I don’t dress up my dogs. I cringe when I see Yorkies in tutus, Bostons look downright silly in skorts, and Salukis do not need scarves. Many of my friends dress their dogs in frills and I suppose that if the dog is not upset no harm done. But you’re not going to get me to like it.

Tutu for dogs?

I do love dog gear though and have a closet full of it – all different kinds of collars, leads and harnesses – in different materials, patterns, colors and styles. It may not make much of a difference to my dogs but they sure do like my attention when I fit them up with a new spiffy collar or harness. I just don’t like those dresses that mimic childrens clothes. Ok, I have German shepherd dogs and they would look silly in a skirt. I doubt though that little dogs relish being costumed as human infants or toddlers. Little dogs have big dog attitudes and I think they deserve dignity. They too are descended from wolves.

But I am a pragmatist. In certain situations Doggles can actually protect a dog’s eyes.

Military Working Dog with Doggles

Recently I wrote about dog boots. They protect dog feet from salt, chemicals, burning hot sidewalks and can provide traction. (Remember the 9-11 K9s? Some of them wore boots to protect their paws from injuries.) My dogs wear life jackets while on the water. And some dogs need to be kept warm and dry.

Many breeds of dogs are very thin coated or naturally lean and need coats in cold or wet climates. I think of greyhounds and their smaller versions – whippets and Italian greyhounds; Weimaraners; Vizslas; Chinese Cresteds and other hairless breeds; many shorthaired toy breeds and my Annie. Most dog folks would not think that a German shepherd dog would need a warm coat but my particular shepherd does. She is a long-haired, coated version of a German shepherd dog and lacks a wooly undercoat that serves to insulate the dog’s skin. Annie is also afflicted with Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency. Though stabilized, she is thin and lacks that layer of fat that insulates many dog breeds.

Annie is vulnerable to extreme cold. She also needs protection on those snowy, sleety, windy days that hover around freezing. Without an undercoat, her skin quickly gets wet and cold – and she could be in danger of hypothermia. On certain days, Annie needs a coat – one that provides some warmth and most importantly, one that blocks the wind and keeps her dry.

Annie all warm, dry and reflective

Fit is important too. Being a shepherd, Annie is longer than tall. Many dog jackets fail to cover her loin area. I like the jacket to reach just past the beginning of her tail.

Annie's coat is fleece lined and the collar turns down

Today is illustrative of the type of day when Annie needs to get dressed up. Before we set off on our long walk, Annie was fitted up with her boots, her elegant rain/sleet/snow coat and her reflective, Premier front attachment harness and lead.

The Canine Kingdom has a variety of well made and impressive looking clothing for all types of dogs and their particular needs.

Annie has dog aggression issues. While she is manageable for me, she can never be considered “safe and reliable” around strange dogs. I like the Premier front attached harness. It allows me to re-direct Annie’s attention when something – like a dog – enters her ‘comfort zone.’ I put the harness on right over her coat…it is reflective; a nice feature on cold dark days or nights, and it keeps the coat nicely in place.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Semper Fido,