Tips on How to Properly Dress Your Pup

With the holidays upon us, there’s bound to be an upsurge in people who feel the need to dress up their pup in a cute outfit.

Costumes make adorable Christmas card photos and have the added bonus of keeping our dogs warm in the winter cold. Just remember that it’s better to err on the side of caution before slipping the first cute outfit you see at the store on your four-legged friend.

While we would prefer to keep our dogs au natural, if you must dress up your dog, do it right. Here are some tips to help you dress your dog to the nines while also making sure he’s comfortable and safe.

Avoid Small Trinkets

When it comes to dressing your dog less is definitely more. While it might seem fun to cover him in the most ridiculous outfit you can find, one bedazzled with jewels and bells and other fun baubles, this can actually create a hazard for your beloved friend. That’s because small items like bells and buttons become choking hazards when in the paws of a puppy. While they look like cute ornaments to us, dogs see them as interesting treats they can chew on. Always go for minimal designs that don’t looking too enticing, and avoid anything that hangs from your dog.

Keep His Coat in Mind

Overheating is a serious risk when placing a costume on your dog, especially if he has an undercoat. Some dogs, like Chihuahuas, don’t have much in the way of fur to protect them from the cold and can actually benefit greatly from a snazzy sweater. Others, like fluffy Huskies, have more than enough fur on them to keep them warm. Placing them in a sweater, even when there’s snow on the ground, can cause them to become overheated. Know your breed and what is safe to cover them with and what’s not.

Watch for Signs of Stress

Unfortunately, not all dogs appreciate humans’ unique penchant for layering as much as we might want them to. In fact, some of them don’t like wearing any clothes at all. You’ll recognize these guys by the all out war that ensues when you even try to slip a collar on them. If you outfit your pup with some new digs and he tucks his tail between his legs that means he’s not a fan of your choice in fashion. Never keep a dog in a costume, or even a sweater, if he’s clearly uncomfortable with it.

dog clothing

©istockphoto/svetikd

Size Matters

Much like human clothing, no pet outfit is going to fit on every breed of dog. Take your pup’s body shape and size into account before purchasing an outfit and make sure it’s not too large or small. A costume that’s too little could cause breathing and comfort issues while one that’s too large to hinder his ability to move freely; you might even cause him to trip! Some stores are nice enough to let you try out the duds before buying them. If not, make sure you test it out on your dog and make sure he can move properly and the costume isn’t too tight. If so, you might have to move up a size.

Don’t Cover the Ears

Dogs rely on their senses to protect themselves against danger. Blocking their hearing could generate huge risks as your dog will be easily scared if someone, or something, were to approach him without his knowledge. Dogs that are startled are prone to attack out of fear, not aggression, and could easily injure a person or another animal or even themselves. While earmuffs might look adorable, they aren’t exactly practical and shouldn’t be put on your pet. Similarly, don’t block their eyesight with fake glasses if you plan on leaving them on for a long time.

Keep Them in Sight

Most importantly, never leave your dog unattended when dressing him or her up in any sort of outfit. As much as we’d like to trust our pets completely, they’re still animals and aren’t always capable of knowing what is bad for them. Dogs are infamous for chewing on any loose clothing that might be lying around, and one that’s on their body is easy pickings as soon as you leave the room.

Meet the Author: Ben Kerns

Ben Kerns is a freelance writer, photographer and outdoor adventurer based out of San Diego. When he’s not busy working you can find him hopping across the world looking for new places to climb big rocks. He’s also fanatically obsessed with funding his outdoor obsessions for as little money as possible. This stuff gets expensive.

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