Superfluous or even necessary? Dog clothing is often dismissed by dog owners as silly or even animal cruelty. However, we explain when it can make sense to let your dog wear special clothing and what criteria it must meet.
When they hear the term “dog clothes”, many people think of a French bulldog with a little pink skirt: Putting your four-legged friend in supposedly cute little costumes is more than just reprehensible – no question about it. Dogs should only wear clothes that actually serve them a purpose – not clothes that amuse people or serve fashion purposes. In fact, there are several good reasons why you should put a jacket on your four-legged friend in some situations.
Which dog needs dog clothes?
Without proper clothing, some dogs would freeze very easily and, in the worst case, even contract hypothermia. However, this can be effectively prevented by appropriately adapted clothing.
Certain breeds that originally come from warmer regions, such as the Croatian Dalmatian, cool down more quickly and therefore need support in cooler regions. The Dalmatian has no undercoat, which is why he freezes quickly in cold temperatures – a dog jacket offers him sufficient protection. The same applies to particularly small dogs, such as the tiny Chihuahua, which, due to its small body size, gets cold and wet much faster.
Incidentally, senior dogs and sick animals also need special protection against the cold: They freeze particularly quickly and can enjoy the walk again if their owner provides the right equipment.
When does the dog need clothes?
Especially during the cold season, i.e. in autumn and winter, it is necessary to offer your dog additional protection against the cold. Wet and cold are a dangerous combination – also for your four-legged friend. Regardless of the season, you have to keep an eye on your darling: If the dog is freezing, you should definitely get suitable dog clothes for it.
10 requirements that the right dog clothing must meet
Dog clothes are not just dog clothes. Good dog clothing should definitely meet these 10 aspects so that it is comfortable for the dog to wear and does not bother him.
1. Freedom of movement
Despite being dressed, the dog must be able to move about freely. A body-hugging fit with a generous leg cut lets the dog run around without restrictions.
2. Individual locking option
No dog is exactly the same size. It is therefore important that the clothing is not fastened in stages, such as with buttons. A Velcro fastener, for example, offers the possibility of individually adapting the clothing to the body shape.
3. High quality material
The texture of the clothing is of great importance. The fabric needs to be breathable, but also wind and water resistant so the dog is fully protected.
4. Easy to put on and take off
Putting on the clothes must not be associated with stress for the four-legged friend. The item of clothing should therefore be as easy and quick to put on and take off as possible in order to spare the dog unnecessary stress. Be sure to consider this point for older and physically handicapped dogs!
5. Eliminate disruptive factors
The dog has to feel comfortable in his coat – that’s why you should choose fabrics that don’t rustle so as not to irritate your four-legged friend. Your darling will get along better with the garment.
6. Slow habituation
In order for your dog to actually accept his unnatural equipment, which he perceives as a foreign body, you have to give him some time. It’s best to try the clothes on with him at home and give him a little time to get used to them. Only then can the clothes be used outside.
7. Protection in the dark
Reflective strips should be attached to the clothing so that your dog can be seen by others at night.
8. Easy cleaning
The best coat is useless if you can’t easily clean it too – and sooner or later you will surely need to. When buying, make sure that the garment is easy to clean.
9. Use in moderation
Even if your four-legged friend feels comfortable in his dog sweater, he should only wear it as little as possible, but as often as necessary. Clothing is for protection only.
10. Fashion is secondary
Important: Whether your dog looks cuter with the garment is absolutely irrelevant. The decisive factor is that he feels comfortable in the dog clothing and that your four-legged friend gets sufficient protection from it.