Once upon a time, in a land far, far, away, people allowed their precious pooches to roam the land freely with (gasp) NO CLOTHING ON!! In this land, dogs wore a basic collar, with a tag that stated he or she had been vaccinated for Rabies and, if you were lucky, it had a phone number with which to locate the owner. Dogs ran in the coats that they were born with. Some had prettier coats than others, some were short, some long, some curly, some wiry, some were downright ugly. But the dogs did not care. They proudly wore the coats that their birth mothers gave them. Whether it was to the pet store, or to the off leash dog park, they never felt over, or under, dressed. They always traveled light, a suitcase for your doggie duds wasn’t a necessity (or even a thought.)
That land of long ago really did exist. But, to look around us now,you might not believe that it did. More and more dogs are being dressed in increasingly expensive threads. The New York Post reported that in 2009, Americans spent approximately $300,000,000 (yep, that’s three hundred million) on dog clothing. Big name designers like Vivienne Westwood and Ben de Lisi are creating fashions for what what seems to be an increasingly growing trend. Very elaborate clothing, beds, blankets, collars, leashes, shoes, sunglasses, goggles, and hats are showing up in swanky shops from New York to Los Angeles.
A quick search in Google will show you that dressing our dogs has become big business. Perhaps fueled by Hollywood stars like Paris Hilton, whose dog Tinkerbell, is always dressed in couture clothing and jeweled collars, people in all economic groups are buying clothing for their furry family members.
If dressing your dog is something you enjoy, please select outfits with safety in mind. A few tips:
- Button closures can be a choking hazard if you have a dog who tends to eat everything. Opt for velcro closures instead.
- Be aware of the weather outside, if you are too warm in your clothes, your dog will be too.
- Make sure clothes are not tight and binding around legs and neck.
- Use caution in selecting bejeweled items, make sure that the jewels are securely fastened.
- Be careful with any object worn on or around the eyes. Make sure that the dog’s field of vision is not obstructed and that there are no small accoutrements that can fall into the eye (like glitter.)
Most of all, use common sense. Animals do not need clothes. As humans, we dress them for our own enjoyment, not for any need on their part. Keep it simple, have fun, and be aware of your pet’s comfort and needs