©istockphoto/Deborah Cheramie

To Dress or Not to Dress: The Benefits and Drawbacks of Clothing Your Dog

Dogs in sweaters. Somehow, it’s a thing. You see it in Youtube videos, memes, and often plastered all over friend’s Christmas cards. It’s cute and, for dogs who spend a lot of time outdoors, it can also be functional. Most of the time harmless, all of the time adorable, what are some of the pros and cons of turning your pup into a fashionista?

Pros

Warmth and Functionality
For little dogs such as Chihuahuas and Pugs, or short-haired dogs, giving these animals an extra layer of warmth in the dead of winter can make them more comfortable and increase the amount of time they can play outside.

Protecting Their Coat and Paws
If your dog is outdoorsy, a light sweater in the summer and a bulkier one in the winter not only provides warmth but may also protect him or her from rock scrapes, nettles, twigs, and other debris that could prove annoying or dangerous.

There are plenty of items on the market that are made to be functionally worn by your dog while still looking fantastic. If you’re interested in protecting your dogs foot pads in winter or on rocky hikes, Ruffwear offers adorable and affordable foot protection for your little adventurer; they also offer jackets that keep your dog cool or warm, depending on your needs.

Social Media Awesomeness
Thousands of pet-owners have taken to social media with pictures of their pets doing awesome things, traveling to adventurous places, and dressed up in all sorts of adorable clothes. See these amazing Pit Bull brothers for a prime example. That being said, if you’re interested in growing your social media exposure, there’s probably no better way to do so then to dress up your animal and have them smile for the camera.

Cons

Allergic Reactions to Various Fabrics
If your animal has sensitive skin, you may want to steer clear of certain fabrics or of dressing them altogether. Fabrics that typically cause allergic reactions for animals include wool, alpaca, and some synthetic wool fabrics.

To reduce the likelihood of an allergic reaction, don’t leave the sweater or clothing item on for more than an hour or so and make sure that the fabric doesn’t rub against sensitive parts of your animal such as their belly or underarms.

Destructive Dogs Who Ingest Fabrics
Dogs will be dogs. And some dogs actually love textiles! If your dog is prone to chewing shoes or eating holes in your clothing, chances are they will do the same to their sweater if given the chance.

That being said, abide by a time-limit and supervision rule. Don’t leave your dog in the sweater or outfit longer than necessary and make sure he is supervised while dressed.