For many pet owners, our dogs are our babies. Along with feeding, taking them out to use the bathroom, and scheduling veterinary appointments, our pups now have their own articles of clothing. Boots, jackets, and hats for their ears have all become an understandable part of a dog’s wardrobe, but what about dog pajamas?
Are pet pajamas simply a costume, a luxury item, or a necessity? What kind of dog would need its own bedtime outfit? Here are the basics of this doggy clothing, whether your pooch even needs one, and tips on finding the right dog PJ’s so you can keep your pup warm and comfy at bedtime.
Choose the Correct Size
Sizing is important for your dog in just about every situation, and it's crucial to get the right measurements before you buy any type of pet clothing. You’ll need to measure the full length of your dog’s body along with the size of their waist. You’ll need to tape the circumference of the neck and the width of your dog’s chest.
Most pet pajamas provide a little wiggle room, and have general sizes of small, medium and large that are determined from your pup’s body measurements. If you’re unsure though, check reviews on the brand you’re interested in to see if sizes run small.
After your dog has walked around in their pajamas for a few days, check underneath their armpits and around the neck where your pup will experience more friction. If you see any redness, hair loss, or your pup expresses clear discomfort, the PJs are too tight.
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What Kind of Dog Needs Pajamas?
While most dog breeds have a thick coat of fur to keep them warm, some need a little help to maintain their body heat during cold evenings. This usually pertains to smaller, short haired breeds like the Chihuahua and French Bulldog. Dogs who have naturally lower body fat percentages such as the Greyhound could also benefit from some extra cozy pajamas.
Dogs dealing with and recovering from a variety of illnesses may benefit from this clothing item as well. Both symptoms and treatment for ailments can take the energy out of the dog. They’re weaker, have less of an appetite which leads to weight loss and they lose their fur.
Pajamas for dogs are able to provide warmth and comfort for a pup that isn’t feeling well, and needs something to soothe their sensitive skin. Dogs who lack fur should wear a lighter set of PJ’s to protect them from sunburns and over-drying.
Dog Pajama Care
Like their blankets and cold weather sweaters, pajamas need the occasional washing. Most dog pajamas can go through a basic washing cycle with either warm or cool water. Use a detergent that has natural, basic ingredients, and never use bleach. It might seem like a good idea at first, but many dogs experience bad reactions to it.
While you can put your dog pajamas in a dryer, it's not recommended. There’s always the chance that they might shrink a little, and it could create static when placed against your dog’s fur.
You should consider getting solid colors as well; patterned dog pajamas contain different types of dyes that bleed out. If you’ve already bought them though, it's fine to let your pup wear them, but wash them first.
Test Out a Less Expensive Pair First
While it's true that you get what you pay for, you shouldn’t go out and purchase five pairs of pajamas right off the bat. Consider whether or not your pet is even going to tolerate them. Some dogs just enjoy going “naked,” and they won’t hesitate to rip off their pajamas and purposely destroy them just to give you a clear idea of how they feel about it.
Stick to Button-up or Slide-on Pajamas
Dogs aren’t big fans of the dreaded zipper. It's just too easy for skin and fur to get caught in the teeth. Buttons, snaps, and easy-release clothing items are also much safer if your pooch does get caught on a piece of furniture, or part of your backyard fence.
Wire cages are controversial as there have been tragic cases where dogs have hung themselves with their collars or clothing. If your pooch stays in a metal crate, don't put any clothes on your dog, pajamas or anything else. Instead, use fluffy, heat retaining blankets on one side of the kennel and a soft sheet on the other side, or simply place a self-warming bed there.
Your dog may move things around to their liking within the crate, but at least this way they can maintain their body temperature safely inside. Even if you have the large plastic kennel with full sides, your pup may still panic if they get stuck to the doorway and yank their collar or clothing too tightly.
Use Dog Pajamas Only in Cooler Weather
It's understandable for hairless, sick, and elderly dogs to use pajamas in the colder seasons, but you may reconsider it during the summer. If it's hot enough to where you need air conditioning, avoid using any type of dog clothing around the home.
Pajamas for Large Dogs
More often than not, smaller dogs are usually where you see cute clothes like pajamas being used on canines. Since the market is bigger in that area, it can be a little more difficult to find a suitable PJ brand for your American Staffordshire or German Shepherd.
A brand like Tooth and Honey has had great feedback from pet owners of large breeds. This company offers pajamas from 30 to 80 pounds; of course the fit can vary just based on the size of your dog’s chest and upper body, so be sure to take those measurements listed above, or look for alternative brands.