Not sure if, and when, it’s okay to dress up your pet? Here’s what to consider before getting your cat or canine their very own closet.

Consider the temperature

The most important reason you would have for dressing your cat or dog would be to keep them warm or keep them protected. This is why it’s crucial that you consider the climate you live in. 

Mzansi has several, ranging from subtropical to Mediterranean. This, combined with your pet’s coat (or lack thereof) will help to inform your dress-up decisions. 


In summer 

Most parts of SA experience some level of heat over the summer months. Unless it’s a quick costume for a photo, it’s best not to dress your pet for any length of time to avoid heatstroke. 

In the event that your furkid has an injury that needs to be kept covered, opt for a thin, t-shirt-style pullover. Keeping it damp with cold water will also help to keep your pet cool on hot days. 


In winter 

It’s during the winter months that some pets really need an extra layer for warmth. Our winters range from mild to below freezing, so you might need to invest in some warm jackets to keep them comfortable throughout the season.

Dogs and cats with shorter coats and lean breeds with less body fat tend to feel the cold more. Take their jerseys off at night and bundle them in blankets instead so that they don’t get too warm. 


Protect their paws

Depending on the season, the ground can be cold and slippery or scorching hot. If you need to take your pet outside at any temperature, invest in a pair of non-slip shoes, which are designed to fit their paws comfortably. They will take some getting used to, but it will ensure that their paws are always protected. 


Consider the practicality

If your pet doesn’t mind wearing the occasional silly outfit when you are having a dress-up do, go for it! But at the end of the day, when it comes to clothing your cats and dogs, it should be function over form. 

Animals showing signs of being cold, who have skin allergies or are elderly are good candidates for clothing, but they all need their outfits to be more comfy than trendy.

Is it comfortable? 

The main thing when it comes to your furkid’s wardrobe is that the items need to be comfortable. It’s a good idea to measure them before you buy to get the right fit. If they aren’t comfortable, they’ll let you know (usually by trying to bite it off!). 

Some pets might take a while to get used to getting dressed, even if it’s necessary. Use positive reinforcement to associate their jersey with a reward in the form of their favourite treats.


Is it complicated? 

When it comes to pet fashion, the simpler the better. And this goes for both you and your cat or canine. Items that are easy to put on make the process much less traumatic for nervous animals and owners alike. 

Simple, however, doesn’t have to mean boring. There are plenty of brands in the large local market that sell fuss-free garments with stylish designs so that your pet can look and feel good.


Your pet’s personality

Not all dogs and cats are going to feel comfortable when kitted out. Remove the item or refrain from putting it on if:

  • The jacket or costume is in any way restrictive.
  • Your pet is showing signs of fear or aggression.
  • The costume has pieces that could be chewed off and choked on.

Feature image: Getty



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