Does your dog need a coat? Probably not
The RSPCA has gone so far as to compare the practice to leaving dogs in cars during hot weather, and says it may consider prosecuting those who are putting their dogs at risk.
Some experts say that, except for small, short-haired and hairless breeds, clothing is unnecessary and interferes with a dog’s ability to regulate its own temperature, the London Telegraph reported over the weekend.
And a few question the growth of “canine couture” – dressing dogs in “fashionable” clothing – saying it is demeaning to the animals and could even encourage bad behaviour.
“There are very few occasions when an animal needs a coat, even in the recent cold weather, Mark Johnston, from the British Small Animal Veterinary Association, told the Telegraph.
“Dogs have developed a very effective coat of their own, which will protect them from the elements. It is adjustable so they can raise the fur to control their temperature. Dressing them in a coat diminishes the animal’s ability to regulate their own body temperature and could be detrimental if the animal gets too hot.
“Too high a temperature is more of a risk to the dog’s health than too low a temperature. Clothing could also rub and cause sores and if the animal is wearing it for a long time, it could cause skin conditions. Fashion-wise, coats are pointless for dogs.”
Helen Briggs, a spokeswoman from the RSPCA, added: “Under the Animal Welfare Act, you are obliged to provide appropriate conditions and environments for your dog. So if you are slapping a great big coat on it when it really doesn’t need it, then that could cause it to suffer if it is overheating.”
Beverley Cuddy, editor of Dogs Today, said: “People fall in love with these items of clothing when they see them in the pet shop and don’t think about why their dog is going to wear it.
“It seems to bring the little girl out in owners. They are often the people who used to like dressing up dolls. Some dogs do enjoy the attention but there are others that look really embarrassed. The outfits can be ridiculous. The dog definitely knows if you are laughing at it and I don’t think it is terribly pleasant.”
(Photo from Mommasbabies.com)