Why Do People Dress Their Dogs?

If you’ve ever thought a dog looks adorable wearing a coat or sweater, you’re not alone. It’s not uncommon for people to dress dogs in clothes, whether it’s a fashionable pair of booties or a snazzy tutu. Dressing your dog in clothing can be a very personal decision.

Although these outfits are endearing to look at, you may wonder about dressing up your dogs. For example, do dogs like wearing clothes? It turns out that there are plenty of practical reasons why people dress their dogs, but the answer can still depend on you and your dog. Let’s review the various benefits of dog clothing.

Is It Bad to Put Clothes on Dogs?

The short answer: no! As long as your dog is comfortable, it’s perfectly fine to dress up your dogs. In fact, certain clothes are even recommended in certain situations.

That said, dogs aren’t accustomed to wearing clothes on their bodies like we are. Your dog’s initial reaction will likely be to shake the clothes off or fidget around to adjust them. This process is pretty normal – your dog isn’t used to having something other than fur.

It’s essential to take things slowly when dressing up your dog. Let your dog sniff the clothes first to get used to them. You can also give them a treat after they interact with the clothes to help them associate these garments with positive encouragement. After that, rest the clothing on your dog’s body and continue to praise and reward him. The goal here is to teach your pup that clothes are perfectly normal and helpful.

The first time you put some clothes on your dog, start with a short amount of time. You want to slowly get your dog used to clothes. Throwing outerwear on him and expecting to go on an outing isn’t practical, so take your time when asking your dog to wear clothing. You can steadily increase the time clothes are worn and reward him for each session.

When dressing your dog, you’ll want to be sure that the clothing is not too tight around their neck and anywhere on their body, that they can move freely and easily, and that the clothing is not a hazard for them to walk and jump. Items that cover your dog’s head can make it hard for your dog to see and hear, so be sure to look out for those issues.

4 Different Reasons to Dress Up Your Dog

As long as your best friend is comfortable with clothes, there are plenty of benefits to articles of clothing. These reasons include:

  • Warmth
  • Safety
  • Anxiety
  • Aesthetics

Each of these reasons have different goals. Let’s break down the goals for each reason and what you can do to dress up your dog appropriately.


One of the top reasons to dress up your dog is to stay warm. Some dogs simply aren’t built for cold weather. Puppies, senior dogs, small dogs, and shorthaired dogs are perfect candidates for sweaters, jackets, and other canine clothing that will help shield them from the elements.

When picking out a warm winter jacket, consider your climate. Is water resistance or warmth more important? Aesthetics are not the primary concern here – comfort and functionality are of the utmost importance here.

After you’ve figured out what types of clothes your dog needs for warmth, try on a variety of items and make sure the interior lining isn’t rubbing your dog and causing sores. Take your dog’s measurements and refer to any sizing charts for clothing to help find a perfect fit where your furry friend can run around and play normally.


Certain outfits can protect your dog from more than just the cold. There are a few instances where dressing dogs in clothes can help protect your dog’s well-being.

Dog booties can help protect your furry friend’s paw pads from the elements. For example, some extra paw protection can help shield your dog’s pads from hot pavement and other surfaces. If the ground is too hot for your bare feet, it’s too hot for theirs.

Canine footwear can similarly protect paws from the freezing ice and snow. Dressing your dogs in boots or other footwear not only helps protect their paws from frostbite, but also from cuts and scrapes caused by walking on rock salt, jagged ice, and other sharp or treated surfaces.

Dressing your dog can also protect you both from late night accidents. If you and your dog like to go out for a walk or run at night when it’s dark, reflective jackets ensure drivers can see the two of you. Even LED collars and leashes can help. This is doubly true if your dog manages to escape his leash or accidentally step out into the road.


It’s never fun feeling uneasy. Fortunately, there are certain types of dog clothing that can help dogs who suffer from anxiety. Your dog can feel anxious for a number of reasons – prolonged separation from you and other family members, loud noises, etc. – and some cases are more severe and frequent than others.

Like people, dogs find immense comfort in being held tightly. That’s why many pet parents opt for tight swaddle clothing like anxiety vests and calming coats that can help reduce their dog’s nervousness. That extra level of comfort can provide your precious pooch with the support he needs to feel less anxious during thunderstorms, car rides, or other uncertain events.

It’s just plain cute!

There are plenty of great reasons to dress your dog, but they all don’t need to be practical. While it’s not a super functional reason to dress your pet up, dogs often look very endearing when dressed in clothes – just ask your friends on social media.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with dressing your dog up purely for aesthetics as long as your dog is fine with the experience. If you’re planning to dress your dog, make sure to weigh the following three factors:

  • Is my dog comfortable?
  • Is my dog safe?
  • Is my dog happy and living his normal life despite the clothing?

If the answer to all three is yes, then go for it! Your dog is sure to get more treats this way – who can resist a dog in clothes?

Dress Your Dogs for Success

If you’re considering dressing your dog up, just remember to keep his safety, comfort, and happiness in mind. As long as those criteria are met, your pooch may enjoy those clothes as much as you do. He’ll certainly receive more attention from passersby!

Whether you decide to dress your dog or not, we all want one thing: to do what we can to help your best friends lead happy, healthy lives.