The topic of dressing up our beloved pets has been a contentious issue dwelt upon by loving pet owners and animal welfare activists since pets started becoming permanent features of our households. The pet clothing industry is now a multi-million dollar one, and debate has always been rife about whether it is good to subject our furry friends to the rigors or dressing up.
The presence of such debate is quite understandable, because dressing up a dog can have its advantages and a fair number of setbacks as well. Done correctly and at the appropriate time, there are practical benefits for dressing up our pets.
So how do we weigh the pros and cons of dressing up our pets? When are suitable times to do a little dressing up? And what clothes, if any, should pets wear?
The valid reasons to dress up our pets
Dressing up a pet for the sheer fun of it will remain an issue of much heated argument.
In spite of some of the very valid ethical considerations, dressing up a pet, done in the right manner, can have some very practical benefits.
We dress them up for warmth.
Dogs that do not have much hair, such as the Chinese Crested Hairless, need a little warmth in colder climates.
A sweater in colder times would stand them in good stead, though introducing clothes to double coated dogs remains debatable. Some dogs, such as whippets and greyhounds that have little body fat could do with a little clothing for protection during wintry days.
We dress our pets up to protect them.
A dog’s footpads can be susceptible to grazes and other injuries. Wearing a pair of booties serves this purpose, though they are better worn on walks. Booties, if possible, should never be worn at home.
Singapore was recently subject to hazy conditions because of forest fires in Sumatra.a quick fix solution to cut their operational costs. While owners wore masks, their pets walked about the streets with them virtually unprotected in air which had a pollutant standards reading of 400.
The heat wave the haze generated meant that pavements all around were literally burning up. It was bad for our pets footpads, and they definitely could have used the extra protection of booties during the time.
Rescue dogs which spend time near water or in hazardous conditions should also be wearing life jackets for protection.
Dressing up a pet gives owners the opportunity for a little bonding time. They may feel uncomfortable, but our pooches do enjoy being fussed over.
Fitting our pets in clothes does give us the chance to spend a little time with them.
Your dog will receive more affection and attention.
A dressed up dog does break down a stranger’s defense mechanisms. People tend to be a little less frightened of animals that look ‘cute’ and friendly in their clothes.
Reasons why we should NOT dress up our pets
We can see that clothing, worn at the right times and in the right way, does provide our pet with a little warmth and protection.
There are just as many reasons why we should not dress Fido up.
Animals are animals.
Purely an ethical consideration, dressing up a pet does seem to be humanizing them. Remembering that they are animals, they should be left to just be.
Your pet may not be used to wearing clothes, so putting them on can bring about much discomfort. Your dog might try to get it off when you are not looking.
Clothes for double coated dogs can also be very uncomfortable in warmer weather.
Some clothes may be so uncomfortable for our pets that they have to adjust the way they walk or the positions of their bodies just to accomodate the clothing.
Walking or sitting in a different way may cause them to twist or hurt their backs or other limbs.
Some pets may have allergies.
Some pets may develop allergic reactions to the fabrics they wear. They may also experience irritation from the friction caused by the skin rubbing against fabric.
Things to consider about pet clothing
A painful sight to see is a little dog or cat shivering in very cold temperatures. Certain dog breeds do not have as much fur, and could do with clothing that is suitable for them.
What should we be thinking about when selecting clothes for our pets?
Safety and comfort
If there is reason for your dog to put clothes on, their safety and comfort should never be compromised.
Ensure that the clothes fit properly, and that there is no chance of the dog’s foot or mouth getting caught where it does not belong.
Always be careful when leaving your pets unattended with clothes on. If they struggle to get them off, it is already a sign that the clothes are uncomfortable.
Further, the pet might get into an accident as he struggles to get them off.
Consider allergic reactions.
When selecting a sweater for your pet, always consider if it will develop skin irritations when it interacts with the wool. Also consider how often it has to be washed.
A combination of washable wool and acrylic cotton would be the safest choice. The sweater can be cleaned without it irritating the skin.
Try not to dye your dog’s hair.
Though not all will, some animals will develop allergic reactions to hair dye. This is especially if you have never dyed your dog’s hair before.
Subjecting it to allergic reaction in order to make a fashion statement may be less than appropriate.
The same is true of painting an animal’s skin in “fun” colors or patterns in order to grab a little attention.
Clothes for pets will always be a rather knotty issue. Clothes for pets, worn with good reason, do serve our furry friends well in harsh weather conditions.
If the purpose of the clothes are for pure enjoyment and fun, rethink the allergies and discomfort that the pet might be subject to.
What are your opinions on dressing pets up? Do share your thoughts in the comments below.
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