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A Fetching Fit

Some people think the idea of putting a coat on a dog is silly, or even demeaning to the dog. If you’re worried about this, don’t ridicule your dog once you’ve dressed it up.

By Jes Abeita , in Dog Days in Vancouver , on March 17, 2010 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

There are few things more pathetic than a shivering, wet Chihuahua taking a winter walk in Vancouver. The city can be a cold, damp place for a short-haired dog.

For the dog-owners of Vancouver, buying a coat for their canine companion can be an ordeal. I recently broke down and started looking for some foul-weather gear for my own dog, Brin.

Brin models a fuzzy hooded parka.

Some people think the idea of putting a coat on a dog is silly, or even demeaning to the dog. If you’re worried about this, don’t ridicule your dog once you’ve dressed it up.

First, the type of coat needs to be decided. There are many different types of coats, sweaters and raincoats you could put on your dog. Why do you want to put clothes your dog? What qualities should you look for in a garment? In Vancouver, rain-resistance is a plus for my little dog.

Brin ,wearing a sturdy raincoat.

Choosing the style of dog clothing is generally easier than figuring out your dog’s size.

Sizing can get tricky. Helen Song, owner of Wagababa, a pet-supply store near the Stadium/Chinatown Skytrain Station in Vancouver BC, says sizes can vary wildly from one company to another.

How many times have you wanted an excuse to measure your dog’s topline? I know, me too, here’s our chance.

Get a measuring tape. Get your dog.

  • Measure from the collar, at the back of your dog’s head, to where the tail starts. Write that number down.
  • Next, measure the girth. Put the tape around the widest part of your dog’s belly like a belt. Write that number down too.
  • Last, measure around your dog’s neck, where the collar goes. Write that next to the other two numbers.

Those three numbers are what most dog clothing companies use to determine sizes.

Many pet stores will let you bring your dog in to try on a coat before buying it, or let you return it if it doesn’t fit. Ask before you bring your dog in or take a coat home to find out what their policies are.

Brin swears he can run faster and jump higher with this Superman coat.

Song says there are a few things to look for while shopping “mobility around the armpits and neck is important, as well as [checking] stitching for durability.” She added, “for boys – underbelly clearance is something to watch for.” If a coat covers too much of the belly on a boy dog, they will likely pee all over it. Ick.

So, armed with this knowledge, Brin and I headed out, so he could try some stuff on.

Brin could care less how practical this coat is.

We’re still making up our minds. I like the dayglow yellow coat. It’s warm, waterproof and high-visibility. It is also quiet spendy, about $80. The Superman coat is also pretty nice, water resistant and locally-made.  I think Brin’s leaning toward the camouflage puffy vest, cause it looks cool. He doesn’t have thumbs or his own bus pass, so I have no idea how he plans on buying it, even if he had money.

Capitalism's bringing him down.