Many pet owners feel like their dogs are people too, which in part explains why the phenomenon of dressing our pets up has become increasingly popular over the years. In 2015, an astounding $350 million was spent on Halloween pet costumes alone. The pet apparel industry has become so huge, that even high-end designers like Ralph Lauren, Vivienne Westwood and Juicy Couture have gotten in on the action. While dogs no doubt look adorable in their tee-shirts, jerseys, coats and even tuxedos, a recent study suggests that this dress-up may not be as harmless as we have been led to believe.
Dog clothing is causing a rise in skin complaints, according to vets, because the materials rub against the skin of the animals. The most common ailment this causes is atopic dermatitis, a skin condition that can be triggered by allergic reactions. Dr. Andrew Francis, chief operations officer at veterinary advice service Pawsquad, says, “Owners should be mindful that sometimes putting their dogs in clothing can cause skin damage, as the added materials can irritate a dog’s skin.”
While it is hard to tell exactly which materials might cause the irritation, there are certain breeds that seem to be more susceptible to issues. As much as 70 percent of vets and veterinary nurses identified the West Highland White Terrier as the breed most at risk of contracting skin conditions, followed by Shar Peis, Labradors, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Boxers. Some dogs also just flat out don’t like wearing the clothes, and being forced to do so can cause them stress, possibly leading to adverse effects on their health. (RELATED: Get more news like this at Toxins.news)
While most dogs do not have a natural need for clothes, vets do find that shorter-haired breeds, senior dogs, puppies and dogs with medical conditions may benefit from a coat or sweater in cold weather to help retain heat. If owners are unsure if pet clothing is safe for their particular breed, they should seek advice from their veterinarian. Should the vet agree with the need for clothing, the owner should seek pet apparel that adequately covers the neck and belly, and also allows for neck-to-tail protection. Also, remember that just because a piece of clothing looks warm does not mean it is actually warm. Owners should choose clothing and brands that are weather resistant or that contain a polar-fleece lining.
This may seem like a concern for a handful of people, but it extends far beyond the Paris Hiltons of the world. Direct Line Pet Insurance partnered with K9 Magazine, a lifestyle magazine featuring a wide range of dog ownership topics, to conduct a survey of its readers. They discovered that of the 1,318 people who responded to the survey, 81 percent admitted to having a coat for their dog.