Perhaps you're mystified by the pet-dressing trend that is sweeping the nation, and even parts of the world. Even my own daughter questions the validity of clothing animals when they already have fur and there are needy children in the world that don't have much. But attitudes are changing towards pets and how we treat them. They are increasingly viewed as family members and people are confirming this with their spending habits.
Animals have been dressed for marketing purposes, for entertainment, and to designate the animal as having a special function such as a service animal. Historically, animals have been illustrated wearing clothes in fairy tales, in art, and frequently to make a political statement.
In the last century, animals were often illustrated wearing clothing in childrens' books and for cards, so there is a sense of nostalgia planted in our childhood hearts. Beatrix Potter's Benjamin Bunny and Alice in Wonderland had many dressed animal characters. More recently, Richard Scarry's books and videos featuring anthropomorphic animals were very popular. For more information on this topic, see Dressing Up Pets is Nothing New.
This oil painting from 1885 by William Holbrook Beard combined satire and humor.
Some pets are hairless or very short haired and do best with a layer of clothing to protect them from the elements such as sun, cold, wind and even air conditioning. Even long-haired dogs appreciate a poncho for protection from the rain, or a snowsuit to keep snowballs from forming on their undersides. Working dogs need extra visibility for their handlers when working in difficult conditions so a safety vest or other clothing item with reflective materials can make them easier to see. Boots can prevent foot pad burns and injuries from sharp objects. Our non-slip house socks are a lifesaver for dogs with hip dysplasia on slippery wood or tile floors.
Hairless cats and dogs appreciate having a layer of warmth. Clothing also protects furniture and bedding from their oily residue they sometimes leave behind.
Another practical consideration for pets wearing clothing is to minimize shedding. Lots of people who enjoy sleeping with their pets prefer to have their pets in pajamas to keep pet hair to a minimum. Some facilities that allow service animals to visit require pets to wear clothing for health reasons to keep dander and shedding down for health-compromised patients.
Aside from practical reasons, sometimes it's just plain fun to dress our pets. But is it fun for Fido and Fifi? Every animal is different. Your pet will let you know if they hate wearing clothes and accessories. Many times, pets actually enjoy being dressed up because they associate it with positive attention. They just know they look good! We have customers who report that their dogs will actually wait by their drawer to get dressed every day because they enjoy the attention so much!
Featured photo is Zeus from Ontario, Toronto, submitted by customer Carmen.
Frank, the hairless cat is from Mapleton, Utah. Photo submitted by customer Laurie.