The ready-to-wear and accessories market for pets is at an all time high.
Instagram is overflowing with surprisingly very profitable pet accounts, and many fashion brands are even choosing pets as promoters of their products – even when those products are not directly related to pets themselves.
Dressing up your pet has even managed to get on the yearly calendar with the next National Dress-up Your Pet Day on January 14th, 2018
So it seems that dressing up ones pet can’t be considered a niche hobby for the most fanatical pet lovers anymore. It seems that we are all participating in it … from the pets & their owners, to mainstream non-pet related fashion brands to the viewers themselves.
As popular as it has become, so has the discussion around how your pet feels about it.
In my last blog post which covered the London Fashion Week for Dogs – I raised several questions regarding this furlicious and wooftastic fashion phenomenon.
Is it really that pooch-fabulous for your dog as well?
Sniffies, the read-to-wear pooch brand that was presented during the show explained that the brands intention is to create luxurious dog-wear which mimics the fashion trends of the human world. To read more about Sniffies, and the show itself click here.
My immediate question was this:
Why are we trying to imitate human clothing trends for dogs? Isn’t it the same as when brands try to mimic adult fashion to children’s fashion – if not slightly worse as we are different breeds of animal altogether with different needs?
The point that I am trying to make is not that I am anti-dog fashion or dressing up ones dog but rather that dog fashion and trends should be targeted at the needs of dogs and not those of humans.
In my opinion, that is how dog fashion trends should be created – they should examine the needs of specific breeds and the ‘clothing’ should be created to improve the life of the dog rather than trying to please the human eye.
So perhaps dog fashion should not be generic – it should be customised to the specific needs of every dog. This leads me to my next question:
Is your dog comfortable when wearing clothing?
This should be our NUMBER 1, MOST IMPORTANT question that we as pet owners ask ourselves when dressing our dogs.
Women, myself included, often say that we have to suffer for fashion – but if I ever hear anyone say this directed at pets I will call animal welfare and the police.
I try not to be too harsh in my blogs, however this is a topic that makes me want to rip my hair out.
Remind yourself – your dog is not choosing to be a fashion icon – you are choosing this for your pet.
Your ultimate responsibility is the welfare and health of your pet – nothing, especially fashion, is ever allowed to come before this.
Fashion aside, there are several ‘clothing for dogs’ that actually serve a real purpose other than just looking good.
Anxiety vests for pets, coats that keep your pet warm in the winter (there are many dog breeds that can become dangerously cold in the winter months), or even coats that protect dogs with skin conditions.
Why don’t we focus pet fashion trends on issues such as these?
In the name of dog fashion, I have bought exactly two pieces of dog clothing for Z (bandanas and collars not including) – and neither are going back on him. The first was this red Adidog jumper, and the second was a yellow raincoat.
Although Zeus had no qualms putting either on – nor moving around in them (although neither fit properly)- the idea of having him wear either for longer than 2 minutes started causing me anxiety.
What purpose is this hoodie/jacket serving Zeus? Is it making his life better? Is it making him more comfortable? Is it somehow improving his health, happiness, or wellbeing? Is the material comfortable for him? Is it making him itch?
The other important issue here was the fit for both jackets – neither fit properly and it made me wonder – how many purchased dog fashion clothes actually properly fit the dogs that wear them?
Isn’t this terribly worrying? Can you imagine putting a piece of clothing on your dog that made it uncomfortable for him or her to move around in? Terrible. And at the end of the day obviously the problem is – our furriends have a much more difficult time expressing how they feel.
If your dog backs away, starts licking his or her lips more than usual, barks not to mention growls, starts shaking, tail goes between his or her back legs, you should NOT be attempting to put ANYTHING on your dog.
You should only proceed with accessorising your dog if your pooch comes to YOU and the item – if your dog hesitates, runs away etc. you leave him or her alone IMMEDIATELY.
“Dogs use signals to tell us what they’re feeling, they use their ears, their tails, body positions and their eyes.
‘If we start to cover those up it makes it very difficult for them to communicate with us and other dogs.” – RSPCA RSCPA’s warning to pet owners who dress their pets
Do not bring your dog around other dogs when they are wearing clothing. (This does not include clothing that serves a real purpose and has been vetted by a professional, or accessories such as Bandanas).
I still stick with my original belief that it is OK to play dress up with your pet on occasion – as long as your pet does not mind (You as a responsible pet owner know when your dog is feeling uncomfortable).
There is nothing wrong with having your pet try on your sunglasses or hats or even the occasional raincoat – but remember that NOTHING is as important as the wellbeing, health and comfort of your pet.
Would I again purchase dog fashion clothing for Zeus such as jackets or hoodies? Maybe but most likely No.
Do I cringe worrying about the comfort of dogs when they are wearing fashion clothing that simply are for the sake of fashion ? Yes.
Do I believe that every dog is uncomfortable wearing dog clothing? No.
Equally important it is to remember that we as pet owners must make sure that we are not harming our dogs by forcing them to comply with human social expectations. To read more about making sure that you are not treating your dog like a human, click here
Love, Z & A 💜
All images © 2017 ZeusandAnna