Is it healthy for dogs to wear clothes like humans can? I am concerned of an animals welfare when they are wearing clothes made for pets. If it is/isn't healthy what are the benefits and disadvantages/problems for dogs wearing these dog clothes?

  • Can they physically? Yes, people dress up their pets all the time, as I am sure you have noticed. Are you asking more why it is done and if it is good for the pet?
    – user53
    Aug 25, 2015 at 17:35
  • @AshleyNunn Yep, I think that was what I am looking for... Aug 25, 2015 at 17:40
  • Depends on the "clothes", their design, the breed and the environmental conditions. Care to make your concern specific enough to be answerable?
    – keshlam
    Aug 25, 2015 at 18:56

2 Answers 2


For the most part, no, it's not a good idea to put clothes on your pet for several reasons. There are a couple of good reasons and I will cover those.

Clothes aren't good for your pet for several reasons. One reason is that they will chafe your pet. Where a human can scratch an itch under their clothes or adjust them, a dog can't. Imagine if you're underwear were wedgified all day and you couldn't adjust them. Would you be okay? Yes. Would you be comfortable? No.

The other reason is more about psychology. I'm not going to categorically lump everyone who puts clothing on their dogs in this group, but I think a vast majority of people who dress their dogs up, do it because they see them as a child substitute. Granted they require similar care to a young child as far as not being able to feed themselves or go to the bathroom by themselves, but I think people are mentally substituting them for a baby they didn't or couldn't have, or for kids that have left home. Sometimes it happens when a child is in the house because the dog isn't argumentative. I phrased it that way, instead of saying the dog isn't bad, because a lot of them are. People feel like a talking teenager should know better. The dog should know better as well, but because they can't talk and they're dependent, it's easier to see them as a child and forgive bad behavior. It's also the reason people like cats and dogs like pugs and boston terriers. They have large eyes in proportion to their heads and this makes them seem child like.

So even though people objectively know that they're dogs, subconsciously they treat them like babies or dolls. This leads to dressing them up, painting their nails, carrying them around, making excuses for bad behavior, etc...

It's not a good psychological state for the person or the dog. On the persons side, they're transferring feeling onto an inappropriate object and they're harming their dog by not treating it like a dog. On the dog's part, they're not being taught what proper behaviors are when dealing with others. Because typically it's small dogs being dressed up, they're often forgiven for behaviors that you physically can't with a big dogs, such as biting or jumping on you. They are also carried like babies and never allowed a proper amount of exercise. These things all lead to a dog that is aggressive, territorial, and anti-social. It's all lumped in with the mindset that goes along with dressing up a dog like a person. I strongly disagree with this practice.

There are a few occasions I would find it acceptable to put clothing on a dog for short periods of time. These include a Halloween costume (though I've never put one on my dogs), a diaper when a female dog is in heat, a shirt of some kind if they have a wound you want to keep them from rubbing, a rain jacket if you don't want them to get soaked when you're taking them to the bathroom, snow boots if it gets packed in between their toes, guard vests on labs fetching in frozen lakes, and the only piece of clothing I have, which is a light jacket I put on my jack Russell in the mornings when it's still pretty cold. She has very thin hair and I put her outside when I go to work. I'll put the light hoody on her and it'll help her retain heat till the day warms up. When she heats up, she wiggles out of it and leaves it by the door.

So there are good reasons and to put clothing on dogs and bad reasons as well. If you have the correct mindset about it, the clothing serves a purpose, and you aren't projecting maternal/paternal feeling onto your dog, then clothing is fine. Otherwise, lets leave it off. Hope this answers your question.

  • 6
    I feel that "anxiety vests" belong in the category of acceptable clothing when used temporarily. (Although many dogs might benefit from a more direct approach to dealing with anxiety). Doggie backpacks for trail hiking, especially if a dog needs more exercise than the human, and especially if the dog enjoys being "helpful".
    – rlb.usa
    Aug 25, 2015 at 22:39
  • 2
    Also, appropriate "career clothing" for a career dog, ie, rubble rescue dog, drug-sniffing dog, seeing-eye dog, etc is appropriate and helps the dog and people around it focus on its task at hand.
    – rlb.usa
    Aug 25, 2015 at 22:41
  • 3
    You're right. Those are acceptable things that I just didn't list. I haven't looked into the anxiety vests, because I've never had an anxious dog. I really don't like the advertisement's where they bill them as being like giving your dog a reassuring hug, because people and dogs aren't mentally build the same and while the would be reassuring to a child, it's reinforcing a fearful behavior. If that's just poor advertising and it works on some other level, then that's fine with me.
    – Dalton
    Aug 26, 2015 at 15:47
  • I think dogs at hand and whether it's moral or not, shouldn't wear clothes. I've seen dogs blood circulation cut off from the underwear they wear was preventing any motion from their back/hind legs. Yes, I've had neighbors who feel like their dogs are their children and some I've seen in my life time had over 45 puppies all wearing clothes, ASPCA had to come and remove most of them away leaving very few for my neighbor. I also think clothing for dogs stresses them out, physically and mentally. Aug 26, 2015 at 17:35
  • I agree with this answer, it's great. We have a coat for our long haired dog because he gets rather frustrated when his ruff gets wet on long walks. Certainly I would never put a dog in an item of clothing that was never purposely designed for a dog to wear (and I agree with OP that dressing up animals is a bit ridiculous on all accounts) but not all dogs will find it uncomfortable or irritating if they have a chilled nature. Our old mongrel wore tinsel for fun most Christmas' but if she pulled it off, it fell off or she seemed itched by it we took it off, usually it was on enough for a photo
    – Aravona
    Sep 1, 2015 at 13:36

I don't think clothing is bad on itself, it's more the intent behind the clothing. Right now it's pretty cold in my house, and my 15 lb (6.8 kg) Yorkshire Terrier mix has a sweater on, because he has pretty short hair.

I enjoy dressing him, he's adorable, but I am clear that he's a dog, not a baby nor a child, but a dog. he needs walks, he needs to roughhouse with his larger brothers, who by the way don't have sweaters on. He's a dog!

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