by: Mike Mathews
People wear clothes for many reasons. We wear them for modesty - it's illegal in most places to go around without any clothing. We wear clothes to protect us from the weather. Raincoats and hats make us much more comfortable in the rain while fleece lined coats and boots are greatly appreciated in cold weather, and when there is snow on the ground. We also wear clothes to make ourselves feel and look good, to impress other people with our excellent taste, and to show that we have the money for expensive designer clothes.
Dogs wear clothes for one reason only - their owners want them to wear the clothes. Dog owners put clothes on their dogs for most of the same reasons they put clothes on themselves and their children. In fact many dog owners regard their dogs as their children and they buy them clothes and dress them up to show how much they care for them. The exception to this, of course, is modesty. Dogs don't require clothing for that purpose and, in fact for obvious reasons, dog clothes rarely cover that particular area.
Protective clothing for small and toy dogs such as Boston Terriers, Chihuahuas, Yorkies, Maltese, Pugs and any of the miniature or teacup dog breeds is a good idea. These dogs generally feel the cold much more than larger dogs - that's why they do not enjoy going outside for walks with their owners in rainy, snowy or cold weather. They even resist going outside to the bathroom in inclement weather which makes it very difficult to house train toy dog breeds in cold or wet weather.
Raincoats and hats made of vinyl or waterproof nylon are available for wet weather, as are rain boots. These boots are usually fastened with Velcro and/or zippers. Fleece lined, shearling and wool coats are available to keep your dog warm in cold weather. Boots are useful to protect your dog's paws from the effects of ice and salt. For hot summer days, sensitive paws should wear sandals to protect them from hot asphalt or sand. You can also buy sunglasses for your dog but perhaps you could discuss this with your veterinarian to see if they provide any benefit to your dog's eyes. Protective clothing is also beneficial to short-haired and older dogs of all sizes as well as the small dog breeds. Even some of the larger short-haired dog breeds like the Bulldog, Boxer and Greyhound appreciate protection in the cold weather. See the Directory of Breed of Dogs to see which dog breeds are particularly sensitive to cold weather. Owners of most large dog breeds are probably not as interested in dog clothes but might consider obtaining reflective vests for their dogs. These vests make the dogs easier to see when walking at night and also make the dog easier to find if you are camping and hunting - especially good for black or dark-colored dogs.
Reflective vests have a practical purpose. So do some much more frivolous-looking clothes. Toy dogs and even some small dogs should wear harnesses rather than collars for reasons of health - they can easily injure their trachea with a collar. Some very sensible people have designed coats and other outfits with a 'D' ring on them which make extremely attractive harnesses for small dogs. Practical, attractive, and sometimes quite lavish clothes are available for toy and small dogs. Pajamas, bathrobes, dresses, sweaters, formal outfits for weddings, and costumes (you can dress your dog as a lamb, a lion, a vampire or even buy him an Elvis jumpsuit) can be found in stores and at discount prices on the Internet. Creative entrepreneurs advertise on-line that they will custom design and make outfits for your dog. Of course, if you like to sew, you can buy sewing patterns to make a blanket, cushion, dog coat, dog coat, leg warmers and boots for your dog and a matching scarf and hat for you to wear.
Dog clothes come in an amazing range of styles and prices. We hope you have fun choosing the right clothes for your dog.