Outerwear for your furry friends

Pets / November 15, 2016

Whether trying to keep man’s best friend cozy during cold temperatures or keeping them dry during downpours, dog owners have several options for outerwear to provide that extra bit of comfort.

When considering the purchase of dog outerwear, Lisa Clem, owner of Barkarkansas, suggests bringing along the dog to make the selection and purchasing process easier. For pet owners who are not able to bring their dog into a store to get properly fitted, Clem recommends measuring the dog prior to visiting the store.

“Measure the chest, neck and their length. Measure the chest from behind the front legs and completely around. The length is from the collar to the start of the tail. The neck measurement is the measurement of their collar,” Clem said.

Due to the variety of outerwear, from windbreaker-type material to sweaters, dog owners should consider why they want outerwear for
the dog and how much will it be used. For just taking a dog out on a walk in cold weather or in the rain, Clem suggests a windbreaker-type jacket.

“When it is raining we can wipe them down to dry them off, but they are still a little wet,” Clem said.

Windbreaker-type jackets help keep dogs drier on rainy days instead of the continued dampness they may have even after drying them off with a towel. Not only are sweaters great for warmth, but, in long intervals of usage, they fit more comfortably on dogs. When selecting a sweater for a dog to wear outside, consider the type of harness the dog normally wears outside. Some sweaters don’t have places to hook a leash through.

“If you know your dog doesn’t like stuff pulled over their head and arms put through slots, get something that can be laid over top of them and secured with Velcro. What is more conventional for your dog? Some don’t mind something going over their head, but some do,” Clem said.

Clem warns that Velcro might catch on the hair of certain breeds that have a lot of hair.

Also, keep in mind the brand and price. As in most purchases, those two factors will determine the quality of the product and how long pet owners can anticipate their furry friends will be able to wear it. Also, with brands, watch out for sizing. Just like human clothing, sizing varies for each brand. A size small in one brand could be a medium in another.

“Some brands are narrow chested.”

Clem sticks with the motto, “You get what you pay for.” With cheaper sweaters, Clem says the weaving of the material is “airier,” meaning more gaps. A brand Clem stands by and sells is Chilly Dog which is made of organic wool and is colored not with chemicals, but with natural plant and fruit dyes. The product is handmade in the Northern Highlands of South America and is a fair trade item.

“I had a customer with a white dog come in and had a red sweater (a Chilly Dog sweater) on that looked great. I asked her when she got it and she told me it was last year’s sweater. It kept the color really well and she said she washes it on delicate,” Clem said.

All dogs pictured are for adoption through The Humane Society of Garland County, 1249 Ault Loop, Lonsdale, 501-623-5012.

Dog outerware provided by Barkarkansas, 4055 Highway 7 north suite B, and Pickle’s Pet Pourri, 330 Central Ave.

Meet the dogs:

• Sadie, pictured in the cheetah print coat, is a 1-year-old Terrier mix and is crate trained.

• Andy, pictured in the yellow raincoat, is a 1-and-a-half-year-old Australian Shepherd and Labrador retriever mix. He is house broken.

• Tessa, pictured in the pink sweater, is a 1-year-old Beagle mix. She is house trained.

• Dora, pictured in the red coat, is a 1-and-a-half-year-old Heeler and Pit Bull mix. She is house trained and great with children and other dogs.

• Diogi, pictured in the black coat, is a 1-year-old three-legged Terrier mix.

Story by Colbie McCloud | Photography by Richard Rasmussen

Colbie McCloud

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