Whether your dog needs a functional coat for the winter or you simply want to keep them looking fashionable, dressing your dog up can be a very cute and fun experience. However, we know how hard it can be to not only find clothing that fits your dog’s unique build, but also clothing that’s comfortable and stylish. Our guide will include everything you and your dog need to know before purchasing clothing, and how to best let your pup wear the clothing. From finding the latest fashion trends in dog apparel to sizing your pup for a new accessory; rest assured we’ll have all the information you need in order to make a smart buying decision for you and your pooch.
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About Dog Apparel
Unfortunately, pet clothing is never one size fits all. In fact, you often can’t even rely on the typical “small, medium, or large”. Some clothing brands are made specifically for different types of breeds. If you think about it, no two breeds are built the same. Some dogs have longer necks, legs, and body lengths. No matter what kind of pup you have, you can find clothing that fits them if you take the time to measure your pup.
Of course the first step is to find an article of clothing that is designed for your dog’s specific breed or their outdoorsy needs. This is the easiest way to ensure your pup will be able to wear the clothing comfortably. If not, pay close attention to all of the measurements available. If the clothing company doesn’t offer measurements, chances are – it won’t fit your pup. Once you have your dog’s measurements, you’re ready to start shopping! Throughout this guide, you will find key information on everything for dog clothing, as well as our top apparel picks for your pooch. In particular, we’ll cover shirts, dresses, sweaters, jackets, and even jerseys.
tips for buying dog apparel
It can be difficult to begin your search for doggie apparel. Some of you may be looking for apparel that will protect your pup from the elements, while others just want a stylish outfit for their dog. Regardless of your reasoning, it’s important that you find clothing that accommodates your dog’s comfort level, size, and temperament. When you begin your search there are some key things to keep in mind.
What to Look for: Our Pro Tips
- Decorations are cute but not functional or completely safe
- Know your dog’s temperament
- You can not force your dog to wear clothing they are not comfortable in
- Purchase dog clothing that is machine washable
- Make sure the article of clothing is easy to get on and off your dog
- Does your dog have any certain allergies?
Decorations on Dog Clothing
First, look over all of the materials on the article of clothing. If the apparel has any shiny buttons, clips, or decoration that sticks out; you can expect that your dog will either claw or bite them off. Once they start biting off pieces, the outfit is as good as gone.
Your Pup’s Temperment
In addition, you should keep your dog’s temperament in mind. Some dogs will refuse to wear any clothing; trust us when we say, you can’t force any dog to wear something they’re not comfortable in. They’ll find a way to get out of it, or manage to destroy it. Other dogs will only tolerate small articles; a vest, coat, possibly a t-shirt. It’s important that you know your dog’s limits, and what they’re going to tolerate before you start purchasing apparel for them.
Buy Machine Washable
Like many dog parents, we’ve also come to learn that purchasing clothing that’s machine washable will make your life much easier. If your purchasing a cute outfit that won’t be worn out for playtime, this isn’t a big deal. However, if your dog is going to be running around in adverse weather, it’s important that they have something that you can easily clean.
Easy on, Easy off
Next, you’ll want to keep in mind how easy the apparel is to get on and off your pup. Zippers and Velcro are the easiest to work with as long as your dog can’t easily scratch or bite it off. Many dogs are restless when it comes to clothing; if you purchase apparel covered in buttons and or other features, you may never get your pup to wear them.
For our last pro tip, investigate what (if any) type of allergies your dog may have. This will also include if they have any skin sensitivities. Each company uses various materials to produce their dog apparel, especially if the article of clothing has multiple layers to protect from cold weather. Sometimes, your unique pup will not be compatible with synthetic fabrics. Luckily, dog companies are beginning to manufacture eco-friendly clothing from materials like natural cotton and hemp. There are more options than ever before when it comes to keeping your allergy-prone pooch safe.
Materials You Should Know
There are a variety of materials companies use to make dog apparel. However, just like human clothes, some fabrics are more comfortable than others. Furthermore, you may know (or find out) that Fido has a unique allergy or skin sensitivity to certain types of material. In preparation, it is best to be keenly aware of what the dog apparel in made from before purchasing. Take a look at our informative list to see what fabric is most compatible with your needs:
Cotton is one of the most popular fabrics used for pet apparel. It’s comfortable, flexible, and provides a bit of warmth in cooler months. That’s also why they’re used in a lot of baby clothing. They’re great for dogs that need a flexible fit and won’t tolerate stiffer clothing. They’ll keep short-haired dogs warm in the spring and fall without restricting their movement.
