by Staff Writer
Dog owners have been outfitting their pets with colorful fashions for years. Pet retailers offer a variety of pet apparel, much of which has practical uses in addition to fashion appeal. For instance, dog clothes can help dogs stay warm in cool weather, protect them from outdoor allergens, or shield their skin from sunburn. Measuring a dog for a new T-shirt, sweater, or baseball cap is simple and takes only a few minutes.
Groom your dog before measuring. Remove the dog's collar and use a brush to smooth the fur around his neck. Brush the dog's back from the shoulders to the base of the tail. Smoothing all of the fur allows for an accurate measurement.
Measure the dog's back. Have the dog stand for the measurement. Hold the end of a tape measure at the base of the dog's neck on the top of her back. Start approximately where the collar would fit. Pull the tape measure to the base of the tail. Record the measurement. This length is the measurement size for many brands of dog T-shirts, sweaters, and other full-coverage dog clothes.
Adjust the measurement. Shorten the collar-to-tail length measurement for male dogs. Male-dog clothes that do not have a cutout for the belly and groin area will need a shorter length measurement. This will reduce the chances of the male dog urinating on the underside of the clothes.
Measure your pet for a hat. When you're shopping for dog caps, compare your dog's measurement with the diameter measurement of the cap. Some caps have an elastic adjustment band to make fitting simpler. To figure out what your dog's hat measurement is, hold the tape measure on top of the dog's head. Start by measuring from the base of one ear and then move up and over the head to the base of the second ear.
Choose a new dog collar. Measure for a new dog collar with a piece of non-elastic string. Place the string around the dog's neck. Hold the two ends of the string together. Place two fingers of one hand under the string, so it's not tight on the dog's neck. Use scissors to trim the string. Measure the string and compare it with the collar measurements.
Select dog apparel made from a stretchy fabric. Cotton, spandex, and loosely woven sweaters offer a little extra space when being worn. These are more comfortable for the pet, last longer if the pet gains weight, and are easier to put on and take off of the dog.