5 Reasons Dogs Should Wear Clothes and 5 Reasons They Shouldn’t

People have conflicting viewpoints on whether dogs should wear clothes. There are reasons dogs should wear clothes and reasons they shouldn’t. There are four types of dog owners – 1) all clothes, all the time, 2) clothes occasionally, 3) only when it’s cold, and 4) never will I ever. For reference, sixty-six percent of pet owners dressed their pets up for Halloween in 2020 according to a Rover survey. It seems the only when it’s cold crowd and never evers are in the minority.

Keeping your dog warm in the cold is one of the main reasons dogs should wear clothes.
Keeping your dog warm in the cold is one of the main reasons dogs should wear clothes.

No matter your point of view, we’ve compiled a few of the top reasons for each group.

Reasons Dogs Should Wear Clothes

  • Similar to the effect of a calming vest, clothes may calm and console a dog in distress or suffering from anxiety.
  • Clothes keep small, thin-haired, and well-groomed dogs warm in cold or chilly weather when outside or in cooler homes. It is important to keep in mind there are some breeds that live in climates they were not bred for and a sweater or coat is practical for them.
  • Clothes are a good solution to keep dogs with medical conditions, compromised or weakened immune systems, and older dogs from catching a chill, even when inside.
  • Your dog may stay cleaner in clothes. When they roll on the grass, or in something even less appealing, it will not get on their coat.
  • The dog enjoys dressing up. Some animals like the attention they get from wearing clothes.

One survey found that the majority, almost two-thirds, of dogs are getting dressed up at least once a year. The Halloween costume business for dogs is booming. Holiday frivolity wasn’t even given above as a reason dogs should wear clothes. Read ways to keep your dog safe on Halloween.

This pug is wearing a pumpkin costume.
This pug is wearing a pumpkin costume.

Despite this, one thing many vets and experts agree on about clothes is; it’s important to keep them comfortable. The garment should be practical, fit well and not rub or chafe.  Make sure the clothes are made of quality materials and consist of nothing with choking hazards, like buttons and bows. Clothes should be easy to put on and take off.

There are reasons dogs should not wear clothes as well. Some people believe the reasons against wearing clothes outweigh the reasons dogs should wear clothes.

Reasons Dogs Should Not Wear Clothes

  • Clothes may cause painful friction or rubbing on a dog’s skin. Dogs with short hair or skin conditions may be more susceptible to skin irritation than others.
  • Clothes may cause a dog to potentially overheat and become sick. Always keep an eye on your pet when they are in clothes indoors and in warmer climates.
  • Clothes cause anxiety and stress. Dogs that are not used to clothes and not comfortable in them should not be forced to wear clothing.
  • Dogs may perceive their movement restricted as a punishment. This relates to dog behavior when one dog will dominate another by physically pinning it down.
  • It’s humiliating for the dog. Some animals do not like to be dressed up. A dog’s body language will allow a tuned in owner know how the dog is feeling.

The above reasons do allow room for exceptions. The against wearing clothes group even agrees there are times and reasons dogs should wear clothes. Put clothes on your pet is if it is outside, a medical condition warrants clothing to keep warm, or age dictates an extra layer against the cold is needed.

In the end, always watch for warning signs the dog doesn’t like what it’s wearing and wants the garment removed. The dog may freeze in place in fear and submission. They may take a more aggressive approach and try to shake it off, bite at it, or roll in something foul so it will have to be removed. Overall, the dog will look generally uncomfortable.