100% Natural Cotton:
Clothing made with 100% natural cotton avoid the use of chemicals and synthetic fibers, so you can be sure you are getting a product from mother nature herself! This is where the main difference compared to treated cotton lies, because treated materials may have dyes, synthetic fibers, or other chemicals mixed in with the cotton. If you like to purchase all-natural products, we suggest looking for this type of cotton in your dog’s clothing. Additionally, this 100% natural cotton option is excellent for pups with allergies.
Polyester is a great waterproof material that’s often used in rain jackets and overcoats. If you’re looking to purchase some snow or rain protection for your pup, look for Polyester as the main fabric. It’ll keep your dog dry and safe from the elements, and you can even find cotton-filled polyester that will keep your dog extra warm in the winter months.
Quilted Nylon acts a lot like polyester, but is much warmer. It’s often used for winter jackets or snow jackets. If your pup likes playing out in the snow, this is a great fabric to look for. It’ll keep the snow from soaking your dog, and help keep them warm.
Often you’ll find spandex mixed in with fabrics such as cotton. This will help the material obtain a super stretchy feel. It will allow your dog to move around in the material easier, and give them a comfortable feel.
Although this material is not as common as the previous ones mentioned, it still offers plenty of benefits for your dog. First of all, it is very strong compared to other fabrics, like cotton. Its strength will last throughout countless uses, which is something everyone can value. A huge plus to purchasing hemp products is that they are eco-friendly. In fact, hemp crops don’t require pesticides and need minimal water. When you purchase a hemp product, you’re getting a high-quality item while also helping the environment.
How to Take Your Dog’s Measurements
Many companies will offer measurements that correspond to the size options, which allows you to know exactly which size is ride for your pup. In order to make use of this information, you need to take your dog’s measurements. By doing so, you will ensure that your dog gets the perfect fit! After-all, no one wants to purchase clothes that are too big or small. There are a few different types of measurements you will need to take depending on the type of clothing you are looking to buy:
Behind your dog’s front legs and at the widest part of their chest is where you can find their chest girth. Simply wrap your measuring tape around your dog’s chest, and you will have the chest girth measurement. Basically, this is the circumference of your dog’s rib cage. Most sizing for dog clothes is based on this measurement, so it is important to have when making a purchase.
Your dog’s length is measured on their back, from the base of the neck to where the tail starts. When you measure your dog’s length, you want to make sure your dog is standing up on all fours. If your dog is curled up on the couch, you won’t be able to get a correct measurement. Place the beginning of the measuring tape at the base of your pup’s neck, and have the rest of the tape follow down their spine. Use the number closest to the start of your dog’s tail and there you have it, your dog’s back length.
Pro Tip for Taking Measurements:
We know it can be hard to keep your dog still, especially when fiddling with a tape measure around their wiggly bodies. To make your pup stay still, we suggest using treats. An even easier way to keep them put would be to have another person hold the treat in front of your pup while you take the measurements. By doing so, your dog will stay focused on the treat while you measure them. Also, a rule of thumb to follow if your dog is between sizes is to choose the larger option. It’s always better to round up; the last thing you want is clothing that will constrict them.
Spring Dog Clothing
Shirt Pick - Blueberry Pet
If you want your pup to look and feel great at an affordable price, Blueberry might be the right shop for you. The shirts we’ve picked out are made of a flexible, stretchy material, easy to wash, and light enough for summer. This particular set comes in five sizes, ranging from XS to XL; Blueberry also has their own sizing chart so you can rest assured you’re spending your money on something your pup will fit into nicely. The shirts are made of polyester, cotton, and spandex which is the perfect combination for a comfortable fit.
This blend of stretchy lightweight material might be just what your dog needs. These shirts are also machine washable; just throw them in with similar colors and put it on the cool and gentle cycle for easy cleaning. Blueberry shirts will be the perfect accessory for your pup during the summer.
We would highly recommend these shirts for smaller pups that need a lightweight flexible shirt for the spring and summer months. We love the comfortable material, and they don’t seem to bother dogs that can’t stand constricting clothing.
Dress Pick - Fitwarm Dress
The Fitwarm Pick is a highly popular dress for pup parents. It will allow your dog to achieve a cute look without compromising comfort. Made of soft cotton, your dog will be able to move around without getting overheated. Your dog can have a fashionable dress that they can run freely in, and you won’t have to worry about stiff fabric. You’ll also be happy to hear that the dress goes on over your dog’s head, so there aren’t any zippers or buttons to deal with. This will also prevent your dog from biting off any excess fabric.
