The craze for dressing up dogs in fancy designer outfits is causing a rise in skin complaints, according to vets. While some may think they look cute wearing waistcoats, jumpers and t-shirts most dogs have no need of clothes. Yet a staggering 81% of pet owners have at least one outfit for their canine companion, while 3% have reflective outfits and 21% jumpers. That said, 16%
of owners go one step further and dress their dog up in t-shirts and 7% hats and shoes; not forgetting the 5% who dress their little darlings up dresses.

Most owners, in fact 78% say they dress up their pooch because they fear they may get wet. This fear, Vets say, is misplaced as dogs dry quickly and rain is unlikely to harm them. A further 53% say they want to keep their dogs warm, while one in ten say they do it because it looks nice, hence10%. While 7% of owners admit they dress their dog up because they see the animal as a fashion accessory.


Vets are warning that giving an additional coat to many dogs can be bad for their health. A survey by Direct Line Pet Insurance of 23 Vets asked about their concerns regarding canine clothing

The findings

One in three vets, 32% were concerned that dressing up puppies and dogs can cause rubbing against the skin. A further 27% said that the use of coats can cause stress, while 23% were concerned clothes could cause overheating.

The most common doggy complaint seen by Vets, according to the survey, is atopic dermatitis, a skin condition that can be triggered by allergic reactions. Otitis, an ear infection, and flea allergies were the next two most common complaints.

70% of Vets and Vet nurses identified the West Highland White Terrier as the breed most susceptible to skin conditions, followed by Shar-Peis and Labradors, both 35%; then Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Boxers, both 26%.

The most common forms of treatment for skin problems in dogs are antibiotics (28%), steroids/steroid creams (22%) and flea prevention, like spot on and collars (17%).

For dogs susceptible to allergies, having a de-humidifier can be helpful. Also, you can check the dog’s diet to ensure it is eating hypoallergenic foods, the report said.

Owners should be mindful that sometimes putting their dogs in clothing can cause skin damage, as the added materials can irritate a dog’s skin. Furthermore, skin disease is the most common reason for people seeking an online Vet consultation; while easily treated, it can cause problems if left for a long period of time.

If any owner is concerned their dog may be suffering from skin disease they should speak to a vet.