I am the woman whose dog has been fitted for custom couture, fancy clothing, and whose dog wears one-of-a-kind creations to events while I wear “off the rack.”
My dog walks the runway.
I rent it.
It is on this 14th day of January, that someone, somewhere had the notion to dub these 24 hours, “National Dress Up Your Pet” Day.
Some dogs should not partake in this national unobserved-by-most-employers-but-a-day-of-rejoice for those who believe that Bark is the New Black.
And then some dogs should partake.
When is clothing and dress up fun versus when is it over the top versus when is it harming a dog? Keep putting clothes on dogs if that’s your thing, like it is mine.
If you are looking for advice or to commiserate with someone to bash on canine fashion, you won’t get it with me. Here’s a Fi-dose of reality as it pertains to people who put clothing on dogs.
Dogs Are Not Wolves
Dogs are not as close kin to wolves as previously believed. People in the know, like scientist people who do this for a living, say so, as evidenced by this article on the Discovery website. I wouldn’t put a dress on a wolf unless he was a character disguising himself in children’s book. I would put a tux on a dog who didn’t mind doing so and whose personality didn’t suffer for it.
Photo Contest Naysayers
Every time I run a photo contest for dogs, there are a few folks who chime in how unnatural it is for dogs to wear clothing. “These dogs aren’t happy doing this,” one dog parent wrote to me. Of all the people I’ve met my career in the pet industry, the majority of dog parents who put clothes on their pets are super loving, kind, and dog lovers to the max. So give us a break.
Being a Dog
For every time my dog wears a sweater, has a tux on, allows me to button his designer vest, he gets 10 runs in the park, romps in the mud, play sessions galore, walks around the neighborhood, trips to the treat store, and one-on-one time with me having fun. Many dog parents whose dogs wear clothing are the same way.
Dogs Are the New Kids
But they aren’t human children. I know my dog isn’t a human being: He has all the qualities I wish in people and all the goodness of a, well, saint. Some say I am anthropomorphizing (ascribing human qualities) to my dog. “Just a dog,” some say. “He’s not a kid, you know,” I’ve been told.
If the fates honor me with my dog-sharing life for a solid 15 years or more, unlike a teenager at age 15, my dog isn’t asking for the car keys, won’t enter the dating world, and will never become a source of gray hair as I worry because he is out 10 minutes past curfew. His time is getting limited, at this ripe old age.
The lifespan of a dog is short — a flicker, if you will, compared with a human’s. He will pass from this world and leave behind a hole in my heart where it used to be, well, “whole.” I’ve been down this road, and I will again and again. Being in a room when the needles to stop pain are injected into a dog is a surreal and life altering experience.
I live a bit more vicariously and in the moment since becoming a dog mom: And after all, aren’t dogs always living in the moment? They’ve taught me well, these creatures kids called dogs. I’ve yet to see my dog worry about what just happened, or panic at something that’s going down tomorrow. Dogs have taught me to live life to its fullest because at any time, it can end.
What Not to Do to a Dog
Dogs don’t like being chained up outside, made to live in a kennel, forced to be a puppy miller’s means to income, abused, hit, screamed at, starved, neglected, or forgotten. Many dogs are genuinely okay with wearing clothes. It’s not a form of abuse unless….
Dogs are not suffering by wearing clothing unless the dog is in pain, doesn’t get to do normal “dog” things, and has no quality of life because of it.
When my dog injured his leg (twice) and ruptured his ACL, I opted for a “onesie” for dogs of sorts – from the folks at Tulane’s Closet. Well, my dog was so accustomed to apparel, he never blinked an eyelash at wearing a one piece “cover me” outfit during his postop period. He never bothered the wound. Thank you, clothing that is useful and functional as well as attractive.
We Have Fun
For those who do dress their dogs up, whether once a year at Halloween with a bandana or throughout the year and strut their dog down a runway with super models, the majority of us are having fun. Our dogs are well socialized, they have full, active, healthy, lives. We don’t have to explain why we fancy being a dog fashion fancier yet we feel on the defense time and again and face being verbally attacked on blogs, message boards, social media, and at events.
Dogs Need Sweaters
Sometimes, dogs do need a sweater and there are health reasons for this. Click to read our article about dog sweater myths and facts.
Fashion Has Gone to the Dogs
Did you know that New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology, heralded as one of the world’s leading higher educational facilities for fashion design, has been offering a certificate program in Pet Product Design and Marketing? One of the stars of dog fashion’s spotlight is Anthony Rubio. The award-winning pet couturier Anthony Rubio, has designed several pieces for my dog and countless others. Take glam and common sense for dogs donning couture, and this is Anthony Rubio.
Rubio is not alone: From the runways of New York to the stages of L.A., dogs are reflecting today’s fashion trends.
If my dog hated wearing clothes and put up a fuss against it, I’d stop. I’d still want him to be warm and protected from the elements, so we’d face that hurdle. So far in my life, this has never been the case with my dogs.
If you have a dog who has zero passion for fashion, a bandana or fashionable leash/collar will do the trick.
People who dress their pets up have long been a source of mockery and humor. Whatever. If you are happy and the dog’s quality of life are strengthened and enhanced for wearing clothes, go for it. Let no one stop you.
Do you put clothes on your dog? Are you pro or con canine apparel?
No doubt, some of these bloggers put clothes on their pets: