Pug in a leopard print sweater in the snow

Canine Clothing: A Fashion Statement or a Sensible Purchase?

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Canine Clothing is Popular in Vancouver

Pug in winter coat and boots

Walking along the Vancouver seawall on a Saturday afternoon in December, you spot a man walking with a pug who is wearing a winter jacket and snow boots. You whisper “awww” out loud, but think to yourself “I bet his girlfriend made him dress the dog like that, poor dog, I bet he hates wearing that!” I’m sure there are those of you that play the role of either person in this scenario, either you use canine clothing or you don’t.

For those of you that dress your dog, is there a reason for it or do you just like the way it looks? I’m sure a lot of people dress dogs for fashion reasons but for many it is for the safety and comfort of their furry friend.

Bundling your dog up for the winter

Although Vancouver remains relatively mild throughout the winter months there is always the odd day that it is very cold putting not only you but also your dog at risk of cold related illnesses including frostbite or hypothermia. Warm clothing such as a sweater or jacket can beneficial for your dog by keeping them warm and protected from the cold so that they are able to withstand it longer. Boots are another item of clothing that can protect your dog during the winter months.

Protecting your dog’s delicate paws

Boots not only help to keep the paws warm and protect them from frostbite, they also protect the paw pads from road salt. Road salt can get stuck in between your dog’s toes and chap the paw pads. Prolonged contact can lead to serious chemical burns on the paws. If your dog is unwilling to wear boots then make sure you rinse off his paws and give him a good dry down to make sure all the salt is out, keeping in mind to check between the cracks. Not only is it damaging to dogs paws, the dog may try to chew at his paws and now the chemicals are in his mouth leading to other problems. So next time you see a dog wearing boots you will regard the owner as being a good owner and looking out for their dog’s needs. Winter isn’t the only time a dog can wear clothing with a purpose.

Doggie rain jackets are made for Vancouver weather!

Cocker Spaniel in a yellow rain jacket

As Vancouverites we are all too familiar with the rain. With rain comes a wet dog. Being a dog owner you can’t make the excuse to not take your dog for a walk when it’s a rainy day because you likely will make that excuse every day. Your dog needs exercise everyday so not going outside is not an option. 

Dressing your dog can save you time!

Think about having to towel dry a standard size golden doodle or any other large, long hair breed dog three or more times a day after taking them out in the rain. If you could save some time because most of his body is kept dry with a rain jacket, would that not make your life easier? Think about the times when your dog runs around and splashes mud up all over himself and you have to now spend an hour bathing, drying and brushing him. I bet that yellow rain jacket is looking even better now!

Putting looks aside, a lot of dogs hate being wet. A rain jacket may not only protect your dog from getting wet but may keep him happier and better behaved on your walk.

Not all dogs will be comfortable in canine clothing

Canine clothing gone wrong. Golden Retriever awkwardly walking in bootsAll dogs are different. If  your dog seems reluctant to wear an article of clothing and makes a fuss or appears to be walking awkwardly because of it (as you can see with this poor pup), don’t force it. Cutting down the time you spend outside in the bad weather is likely the better option over creating a negative experience for him.

A dog’s needs vary depending on the breed

Keep in mind the breed of dog. Large, long haired breeds like German Shepherds or Huskies can probably get away with colder weather longer unless of course they are young, old or suffer from arthritis.  In those cases you would want to limit their time outdoors. Small, short haired dogs would likely benefit well from winter clothing (if tolerated) to allow them to enjoy the outdoors longer with less risk of a cold related illness. 

If you haven’t already been dressing your dog , I may now have opened your mind up to the idea of using canine clothing for a means of protecting your dog in bad weather or just simply saving you some grooming time. In the end, it’s your decision whether or not you decide to dress your canine in sensible clothing. As for top hats, bow ties and dresses, well that’s a whole other story! I’ll let you be the judge!

Goldendoodle in a tuxedoYorkie in a dress





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