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By definition, the phrase “put on the dog” means to get dressed up, and on National Dress Up Your Pet Day couture-conscious canines take the term to heart. Dogs — and our other four-legged friends — can let their fashion flag fly on January 14 during this pet holiday of dogged devotion to trend-setting, and tail-wagging, style.
Established in 2009 by Celebrity Pet Lifestyle Expert and Animal Behaviorist Colleen Paige, National Dress Up Your Pet Day is celebrated each January 14th.
Note: No fashionista on two feet or four should ever suffer for style. Make sure that all pet outfits are safe and comfortable for your runway-ready Rover. We’ve got tips below on dressing your dog–and cute alternatives to clothes if your dog is a minimalist when it comes to fashion!
Why Dress Your Dog?
Why should you dress your dog? The reasons vary by dog, situation and weather.
Whether your dog’s wardrobe is red carpet-worthy or simply cold weather wear, the common thread which binds all pet apparel is the love behind each look.
Dress up time can be bonding moments between pet parents and their pups, who enjoy lapping up attention when they see all of the grins they receive when they show off their garment.
Of course, weather is the best reason to dress your dog–cold weather is the perfect time for dressing your dog in a snuggly sweater or coat.
Choose from heavy dog coats, sweaters and sweatshirts (including hoodies) to help your dog stay warm on your walks and outings.
Waterproof rain coats are great for rain as well as snow and slush.
Reactions from Other People
Because Barli gets cold easily and likes to wear sweaters, he wears a sweater when we’re visiting our relatives at the nursing home.
We started noticing that his sweaters get a huge reaction from people–they see a dog in a sweater, and they start to smile. Residents, nurses–even the moving men we ran into recently bringing new furniture to the nursing home–all break out in a smile when they see Barli approaching in one of his sweaters.
And not only does that bring a smile to someone else (and, at a nursing home, that is a very important service) but that smile also helps to put Barli at ease. Our dogs pick up on our body language immediately, so if they are greeted by a smile, our dogs respond accordingly. It’s a win-win!
Whether your dog has a hot spot he just won’t leave alone or a surgical site that needs to heal, specialized clothing can help. Talk to your vet about clothing options that are growing in popularity as an alternative to the dreaded cone!
Tips for Dressing Your Dog
If you dress up your dog in observance of National Dress Up Your Pet Day–or any day, the most important thing is to make sure your dog is safe and comfortable in his clothing.
Remember to make sure your dog can breathe easily in his clothes/costume. Avoid anything constricting.
If your dog is wearing a costume, make sure there are no small parts he can chew off, causing choking.
And make sure your dog doesn’t overheat in his clothing. If you’ve bundled up for a cold weather walk, your dog may need to lose the layers when you return home.
Alternatives to Dog Clothes
Not every dog wants to wear clothes! If your dog (like our Tiki!) has no interest in wearing clothing, you can still add some fashion flair to your dog’s wardrobe:
Add a stylish dog bandana for some colorful flair!
Most dogs see a bow tie like a collar. Make sure it doesn’t have any loose pieces but, otherwise, your dog will probably ignore a bow tie much like he ignores his collar.
Colorful dog harnesses add style and function to your dog’s wardrobe!
Step-in vest harnesses, most popular for smaller dogs, provide an additional layer of fashion because they do look much like a vest.
Decorative Dog Collars and Collar Accessories
Crocheted collar roses and other decorative accessories slide on your dog’s collar, providing a colorful addition that’s fashionable–and fuss free.
Even though Tiki is NOT a fan of dog clothes (her idea of dressing up is wearing a collar) she is happy to pose for photos in sunglasses. Some dogs are OK with glasses, some are not. Similarly hats and caps are accepted by some dogs, and not by others.
However you and your dog celebrate National Dress Up Your Pet Day, have fun and make sure your dog is having fun, too!