and disease, Freedom from distress; Freedom from discomfort and Freedom to express behaviors that promote well-being).

Paws Circle Sweater

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Additionally, The American Veterinary Medical Association suggests the use of a sweater or dog coat if you notice your pet getting bothered by the winter weather.


Can dogs wear clothes all the time?

In conclusion, there are many benefits to dressing up your dog. However, everything comes down to functionality and comfort. While most dogs are perfectly ok with wearing cold-weather-appropriate clothing, you need to be aware of any signs of discomfort. Opting for high-quality clothes for dogs is extremely important. Old, bold, thin, tiny, or ill dogs are advised to wear an extra layer of protection from the cold, especially during their time outside. However, it’s not advised to dress-up your dog 24/7.

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