Our pups are our world so it’s no wonder we love to go out of our way and spoil them. Every pet store you walk into has a ton of cute sweaters, shirts, collars with bling, hair accessories and even costumes. I just saw the cutest rainbow tutu that would look so adorable on my pup. But as I held it up and examined it, I wondered to myself, is this really going to be comfortable on my sweetie? If I do buy it, am I really just buying it for my own amusement? Well, yea, that was a given LOL! So how do we know when we are dressing our pups too much for ourselves and making them miserable?
Here’s the breakdown of common dog accessories and how to find the best way to let your dog be stylish and happy at the same time.
Collars are a daily part of our dog’s wardrobe. Even if your dog is microchipped, a collar with important info like your address and phone number, can really help your dog if she’s accidentally flown the coop. A collar with tags can quickly get your pet home with just a short walk or a two minute phone call.
A collar, since it is worn so often, should be comfortable for your dog. Stay away from stiff materials that don’t mold to your dog’s neck. Collar accessories can be cute but if they dangle too much or can get snagged into your dog’s fur or hair, that cuteness can become painful.
Collars come in all different sizes and styles. The one that best suits your dog is the one that works the best with her leash and is also comfortable for your dog to wear. It’s always helpful to bring your dog with you to a dog friendly pet store and have an employee help you try them on. Those employees really know their stuff and an extra set of hands is always helpful.
Harness collars are great for dogs that pull as they walk and tend to gag themselves. These also come in a variety of colors and materials. The best one for your dog is going to be the best one she is comfortable in, that also works well for walks with her leash. I would suggest putting a collar on your dog as well for identification purposes, if you take the harness off when your dog is indoors and may get outside accidentally or likes to run in the fenced in backyard.
Sweaters, Jackets, and Shirts:
Our dogs get chilly, whether it’s from colder weather, a new haircut or even air conditioning. Dogs will shiver and shake usually, so go by their behavior. If you are over-dressing them, they will also pant. This is a sure way sign that your dog is over-heating and very uncomfortable. Light t-shirts are a great accessory in dealing with air conditioning or even fans. Especially on smaller breeds with shorter coats.
Dog coats and jackets are essential in colder climates and should be worn if your dog has short hair or fur. Again, look for comfortable fabrics that move with your pooch. Anything stiff or too bulky is a no go.
Personally, I invested in fleece hoodies for both my pooches. I use these after baths and my pups stay nice and toasty. These hoodies are also great for days when it’s not quite cold enough to put on their thicker dog coats.
Many dog breeds have hair or fur that can grow into their eyes so putting in a barrette or hair tie will help them see. Just be careful that these hair accessories are not pulling at the scalp. Also, stay away from clips or hair ties that have small pieces that can come off. Your dog could easily swallow these and that could be very dangerous. I suggest, if you put a hair tie on your pooch, that he or she be watched closely. If you can’t watch them, they don’t use it. And if their hair is becoming a problem with their line of sight, then consider taking your pup to the groomer or carefully removing the excess hair yourself with a grooming scissor (VERY carefully).
Costumes for Occasions:
Holidays are not just fun for us. They can be a lot of fun for our fur babies as well. I’ve seen Christmas collars, antlers, Halloween costumes…the list is long. These are all fun and can be a real conversation starter but be careful. Not all of these costumes are comfortable and they can also have small parts that may fall off. There is nothing fun about celebrating the holidays at the vet’s office with an injured pet.
Generally, dog accessories are more fun for us than our pets, except when we are dressing them for warmth. This is not to say that these accessories aren’t ok to use. Just be aware of any hazards because a healthy and safe pet makes for a happy human!
Julie resides in Northern New Jersey with her two kids, two dogs, cat and partner. She has two published books which make excellent trivets if you aren't a fan of poetry. She tolerates people but LOVES animals. If she isn't blogging, she's most likely cuddling with her pups, Paisley and Skyler.
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