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It Turns Out Dressing Your Dog Is More Helpful Than You Think

It goes beyond fun and games; here are practical examples of how and when to dress your dog.

 |  Oct 22nd 2013  |   2 Contributions


I like to put stuff on dogs. I try to find real, legit reasons to put clothing and other apparel on them, but sometimes, I just like to wrap dogs in towels and put their paws in Doc Martens. I know I’m not the only one who likes to have a good laugh that way.

But silliness aside, Here’s some genuinely helpful Stuff Your Dog Should Wear If…

1. Your pup has a lot of energy: Backpack

If your dog is high-energy and healthy enough to carry some weight, consider a backpack. Wearing a properly fitted backpack, loaded with a couple of soup cans, will help your super energetic dog work twice as hard on the same stretch of terrain.

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Your dog can carry his own supplies on hikes. This pack is from Ruffwear.

If you have one of those never-ever-tired pups, the added weight will help them burn more steam and tire them out faster during your regular walks. Make sure to start off slow: Introduce the empty backpack first, then add the weight gradually and top out at 25 to 30 percent of their body weight. 

Backpacks are also helpful if ... your dog is calmer when he's wearing his “working” gear, for turning him into a Sherpa on hikes, and for carrying around litters of hitchhiking kittens.

2. If she needs a confidence boost: Thundershirt

We all know that Thundershirts are good for thunderstorms, but these slim-cut tops are also good for helping dogs feel more secure in general. Many dog owners find them helpful for their reactive, anxious, and fearful dogs. So don’t keep the shirt on hold for storms and fireworks. Go on and bust it out for daily dog walks, too.

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Dogster trainer Annie Phenix says her thunder-phobic Border Collie, Echo, is helped enormously by her Thundershirt.

Thundershirts are also helpful ... if your dog needs some help during vet visits, for dogs that get car sick, and for creating a svelte silhouette for dogs who are self-conscious about their muffin top.

3. They need skin protection: T-shirts

If your dog sunburns easily, try covering him with a t-shirt for some extra skin protection (use sunscreen, too!). If your dog has environmental allergies, consider putting him in a t-shirt for trips outside. When you come home and take off the shirt, you’ll also take off the pollen or other allergens along with it. (Wipe your dog down with a damp cloth, too.)

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Is your dog a DINOS (Dog in Need of Space)? Let the world know! Via DINOS.

If your dog is really itchy or has a skin infection, try putting them in a t-shirt to protect their skin from their teeth or nails.

T-shirts are also helpful for ... telling people to back off, covering up big nips on mama dogs, and hiding a bad hair day.

4. He is your co-pilot: Doggles

If your dog likes to hang his head out of your car window, Doggles will protect his eyes from flying debris. That pretty much sums it up!

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Doggles are also helpful for ... dogs who are blind and walk into things (it protects their eyeballs) and for any dogs who like attracting a lot of attention at stop lights.

5. She is scratching herself raw: Baby socks

If your dog has bad allergies and is scratching herself to pieces, try covering her paws with baby socks. Allergies can take a really long time to sort out, and dogs who are itchy will sometimes scratch their skin into ribbons, causing secondary skin infections.

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That one sock might be a leetle big. Chihuahua puppy sleeps in sock by Shutterstock

Baby socks in size "0-3 months" with sticky tread on the bottom usually work well. Put them on your dog's feet and secure them with no-stick vet tape. Your dog will still scratch, but her covered nails won’t cause so much damage.

Baby socks are also helpful for ... broken toenails that are healing, older or injured dogs who need traction on slippery floors (remember the sticky tread!), and for dogs that can’t stop reenacting that scene from Risky Business.

6. He just had surgery: Pro Collars

If you have a dog that is recovering from surgery, you may want to skip the plastic E-cone of shame. It messes with peripheral vision, scrapes against things, and freaks a lot of dogs out. Plus, it’s cheap plastic that probably smells and feels yucky. For dogs who are afraid of a regular cone, this is much less scary.

If your dog will need to wear a cone for a while, try a Pro Collar. While wearing it, dogs can still see in every direction and pick up toys and food. It's also comfy for them to rest their heads on while they sleep. 

Pro Collars are also helpful for ... dogs who have rashes they shouldn’t be licking, little dogs who squeeze through fences, and dogs with hemorrhoids who need a soft cushion to sit on.

7. They need to get adopted: Tutu

If you have a foster dog or a shelter dog who isn’t getting a lot of interest from adopters, put tutus on them and take them out on the town. Ridiculous though it may be, that dog is about to get more attention in one walk than they have in a month of “adopt me” vest outings. Be sure to bring business cards with your dog’s photo and info to hand out to anyone who stops to swoon over your pup. Yes, this is for boy dogs too. Forget gender: this is about getting attention!

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See? Made you look. Boxer pup in park by Shutterstock

Tutus are also helpful for ... dogs in parades, dogs doing humane education work with kids, and dogs that dream of starring in the Black Swan remake.

There are so many other things to put on dogs: muzzles, boots, cooling vests. The list goes on and on! So tell us: What stuff does your dog wear and why?  

About the author: Jessica Dolce is a professional dog walker and cat scratcher who lives in Maine with her two dogs and three cats. When she's not scooping poop, Jessica blogs about her life with dogs at Notes From a Dog Walker and runs Dogs in Need of Space (DINOS). She can sometimes be spotted at old post offices, drive-in movie theaters, and any place that serves a mean brunch. 

Read more about dog clothing and accessories and how they help on Dogster: 

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