Dogs Benefit from Wearing Clothes


Prudence Wearing the I Love Lucy Fleece Sweater by Stitchwerx DesignsSome people think it is silly to dress a dog, but there is evidence that in many situations, letting your best furry friend make a fashion statement by sporting a dog sweater or shirt, can be very beneficial.

Of course, if you have a large, northern breed, such as an Alaskan Malamute, you don’t need to worry about your dog getting chilled in cold weather. Chances are, your dog loves to play in the snow every chance he gets! So how do you know if your dog is a good candidate for doggie apparel?

The Best Candidates for Dog Clothes

According to Dr. Marty Becker of vetSTREET, there are three types of dogs that most benefit from wearing clothes:

  1. Small Dogs
  2. Dogs who are elderly, chronically ill, or both
  3. Greyhounds, Whippets and dogs of a similar thin body type, especially those with short fur

The common denominator with all these dogs is that it is much more difficult for them to generate and maintain body heat. Yes, it is true that dogs are equipped with their own external layering system, but some dogs have lighter layers or may not be genetically suited to the environment in which they live.

According to PetMD, dogs with short, thin hair are not the only ones that need protection in cooler temperatures. “Older dogs with weaker immune systems and dogs with diseases that impair hair growth (i.e, Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism) typically need an extra source for warmth, and this can be easily provided by a sweater or jacket, even indoors.”

Other Reasons to Dress Your Dog

Jasper Wearing Crochet Decorative Loop Sweater by Stitchwerx Designs

Jasper wearing Stitchwerx Designs Crochet Decorative Loop Sweater

At my house live two very spoiled Papillons. They have plenty of fur, but still show signs of being uncomfortable when it comes time to venture outside in the cold to do their business. They need clothes to keep them warm on those chilly nights out.

I design and construct all their clothes, crocheting and sewing fleece sweaters, jackets and T shirts, so they stay comfy cozy while showing off their unique style. I happen to believe being stylish and comfortable are certainly wonderful reasons to dress your dog.

Another benefit I have found in dressing my dogs is that many times it actually calms them down. A few years ago, I noticed that when my dogs wore these particular fleece sweaters I had made them, they tended to be less hyper (especially Jasper, who is normally quite the little maniac).

Lily wearing Stitchwerx Designs Ribbons and Bow Crochet Sweater

Lily wearing Stitchwerx Designs Ribbons and Bow Crochet Sweater

One of my friends, whose son is autistic, told me this could be working similarly to a firm pressure technique used to help calm autistic children. I found this quite fascinating. The sweaters were snug and it did seem to help relieve their anxiety, especially during a storm or when the house was full of unfamiliar guests. I have absolutely no scientific evidence to support this idea, however, it was not that long ago that a pressure type jacket came out on the market claiming it will calm your dog. So there may be something to it after all!

Buying Clothes vs Making Your Own

There are so many just over-the-top adorable dog clothes available today, but many come with a hefty price tag. If money is no object, shopping for designer doggie duds is not a problem. However, many dog owners may be on a tighter budget, and/or like me, just love to make apparel for their dogs. If you would like to make some cute, original clothes for your small dog, Stitchwerx Designs is the shop for you.  I currently have several crochet small dog sweater and collar patterns in my shop along with sewing patterns for unique bandanas, T shirts, and fleece sweaters. My patterns are geared towards small dogs, but the bandana patterns can be printed to fit any neck size.

Here are some of my favorite little canines showing off their style.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is, in my opinion, dressing your dog can be quite beneficial in many cases, and it certainly can’t hurt in most situations. Would I take my fur babies out on a hot summer day in a sweater? Well, no, but that does not mean they can’t sport some very stylish bandanas while strolling through the neighborhood in the summer heat. And in the fall and winter, you can be sure my Jasper and Lily will be the best dressed papillons in town!

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