I had a client ask me recently if it was ok for his wife to dress up their male Pomeranian. I think he wanted me to say no. Come on guys, women love that cute stuff!
Coats and sweaters are necessary for some dogs in chilly weather. Boots are necessary for all dogs in bitterly cold weather. Learn more about your dog and cold weather. If you have a small or short hair dog, and he shivers because he is cold, then get him a sweater or coat.
On the other hand, if you have a dog with a heavy coat, don’t over dress him. Especially in the house or during warm weather. Watch for signs of heat exhaustion. Watch for excessive panting, the inside of the ears will become flushed and red he will my have sweaty paws. These are the early signs of heat exhaustion. Get the dog cooled down quickly. If he seems weak or confused, call your veterinarian immediately, he is most likely now having heat stroke. I have seen heat exhaustion in several dogs at doggie costume parties. Don’t make your dog sick just because you want to have fun.
Here are some guide lines though. Make sure there are not parts, especially on costumes that can come off and your dog can eat. When I worked for the Veterinarian, we saw a lot of strange things stuck in bellies and bowels that had to be surgically removed. Don’t corner your dog and hold him down or pin him to get him dressed. Make getting clothes on a positive experience. We are always in a hurry and can’t wait to see how cute they are. Slow down and follow some of the suggestions on the next page.
The clothes should fit correctly and should be comfortable. If your dog is having a hard time walking in that snow coat, it’s not the right size. Some dogs have to get used to wearing clothes, they may feel very strange. When you are dressing your dog, use lots of treats and praise. Make it fun for him too. Don’t be stingy with the praise. Go slowly let him smell the clothes first, then if it is a coat try just laying it on his back and give him a treat. Repeat this a couple of times until he is comfortable with it. Don’t be stingy with the praise.
If you have to put his head through an opening, hold a treat on the other side with one hand. As you slip the neck opening over his nose give him a nibble on the treat and praise. Do this a few times before you actually slide it all the way over his head. Let him come through the neck opening to get the treat from you. Don’t be stingy with the praise.
Boots are a good idea if you are walking your dog where salt and other products to melt snow and ice are used. These products can harm the pads of your dogs’ feet. Dogs with a lot of fur on their feet can get snow and ice balls stuck on and between the bottom of their toes. If your dog is lifting his paws when he is out side, his feet are cold. Bring him in and warm up his feet. Get some boots for next time. Make sure you get boots that fit right and stay on. For you serious walkers out there, look for boots that are used professionally on dogs such as sled dogs. If your dog hates the boots or you can’t find boots to stay on consider a product such as “Musher Secret”. This is a very good product that prevents burning from salt and other chemicals. It also allows the perspiration to escape through toes. It doesn’t stain and is non-toxic.
Use lots of praise and treats when handling your dogs’ feet. Start by touching the feet and treating and praising. Let your dog smell the boots. (Dogs love to smell everything). Go slowly; be careful not to catch his toe nails. If the experience is painful or negative, the dog will not like the boots or having his feet touched. Many dogs are very sensitive about their feet. If your dog is; start with touch & treat & praise over and over for each foot. Your have to work up slowly to your dog letting you grasp his foot and holding it in your hand. Lots of praise. Let him know he is being a good boy. You have to practice this daily with dogs that are cranky about their feet. Go slow, a little at a time. And work up to getting the boots on. Once again, don’t be stingy with the praise.