Spring is the season of rebirth; the grass grows green, tulips start popping up their heads, and baby bunnies scramble under the deck. However, those pesky insects are also busy appearing out of thin air. Ticks, mosquitoes, you name it! Not only are they attracted to us humans, but they also go after your unsuspecting dog. Dressing your furbaby in a protective layer of clothing can help, but ultimately any insect has the chance of crawling on their legs and even underneath of the clothing.
Although they are little in size, insects like these can pack a punch when it comes to possible diseases; which they can transmit to you dog through a bite. The top three are heart-worm, Lyme disease, and West Nile Virus. While humans can use bug spray to protect themselves, you can absolutely not use the same spray on your dog. Fortunately, there are insect repellents made specifically for canines. Check out our article on the Top 6 Insect Repellents for Dogs to learn more about those options. In the article, we also cover some natural ways to protect your pup from those pesky insects.
Summer Dog Clothing
Shirt Pick - Expawlorer Hawaiian Pet Dog Polo T-Shirt
Spending a summer day at the pool, beach, or at a barbecue calls for a trendy outfit, and the Expawlorer Hawaiian Pet Dog Polo T-Shirt will be a great option. To match the vibe of summertime, the shirt has vibrant colors along with palm trees and flowers. Not only is it pleasing to the eye, but it is also functional. With the use of velcro instead of buttons, getting your dog into the hawaiian shirt will be quick and easy. Plus, it’s made of lightweight, natural cotton that will be perfect for hot weather. Lastly, the shirt is machine washable to provide you with the convenience you need as a busy dog owner.
Dress Pick - LovinPet Summer Tutu Dress
A floral dress for your pup will be a lovely way to keep them stylish for the season. Since flowers are blooming all throughout summer, it’s fitting to wear floral print during this time of year. In addition, it has a pink bow that makes for a wonderful accent. When it comes to materials, the dress is made out of lightweight cotton and polyester to keep your dog cool in the summer months. Whether you need a dog dress for a special occasion or for everyday wear, the the LovinPet Summer Tutu Dress will be a great pick.
- XS: Chest: 11”, length 9”
- S: 14”, 12”
- M: 16.5”, 12”
- L: 17”, 13”
- XL: 18”, 16”
Buying Tip: The sizing for this product is a little odd compared to most clothes, because it does not title them as, “small, medium, large, etc.” So, be aware when looking on Amazon that they are simply listed as the measurements.
There’s no doubt that the sun is at its best during the Summer. Whether you’re heading to the beach for a relaxing vacation with your dog or choosing to enjoy a stay-cation, your dog is going to be exposed to some brilliant rays of sunshine. Although nice and warm, those rays can actually cause your pup’s skin to burn, just like you! In particular, their nose, ears, and other regions across the face are going to be effected the most. Unfortunately, dog clothing is less likely to protect those key burn-areas. That’s why it is a good idea to invest in a good bottle of dog sunscreen for the Summer season.
There is a difference between regular human sunscreen and dog sunscreen, so do not always expect to be able to share your own bottle with Fido. The oils and pH balance of your pup’s silky skin and fur are different and, therefore, require a specially designed doggie formula. Luckily, these dog products are not hard to find. We’ve narrowed down the best dog sunscreens to 9 awesome choices, which you can read all about in our article The Best Dog Sunscreen.
Fall Dog Clothing
Hoodie Pick - Kooltail Plaid Hoodie for Dogs
The leaves are changing and the weather is getting cooler; fall is here once again. It’s that time of year for bonfires, pumpkin patches, football, and many more fun activities. A change of seasons means a change of clothing. Hoodies are a perfect choice for this season, because they are warm enough for the cooler weather, but not too heavy to overheat your pup.
In particular, the Kooltail Plaid Hoodie for Dogs has a classic red and black plaid print, which is ideal for fall fashion. Along with being a trendy choice, it’s also practical. We love that the hoodie has a hole for you to attach your leash through, so you can keep Fido looking fabulous on the go. Regarding materials, it is 65% polyester and 35% cotton. In addition, it’s machine washable to make cleaning easy.
Jersey Pick: NFL Pet Jersey
Go long! To have the most fun during this football season, you can include Fido in all of the excitement. The NFL has a line of football jerseys for dogs, so your dog can strut your favorite team! On game day, you and your dog can match to support your team. Plus, this will make for an adorable photo op. Everyone, especially you, will love this sporty look on your pup. Exclusively for true football fans, immerse your dog into fandom with NFL dog toys. During the big game, put on their jersey and hand them a toy to complete the celebration! To find the perfect NFL toy, head on over to our article NFL Pet Toy Selection – Get Your Game On.
