Canine Clothing a History of Dog Clothes and Travel Needs – Part III
In Part I of this series we discussed the history of canine fashion and in part II we discussed whether it was cruel to clothe canines purely for adornment, or at the very least with fashion in mind. We also touched on clothing canines based on a need to maintain good health, prevent illness, discomfort or injury.
It is with a focus on wellbeing that we approach Part III of this series as we tackle canine clothing with travel in mind. This is a “travel with small dog” blog after all! Our hope is to assist those possibly planning to journey to climates with more extreme weather conditions.
Many dogs are exported all over the world and uprooted from their original climate at a faster rate than evolutions ability to assist. While looking at dogs from a global perspective, we noticed that there are in fact four distinct different dog categories with regard to their type of coat. The coat is really the number one indicator of weather sensitivities.
For example some dogs should absolutely not wear coats or sweaters in the colder months for it impedes their own ability to cope by stopping the growth of their winter coat. Labrador retrievers fall into this category. Let’s face it there is a staggering difference between a Siberia Husky and a Chinese Crested! Let us share with you what we discovered so that you may be better equipped to decide what your breed of dog may or may not need (versus what you do for enjoyment!). So let us take a look at the four types of coats and consider where canine clothing may benefit:
Each and every dog has sensitive lungs and kidneys and it is important to make sure that those areas don’t become cold or wet for long periods of time. This can lead to lung and kidney ailments like pneumonia and infections. If a dog is ill and has a known condition (ex: arthritis) there may also be an extra need for protection from the elements when they perhaps did not require it before.
Boots are an often-overlooked item especially for dogs designed for the cold. The city is not a natural environment and has many pollutants on the ground. Even if the cold and salt do not bother a particular breed of dog – please consider that many canines have been known to get cancer from licking the salt and de-icing chemicals off their paws. In addition in the summer, hot cement and asphalt are often far hotter than soil and as such have been known to give severe burns to sensitive paws. Look at your environment and help your dog adapt.
Disclaimer: The following list is based on a Chihuahua’s needs (single coat). Please note that depending on your dog’s breed you will need to adapt or omit certain items. This list is designed as a guide only.
- Sun guard – to protect from the sun if going to a place where shade may be difficult to come by.
- A lightweight harness – many harnesses are made of heavy fabric – or leather that does not breathe well. These become like wearing a sweater on a hot day. Harnesses and not collars are recommended for small breeds
- Doggles – protect eyes on the beach from sun and sand. Blue eye dogs are prone to severe eye issues from over exposure to sun -especially near water when sailing or on the beach.
- Cooling vest – this helps regulate body temperature when air conditioning is not available (alternatively a cooling pad is useful for very large dogs).
- Mesh carrier or lightweight sling: This is the toughest part of a warm climate trip. Carriers that breathe and do not act like a sauna are hard to find. Look for one that is made of a lightweight fabric and an open concept with a mesh-closing flap for allowing air circulation. For slings make sure there is no fur lining and that the fabric does not retain/absorb heat and lets the breeze through. Black or any dark colors (like chocolate brown) are not good options.
- Snowsuit – For extreme cold days and activities like snowshoeing
- Wind/Rain breaker (spring) – sweaters get soggy and do not protect from the wind many dogs catch pneumonia from soggy sweaters (if you must go with a sweater make sure it is wool)
- Boots – Pawz (look like balloons) are a great choice for keeping salt off paw pads in wintery cities
- Coats – Some may also be fashion statements but still serve their purpose of keeping warm. Choose one that is appropriate for the climate. Coats range from light weight to fur and thermal linings
- Wool sweaters – Wool retains heat when wet. Why own more than one? This allows you to wash one and not have to wait for it to dry to go out again. A second dry sweater to change into on the ride home is a good idea after a long walk in the rain or snow
- Insulated or lined carrier bag/sling: Sometimes even if out in the right clothing you just get cold no matter what; this is when the right carrier is important. The sling is used for activities such as snowshoeing and anything that is hands free for the bipeds. The bag is more for the city. Black and other dark colors are a great choice since these colors retain heat. You may also use a warm blanket to line an existing carrier.
- Hand warmer – (available at most pharmacies) this acts as a heat source and promotes a faster increase in warmth inside the sling or bag.
With that we conclude our three part series on canine clothing in the hopes you found it useful and informative. In time we will certainly revisit this controversial subject but for now we simply invite you to view the Montecristo Fashion Files for ideas, brands we use and have come to love, or just for your pleasure. If you have questions please… Just ask and/or leave a comment here!