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Should You Dress Up Your Dog?

Halloween has come and gone, and with Halloween comes thousands upon thousands of photos posted on a variety of social networking sites depicting helpless dogs dressed in the most ridiculous of clothing, most often in some costume that shows them as some other type of insect or animal. It’s a good thing that dogs do not have a sense of embarrassment, else who knows what types of bad behaviors they would exhibit if they could tell how hilarious they looked.

But this time of year represents an interesting question – Is it okay to dress up your dog?

Reasons to Dress Up Your Dog

There are certain times that dressing up your dog may be beneficial. For example, there are sweaters and raincoats that can help keep your dog warm, especially if you are in cold conditions or your dog has a tendency to get cold easily. Much like you would dress your child in order to make sure they don’t get sick, so too can you dress up your dog.

However, in general, dressing up your dog in clothes is generally for your own enjoyment, since the dog does not have enough of a sense of self to feel embarrassed. Still, even then there are some reasons dressing up your dog is still beneficial:
• Time spent dressing up your dog is more time spent with your dog.
• Your dog will receive more response/affection from strangers.

Though neither of these are health related, they are no less important. Your dog may not understand why it is receiving extra attention but it no doubt enjoys that attention immensely.

Reasons Not to Dress Up Your Dog

Though dressing up your dog does have some interesting benefits, it is also not always the right plan of action. Your dog is not used to wearing clothes, and when you put an outfit on your dog, it may be experiencing extreme discomfort even if it is not letting its feelings on, and more often than not you will find that your dog tries with some difficulty to get the clothes off when you are not looking.

That discomfort can actually be a considerable problem – if your dog adjusts the way it walks or runs in order to account for its discomfort, it may injure its hip or hurt its back. Both of those scenarios, however, are fairly unlikely. Another issue may occur if your dog tries to take the clothes off itself. In rare cases, dogs can choke themselves on the fabrics as they try to pull the clothes off of their back. This is yet another reason that clothes can be risky for your dog, especially if you do not plan on watching them the entire time.

It is also not uncommon for dogs to have allergic reactions to the fabric or experience skin irritation from the friction caused by the clothes on their back. Again, neither of these are that common, but they are always a risk, and that risk is something that you will have to pay close attention to if you are planning on dressing up your pet.

Should You Dress Up Your Dog?

Overall, there is no real harm to wanting to dress your dog in fun little outfits or sweaters. However, do not assume your dog is enjoying the clothes, and make sure that you watch for any signs of extreme irritation. Your dog has fur and skin specifically for clothes to be unnecessary, and while you may enjoy your dog dressing up, it is unlikely that your dog thinks fondly of dressing up as a bumble bee.

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