Winter Dog Clothing
Sweater pick - Fami European Classical Pet Sweater
The Fami Sweaters are designed for smaller dogs that need an extra bit of warmth during the colder months. They’re soft, warm, and comfortable for even picky pups. These sweaters are made from woolen yarn that will be flexible enough for your dog to move around with ease. You can purchase the sweater in three sizes, and three colors; black, red, and blue. All sizes will fit your pup from their necks down their backs, and keep them warm whether they’re inside or outside. The wool is soft and stretchy enough for dogs to feel comfortable in. You’ll also like that it has a pullover design so you won’t have to deal with any buttons or buckles to get it on and off your pup.
- Small: Ideal for dogs 6-9 lbs. Neck girth: 10.24″, chest girth: 14.17″, back length: 11.02″
- Medium: Ideal for dogs 9-11 lbs. Neck girth: 11.02″, chest girth: 16.54″, back length: 12.6″
- Large: Ideal for dogs 11-15 lbs. Neck girth: 12.6″, chest girth: 17.3″, back length: 14.15″.
Trending Cold Weather Pick - Kuoser Cozy
The Kuoser Cozy is a great way to keep your dog warm and comfortable in the winter months. It’s great for snow, wind, and even rain. Made with a polyester filling, polyester, terylene and cotton material, fleece lining, and water resistant outer layer, your dog will stay warm and dry through just about any weather. We also love that this jacket acts like a vest. Giving your dog plenty of space to move freely and run around without feeling constricted. These great materials come together to create a windproof, waterproof, and lightweight coat for dogs of just about any size. Plus, the jacket has easy velcro closures making it easy for you to take the jacket on and off of your dog with ease.
Outdoorsy Pick - Hurtta Extreme Warmer
When it comes to winter, those bitter temperatures can drop significantly. In fact, depending on where you live, cold climates may be expected! Rather than looking at fashion-forward dog clothing, you’re probably searching for a functional piece to ensure your pup’s warmth. The Hurtta Extreme Warmer dog coat is perfect for those very cold winter days when your dog refuses to stay stuck indoors.
Inside the jacket is a special foil liner that traps your dog’s own body heat and keeps it close. It’s even adjustable in both the neck and waist to help minimize any body heat from escaping. Finally, whereas many dog coats simply cover the dog’s back, you can expect full coverage with the Hurtta Extreme Warmer. Not only does it come up around your pup’s neck, but the collar can be extended into a hood to wrap around their vulnerable ears! For more product reviews on dog clothing for very cold weather, head on over to our article How To Protect Your Dog From Very Cold Weather.
Large Dog Clothing
Lightweight Pick - Idepet Jacket
Most dog apparel is made for smaller dogs. They tend to fit into clothing easier, since there are endless options for them on the market. However, large dogs often need some protection from the elements as well. The Idepet Jacket is designed specifically for large dogs. It’s made from 100% cotton, making it comfortable, lightweight, and warm for dogs in need of a little protection. You’ll also be happy to hear about the product’s pullover design eliminates any hassle from fumbling with buttons and zippers.
Although simplistic in design, the Idepet Jacket is perfect for any owner searching for functionality and safety. In fact. there’s nothing on this jacket that your dog will be able to chew on or pick off! Plus, it’s available in seven large sizes, and 4 colors; black, grey, red, and yellow. With the variety of sizes and colors, you’ll be sure to find the perfect jacket for your big furry friend.
Cold Weather Pick - Pawz Hoodie
With sizes in XL, 2XL, and 3XL, the Pawz Hoodie will fit those larger furbabies for your cold-weather needs. Unlike a small, dinky shirt, this warm hoodie wraps completely around Fido while leaving their head and legs exposed for optimum mobility. It’s hood lifts up around your pup’s ears for the ultimate weather protection, but it can also be completely removed from the jacket when necessary.
Better yet, the company produces their dog hoodie with a sturdy extra layer of fabric and reinforced trims. Because we all know how rowdy large dogs can get! While they’re out catching snowflakes, this specific dog hoodie has a good chance of holding together through many wears. For more information on the Pawz Hoodie and all-thing large dog accessories, hop over to our article the Best Accessories for Large Dogs.
Finally, now you know all of the ins and outs of buying clothes for your furry friend. Remember, this should be a fun process for you and pooch! It gives you a chance to express their own style and bring out their unique personality. With an array of options on the market, we hope our top picks helped you narrow down your choices. No matter what the season is, you can keep Fido looking stylish.