Should You Cool it with the Costumes?


As dog owners, we often look at our four-legged friends as extensions of ourselves, so much so that we may even find ourselves coordinating our outfits with them; then, slowly, it’s not just a red bowtie or ribbons to match our red shoes and sweater but full-on doggy outfits. And, with a myriad of influencers who make it look so fun, from the fictional Elle Woods and Bruiser to the real-deal Lisa Vanderpump and Giggy, it’s no wonder why. After all, there is just something about a dog bedecked in a frilly pink tuxedo that makes him to ridiculously adorable. 

But are these puppy costumes actually worth the cuteness? Keep reading to find out!

According to Dr. Andrew Francis, “owners should be mindful that sometimes putting their dogs in clothing can cause skin damage, as the added materials can irritate a dog’s skin.” This statement seems to imply that even a well-intended raincoat could go awry and could cause more harm than good. Don’t let this fully dissuade you, though. Another source said that a lot of the discomfort that Dr. Francis may be referencing tends to be related to breeds. While dogs have adapted a good amount, different breeds thrive in different climates. For example, Huskies are known for being better suited towards colder climates because they have thicker fur that acts as a stronger insulator. In other words, dogs with thicker hair can adjust their body temptress to cold climates on their own. Adding a layer on top of their already thick fur will probably cause them to overheat. On the flip side, for shorter haired, smaller dogs, it might behoove you to put a coat on them if they’re going into colder temperatures because their bodies won’t as easily adapt. 

Like most things, there is no clear answer about whether dressing up your dog(s) is good or bad. Knowing your dog and research are key. To help you here are a couple tips to consider before purchasing your next doggie fairy costume: 

1.) One size never fits all. Be sure to check the measurements of your dog(s) before you buy them any clothes. Dr. Francis warns about skin irritation. A leading cause of this irritation is ill-fitting clothes. When tops are too tight they may rub the dogs’ skin causing rashes, whereas when tops are too loose it may be uncomfortable for you dog(s) and limit your pets’ range of motion.

2.) I said it earlier, our dog(s) are like an extension of ourselves. We know polyester and wool aren’t the most breathable, comfortable materials, so why should we let our dogs wear them. Always consider the material of the clothes, costumes, and accessories that you’re with which you’re bedecking your dog(s). Note, it may vary from occasion to occasion. For instance, if you’re going into snow or rain make sure the fabric is both comfortable and water-repellent.

The answer isn’t clear cut. While there is some evidence that dressing your dog may cause irritation, there is also evidence that supports the idea that some dogs may benefit from it. Everything in moderation is fine (halloween costumes are always a fun time for dress up). Test out different things, do research and find a happy medium that is both adorable and comfortable. Beauty doesn’t always have to be a pain, after all.