You’ve seen it before, a cute and cuddly Labrador in a sweater. The picture elicits warm reactions in most people. However, when placing clothes on your lovable Lab, some care should be taken, and some considerations made. Not every type of clothing is for every type of dog – especially the typically larger breed of Labrador. Nor is every type of clothing suitable for every situation.
Here we will be examining the long-enduring fad of dressing our doggies – specifically Labradors – to see when we should (and shouldn’t) spruce them up, along with some extra tips to keep them happy all year-round.
The Ins and Outs of Labrador Clothes
Dressing up dogs has been a trend for quite a while. Some people think it’s a cute way to stylize our furry friends, while others think it’s cruel. But dressing up a dog goes a bit further than a simple fashion choice. There are other factors to consider, like the overall climate, how much body-heat the garments will retain, and your pet’s comfort. Let’s take a look at these in a bit more detail to get a clearer picture.
Climate and Heat
This is a really important aspect to consider when dressing up your Labrador. The current climate and heat can affect dogs in much the same way as it does humans. If the heat is too much, it can have very detrimental effects on the health of the dog, and in extreme cases, even risk their lives!
For the safety of your precious pooch, it’s a good idea to check the average climate temperature and the temperature of your Labrador itself. Keep in mind that Labrador Retrievers actually have two coats of fur. If you live in a relatively warm climate, it may be a bad idea to add a layer of clothing to the insulation your pet already has built-in.
In especially hot areas such as Arizona, a dog’s fur alone can be enough to cause heatstroke, even without clothing added to the equation. Be aware of common signs that your dog may already be uncomfortably hot, such as excessive water drinking or heavy panting. Obviously, the health and safety of your pet is the most important factor here.
Hyperthermia in dogs is just as severe as in people. If you spot the symptoms of overheating in your pet, it is recommended that you take steps to treat them immediately. This includes moving them to a cooler area and giving them water.
Avoid Restrictive Clothing
The same rules that apply to people apply for dogs as well. Restrictive clothing can not only be uncomfortable to wear, but can be dangerous for your Lab. Clothes that are too tight (especially around the neck and legs) can contribute to joint inflammation and even restrict blood and oxygen flow.
Also, be wary of clothes made of materials that the dog may be allergic to. Watch for signs of irritation, such as pawing, nipping, or biting at certain areas of skin. In addition to being quite unpleasant for the animal, certain dogs can turn violent if forced to wear uncomfortable clothing. Remember that sometimes what we think is cute, may actually feel like a straitjacket to our furry friend.
So When Should a Labrador Wear Clothing?
The most obvious answer to the question of when its okay for a Labrador to wear clothes is, when directed by a veterinarian. There are times when a vet may indicate the need for a protective flea vest or a special suit after certain injuries.
With that said, not all pet clothing is off-limits. An overheating Labrador is something to watch for in hot climates. In colder regions, it may be perfectly reasonable to consider a sweater for your pooch. Even with Lab’s double fur coat, it’s still possible for them to feel the sting of winter’s chill if the weather is sufficiently cold.
Believe it or not, the symptoms of hypothermia in dogs are remarkably similar to humans. Watch for signs of shivering, and slow or labored breathing, among other things. As with hyperthermia above, hypothermia is equally dangerous and can be fatal if left untreated. Immediate steps should be taken if you see your dog suffering any symptoms.
What Are the Best Labrador Clothes?
From what we have seen so far, you now have a fairly good idea of when it’s safe to dress your playful pal. And you’ve decided to go ahead and dress your dog with the latest trends and make them look their best. Naturally, you want to do it safely. Here are some tips to keep your Lab safe while showing off that awesome style.
It should go without saying that the wisest course of action is to discuss your intended clothing with your veterinary professional. They will be able to offer insight specific to your Labrador’s needs, along with any specific allergies.
Be Smart About That Sweater
As we’ve already said, use basic common sense about heat awareness. If it’s a hot summer day, you can be certain that your Lab doesn’t want to wear that sweater no matter how chic it is. Just like you wouldn’t want to sunbathe in a full winter coat with three layers.
Check the Looseness
Again, an important reminder is to check the looseness of whatever clothing you plan to have your pet wear. If it seems really tight and difficult to get on, then there’s a good chance that it’s too tight for your Lab. Keep in mind, this can really hurt them. If in doubt, check with your vet.
Sometimes Less is More (and better)
Simple is sometimes the way to go, and when it comes to Labrador clothes, this is one of those times. Rather than a full-on wardrobe, consider a scarf, or a light hat that won’t interfere with their ears. One simple piece of clothing can make all the difference. This can still be a fantastic fashion statement while being more comfortable for your lovable Lab than a complete outfit.
Conclusion: Do, but Don’t Overdo It
The takeaway here is that while it might be incredibly fun to dress-up our pals, we also need to consider their well-being and safety. With this info in-hand, you can stylize your four-legged sidekick and keep them happy and healthy at the same time.