The RSPCA in the UK has warned pet owners that using fancy dress clothing on your dog may not be safe, and could actually be considered abuse. This is something that has concerned a lot of responsible and ethical dog owners, who might previously have thought that they were simply having a bit of fun with their dog.
The truth is that chihuahua clothing can be perfectly safe, as long as it is bought carefully and used responsibly. The RSPCA is not putting a blanket ban on dog clothing – rather they want to make sure that dog owners are responsible with it, and that they don’t leave small dogs in overly tight clothing that restricts their freedom of movement or that could potentially cause a choking hazard. A well-made tuxedo is one thing – a fancy dress outfit with sequins or beads on it is another.
Chihuahua clothing ranges from the smart or cute to the outlandish and it’s often the outlandish that is questionable. It’s your responsibility as a dog owner to make sure that whatever you buy fits well and will not make your dog overheat or make it difficult for it to move around. If you’re putting your dog in a garment where it struggles to move or breathe, then you are being irresponsible and you should consider a different garment.
Some people like to use dog clothing not for longer term wear, but just for photo shoots or to take their dog out to a party for an afternoon. It’s important that you think about the safety of the dog – will it be able to relax in the garment. Is there anything on it that could cut or irritate the dog. Is the fit loose enough to allow freedom of breathing. We, as humans, may choose to “suffer for fashion”, cramming ourselves into tight corsets, skinny jeans or high heels. Dogs cannot consent to that sort of thing, and this means that there are some huge ethical questions around putting them into constrictive garments.
Most of the clothes sold by reputable retailers are comfortable and a good fit. After all, the people who design and make clothing for chihuahuas are dog owners themselves. So, if you’re thinking of buying something, look at the smaller brands. They’re enthusiastic about dogs because they love them and have one or more themselves. They may be breeders or passionate owners, and they are combining two passions to make a living.
Don’t forget that if you buy something for a growing dog, you should check the fit regularly. Young dogs can grow surprisingly quickly, and you will need to change the clothing from time to time. As fun as it is to have your dog dressed up, it’s always wise to take care of them and to put their comfort first. After all, how would you feel if someone made you wear a costume that you didn’t like, and that didn’t fit you very well either?
Don’t forget to check out our important information about no-bark collars.