While some people laugh or even balk at the thought of having their pet wear clothing because it's silly and just for show, there are actually many reasons why a pet may have a shirt on, and not just because the owners think they look cute. On the fence about getting your dog a jacket? Keep reading to find out why clothing may help your furry friend.
Writing this today, it's -40C outside with the windchill. Sure we live in Alberta, Canada and are used to living in an igloo (though I often wonder why!?), but we also have the ability to bundle up when venturing out in the cold weather. Some pets, like Huskies and Bernese Mountain dogs, who were bred for winter conditions, have thick coats and few issues heading outside when it's below freezing. Others don't have the luxury of built in warmth. Senior pets, pets with health issues and those with short fur, like Greyhounds, Min Pins and Chinese crested dogs, not to mention Russian hairless cats, are very susceptible to cold loss as they can't generate enough body warmth when the temperature drops. In order to help them retain some heat, warm jackets like our Pawpular Fleece or Kodiak Jacket, could allow them to comfortably head outside for a bathroom break or quick walk. Booties can also help protect pet paws from ice, snow and harsh chemicals from road salts from which all dogs, no matter the breed, can benefit.
On the other side of that temperature equation, some clothing can help protect your pet when it is sunny and hot. Cooling bandanas or shirts are great for helping to keep the body temperature down. As well, some pets with thinning hair or hair loss can get sun burnt, that's when a thin breathable shirt can help protect them from harsh UV rays.
SKIN & HEALTH ISSUES
There are also many dermatological diseases that can ail a pet, including fungal infections, atopic dermatitis, Cushings disease and Feline skin fragility syndrome just to name a few. That's where a breathable shirt or bootie can come in handy. Clothing can also allow for topical antibiotics to be applied with no worries of it transferring on your couch or new rug. While a cone may help with scratching or licking, sometimes the cone can't completely stop this behavior and lets face it, cones are not always practical 100% of the time. A dog with an interdigital cyst (lesion between the toes) for instance may benefit from a breathable boot to allow for the wound to heal with applied creams and stop the dog from licking.
As mentioned above, some older pets can have trouble regulating their body temperature in cool weather, but they can also have issues like diabetes, arthritis or hip dysplasia which can be heightened in the cold. A nice warm jacket can help keep the joints warm while a rain jacket, like our Felix Slicker, can help keep the body drier when they have to step out in the rain.
Wearing clothes can take some pets a while to get used to so it is important to always supervise your pets while they are wearing any type of clothing. Watch for signs of overheating such as panting and excess water intake, and remove the clothing when needed. It is also essential that you inspect the clothing regularly and watch for things like loose strings, fasteners or decorative pieces that can cause choking hazards. Pet clothes should always allow them to move freely and not cover their private parts so they can still go to the bathroom. As well, clothing like a bandana should never tie around the neck unless it can easily be pulled off should the pet get it caught on something. Coco Napoleon bandanas for instance have no ties, rather they slide over the collar. Whether you find pet clothing frivolous or totally trendy and your pet has its own closet, it's important to do what's best for your pet, and skeptics, please keep an open mind the next time you see a dog walking down the street wearing a cute jacket.