Dressing your dog up is one of the most fun guilty pleasures of being a pet parent. But one of the greatest frustrations is getting excited over the cutest dog outfits only to find out they don’t fit well, they’re uncomfortable, your dog hates it before you even have a chance to show them off.
Novelty costumes are all too common in popular pet stores, but they, unfortunately, don’t fit all body types. Sadly, buying unusable dog clothes is a common experience, especially among broad-chested breeds like bulldogs.
Here’s a few tips that will help you find useful, properly fitting, and durable dog clothes.
5 Essential Considerations When Buying Dog Clothes:
1) Fit & Craftsmanship
The hems and cuffs of the Navy Checkered Knit Dog Sweater showing high-quality craftsmanship.
The fit is one of the most important factors to quality dog clothing. Unlike human fashion, dog clothing has to cater to many completely different body shapes, sizes and proportions.
Small details like stitching patterns, sleeve length, how the chest piece is connected to the arms, torso to back ratio, underbody V-cut can determine if your dog is going to wear a piece of clothing or not.
These details are more important than the style and design of the clothing. The stitching should hold and endure any young pup’s roughhousing. All hems and cuffs should be properly made to protect the clothing from fraying. Additionally, the lining should be soft against your dog’s coat.
Hercules the Bully feeling cozy and comfy in his Broken Teddy Bear Knit Dog Sweater.Experienced product designers understand that when it comes to creating good dog clothes, comfort always comes first.
The materials and fabrics used in dog clothing is really where you’ll see the biggest difference in price and quality. Clothing in big box retailers are typically made of scrap fabrics left over from human-fast-fashion production, these fabrics are usually thin, rough, tear easily, none-stretch, chemically treated and could irritate your dog’s skin.
In contrast, quality dog clothes use premium human grade fabrics that cater to a dog’s needs; such ass temperature-control, durability, flexibility, softness, thickness, wash-ability and texture. Many types of fabrics are sourced and tested in real life situations before mass production.
Buddha the Staffy all covered up in the Bad & Boujee Dog Hoodie.Think beyond fashion and determine why your dog needs to wear clothes. If it’s because they feel cold easily, get something that actually offers additional insulation. A properly lined jacket or hoodie should do the trick.
If you prefer a pull-over, make sure the fabrics are stretchy and the hood fits your dog's head—a problem many bulldog owners experience.
If your dog has an odd body shape, then avoid buying raincoat or thick winter jacket as your first purchase from a new brand because there is no stretchability and there may be a good chance that it will not fit.
Always consider how easy it is to put on and remove the clothing you are buying. If it’s too difficult, your dog will likely reject it and you will likely run away. Fortunately, there are plenty of clothes designed for the comfort of dogs and the convenience of their owners.
Nebbiolo & Romy the Staffies in perfectly fitting Spark Paws Dog Hoodies.
Buying clothes from a reputable dog apparel brand is really about product quality and customer service. Think about it: dogs come in all shapes and forms. So why do big-chain manufacturers expect French Bulldogs to fit in the same clothes as Pointers do?
Find a brand that stands behind their products and designs clothes specifically for the breed of dog you have.
Some breeds—bulldogs especially—need a manufacturer that’s intimately familiar with the big head, broad chest, small waist, and short legs. Thankfully, once you’ve found a brand that suits your dog well, you can be confident in your future purchases with them.
This Versace Dog Rain Coat sells for upwards of $200 each.
Dog clothes range in price from cheap to extravagant. You’ll find costumes at pet stores and popular online marketplaces for as little as $10, but you’ll also find designer brands selling them for a couple of hundred dollars each.
Choosing the right price point depends on your actual budget, but keep in mind that the cost is often positively related to quality.
Although the most expensive dog clothing isn’t necessarily the best, you can bet that the cheapest ones are just that: cheap. Thankfully, there are reasonably-priced items that perfectly balance cost, style, and quality.
Additional Tips for Choosing Clothes for Your DogHere are a few other tips that might help you put together a wardrobe filled with stylish yet comfortable and high-quality dog apparel:
For winter activities:
A young pup wearing a full-body waterproof snowsuit. (Source)If it’s frosty where you live or you’re heading out on a snowy adventure, get a water-resistant vest that will keep ice from gathering on your dog’s coat. A snowsuit that covers the legs will be especially helpful in keeping your dog safe and comfortable in harsh winter weather.
For morning walks:
The Frenchie Doots enjoying a morning walk in the Teddy Sherpa Dog Jacket in pink and brown.Temperatures tend to be low during the early hours of the day. If your dog gets cold during your morning walks, get a fleece-lined jacket that can keep them warm. Proper lining is especially important if your dog has a short coat and sensitive skin. Additionally, a good dog jacket will be easy to put on and take off, which is most convenient for city dogs and apartment dwellers.
For lounging at home:
Zaya the Cavalier all cozied up in the Floral Dog Hoodie.If your pup gets cold at home, a hoodie would be essential for a good night’s rest. Dog hoodies are soft and comfy—perfect for warm snuggles! This wardrobe essential also has the added benefit of keeping shed hair away from your carpet and furniture.
For finicky dogs:
The Amstaff Pack are super comfy in their Cloud Knit Dog Sweaters.Not all dogs will feel comfortable wearing clothes right away. If yours still gets fussy in any dog apparel, opt for stretchy or soft materials that won’t make their movements feel restricted. Soft knit dog sweaters work best, especially those that cover the body but not the limbs. These comfy clothing will help your dog transition into all sorts of outfits later on.
It’s smart to be just as particular with the fit and quality of your dog’s outfits as you are with your own clothes. This is especially important with broad-chested breeds that don’t typically fit well in costumes and novelty clothing you often find in big-box pet stores.
When shopping for dog clothes, remember to think beyond cuteness and Instagramability. Of course, style and swagger are important. But keep the critical considerations in mind so that you get the best-looking outfits with the best value for money, all while keeping your adorable pup comfortable.
If you’re shopping online, make sure you check out this guide on how to measure your dog for clothes.