While many dog owners love to see their furkids dolled up in silly costumes, a stylish shirt or even a cute sweater, there are detractors who believe that dressing up your pooch will cause discomfort. “While dressing up your dog is not a necessity, it also won’t cause any harm to it if the right piece of clothing and size is chosen,” says Dr Lee Yan Yi from The Animal Ark Veterinary Group.

There will be times when pets wear clothes for medical purposes instead of aesthetic ones. As certain dogs may not fit into an Elizabethan collar due to size differences, a T-shirt that has been placed on them to cover a surgical wound on the belly also functions the same way as an E-collar would.

Slipping a T-shirt on a dog that’s suffering from skin problems like hair loss or hot spots can also help prevent it from scratching too much and worsening the skin’s condition.

When dressing up your furkids, ensure that they are comfortable in what they’re wearing and won’t overheat in Singapore’s muggy climate. “Heat stress is a concern if the clothing material is too thick.

On very hot days, it could obstruct the dog’s natural cooling mechanism,” explains Dr Kenneth Tong from Animal & Avian Veterinary Clinic. “Skin irritation and fur entanglement are also some other concerns.”

To ensure the right clothing size, Dr Lee says there should be two to three fingers’ space between the piece of clothing and your dog’s skin. “The material of your clothing choice is also an important consideration,” says Dr Lee.

“Soft cotton is easy on your dog’s skin and can be worn for extended periods, but rougher materials like neoprene should only be worn fora short amount of time.”

*This article was updated on 29 Jul 2020. It first appeared in PetsMagazine.com on 12 Oct 2016.