No matter what kind of clothing or costume you buy for your dog, or how much money you spend, it won’t look good unless you buy the right size. But how are you supposed to know your dog’s size? Especially when it comes to a costume? Afterall, if you’re buying a hotdog costume for your dog, who knows what size hotdog will fit your dog, right?


Measuring Your Dog

No matter what kind of clothes or costume you are thinking of buying, you usually need the same basic measurements from of your dog: the neck, chest, ribcage, and body length. The easiest way to measure your dog is with a measuring tape – the same kind that dressmakers use. You can find them at the drugstore or sometimes in the grocery store with the sewing things. If you don’t have a measuring tape you can also use a tape measure such as you would use for measuring a home project. As a last resort you can take a piece of string and use it to get your dog’s measurements and then use a ruler to measure the string.

You should allow plenty of space around the neck so the clothes or costume won’t be too tight. Then measure the other areas. Measure the chest from side to side at the wides points. Measure your dog’s ribcage just behind the elbows. To measure your dog’s body length you can measure from the back of your dog’s neck, where the neck joins the back, to the root of the tail – where the tail rises up from the body.

Buy Larger When In Doubt

Once you have all the measurements you can compare them with the sizes available for the clothing or costume you are considering. If there is any conflict in the measurements, you should always choose a larger size. For example, if your dog’s chest and body length suggest he should have a medium size costume, but his neck is larger, you should get the larger sized costume. If the clothes or costume are too small for your dog in any way, he may rip them or tear them either accidentally or by trying to make himself more comfortable. Always go larger if you have any doubts.

You should also keep in mind that it’s possible some clothes and costumes can shrink a little when you wash them. It can also be hard to predict how some clothes and costumes are cut or made. If your dog is borderline between small and medium or medium and large, getting the larger size will give him plenty of room in case the outfit runs small. You can always take the outfit in a little if necessary.


When it comes to accessories like bows, hats, and other things, you can usually rely on the sizes given. Most of these items fit directly on your dog so there is less variation in how they are made for dogs.

If you’re buying a costume for your dog that is made of a stretch material, then it’s not as important to get bigger sizes since the costume is more forgiving. However, you should always keep your dog’s comfort in mind. Don’t try to wedge him into a tight costume or he’ll be uncomfortable.


Dogs often don’t appreciate masks and other accessories that go over their faces, even when they fit well, so if you need your dog to wear a mask for a photo, it’s a good idea to get the picture snapped quickly and then do away with the mask or face gear if your dog doesn’t like it.

Buy Early

Clothes for dogs can be found online and in pet stores. Costumes tend to be more seasonal, especially for holidays like Halloween. If you’re planning to have your dog wear a Halloween or other costume, it’s a good idea to buy the costume ahead of time and let your dog try it on so you can make sure it fits properly.

Tips On Choosing Clothes for Your Dog

Dogs wear clothing for different reasons.  Some dogs need clothing such as sweaters or rain gear for functionality.  Toy breeds can become cold and need to wear extra cover to stay warm, or dogs might need  protection from the rain when you are walking them.  Other owners like to dress up their dogs for special occasions such as Halloween.  And some owners just like to have their dogs wear clothing because the dogs look cute and it’s fun.


There are lots of great outfits and costumes for dogs to wear.  You can usually find dog clothing available for sale in pet stores, from vendors online who sell dog supplies, and from some stores who specialize in selling dog clothing.


Tips for choosing your dog’s clothes

If you want to choose clothes for your dog, aside from the purpose of the clothes and your preferences about style, the most important consideration is getting the right size.  To get the right size clothes for you dog you will need to measure his length from neck to the base of the tail; his neck; and his chest circumference around his ribs (girth).  If you know these measurements you will be able to figure out the right size to get, no matter how the clothes are sized.


Your dog’s breed or weight measurements cannot give you enough detailed information to choose clothes, so knowing your dog’s actual measurements is always preferred.  Many dogs clothes come with the measurements of the clothes included so you should be able to tell if the clothes will fit your dog.


When choosing your dog’s clothes, the length is usually the most important measurement.  You will usually want the clothing to reach all the way to the base of your dog’s tail if you are selecting a sweater, coat, or dress for your dog.  If you are choosing a shirt, tee, or tank top, these items usually stop 2-3 inches before reaching the base of the tail for a proper fit.


If your dog’s measurements are between sizes, it’s generally best to choose a larger size.  This will give him more room inside the clothing and, if he should gain any weight, the clothes will still fit.  Some clothes can also shrink in the wash, especially if they are cotton.


When measuring your dog it’s best to use a fabric tape measure.  This is the same kind of tape measure a seamstress would use for measuring a person.  It is much easier to take your dog’s measurements with a fabric tape measure.  You can buy one at a hobby store or a fabric shop.  If you don’t have a fabric tape measure, you can use a piece of string or yard and measure it against a ruler.


Other tips

Most dogs don’t like clothes that are too confining or which have a lot of appendages or attachments.  This is particularly true of dogs who don’t wear clothing very often.  If you are choosing a Halloween costume for your dog, beware of costumes that have wings or other parts that flutter or flap.  They could frighten your dog or rip off.


And, of course, you should never allow your dog to chew on his clothing or accessories.  Keep a careful eye on your dog when he is wearing dog clothes, especially if the clothes have buttons, bows, hats, or other accessories that your dog might be tempted to eat.



Dogs can look incredibly cute when they wear dog clothes, and some dogs definitely need to wear clothes for practical reasons.  Keep these tips in mind and your dog’s clothes will always fit and look great.


Article by Nancy Cope – owner of the online dog boutique where you can find all kinds of gifts for your pampered pup including designer dog apparel, bath and grooming supplies, gift baskets, toys, jewelry, gourmet treats and much more.

When winter comes some dogs may need to wear a jacket. Some people find it ridiculous to put clothing on a dog but the fact is there are some dogs that need to wear dog apparel. If a dog is small, older, sick, or has thin fur a doggie coat or sweater may be needed during the colder months to make sure that they are able to stay warm.

Humans usually do not go out in the winter months without a coat, jacket, or sweatshirt on because they do not want to get cold. Dogs do not have the option of being warm unless their owners take the time to keep them warm. There is dog apparel available at very reasonable prices. While not all owners will spend $100 on a dog coat for the Chihuahua there are some that will. There is no need to spend that much money though.

There is a lot of great dog apparel that can be found at pet supply shops and even super centers. The apparel serves the same purpose as the more expensive brands but costs a fraction of the price.

When choosing dog apparel it is important for someone to know the approximate size of their dog. They will need to know the length of their body, the size of their rib cage, and perhaps their weight. The staff at any of the pet supply store will be able to aid in the process of dog apparel selection. There are times when a dog has too large of arms or neck for the holes provided in the apparel and the merchandise will need to be returned.

Someone should make sure to find out the return policy on dog apparel from the store which they are purchasing to make sure that they can return the item if it does not fit properly.  Many stores will allow someone to have thirty days for a return