Have you ever seen someone walking their dog down the street, but the poor little thing is wearing a hot pink sweater? This could be more beneficial than you think.

According to a BBC article from 2012, the pet clothing business is growing. Now, living in Winnipeg I know what cold feels like. My toes freeze from a quick walk to the bus stop, and I’m wearing large boots. I can’t image how my dogs bare feet must feel on the frozen ground.

Now, a little step into the dog clothing world could be dog booties. Besides the obvious benefit of keeping your dogs paws warm, booties can actually protect them from other dangers. Keeping their paws warm is just plain considerate, as well as helping them stay outside longer for more exercise. This stops your pet from gaining too much weight over the winter. Homes Alive Pets say that boots also keep your pet’s paws safe from the chemicals that come from the salt people lay on the ground to get rid of ice. Sure, people can buy pet-friendly salt, but I’m sure many people would prefer to keep their pets away from salt period, no matter the label.

Delving a little further into it, you can buy your pet clothing at Walmart. These clothes range from plain sweaters to custom football jerseys. You can even buy washable doggie diapers (cute) in multiple colours.

My one dog, Maggie, she has a moderate coat, but my other dog Bella has a very thin coat. I try to walk both of them as much as the weather permits in the winter, but it’s hard for them to be outside when the weather is harsh. They both tend to lift their dainty paws and give me a look as to say “mom… please… take us inside.” On days when the winter weather is mild I put them in a jacket. It’s more of a vest actually, but it works well to keep them warm. The jacket I use is like this one, available at PetSmart. I have tried to put them in booties but they (for some strange reason) forget how to walk as soon as I put them on them, so we go without those. The jackets work really well at helping them play outside without freezing. The sides have pockets in them, and I like to put water bottles on either side of Maggie for some resistance. She gets a little work out in, and I can give her a drink when were out at the dog park. I don’t put them in Bella’s jacket because her joints aren’t as strong, and she is four years older than Maggie.

Some people think that clothing for animals is indulgent and excessive, but others see it as practical. I personally understand that a frilly dress for your Shih Tzu is not essential to their survival, but I also understand that it’s fun for you to dress them. I say if its not hurting to bothering the dog, go for it. If your pet cries, barks, and physically protests the clothing, don’t make them wear it. If it restricts their breathing or movement, don’t make them wear it. How would you feel if you had to wear a pair of jeans that was two sizes too small all day? Remember when your parents used to dress you in clothes you hated? Don’t do that to your dog.

There are examples of people using clothing as comfort for their pets Grace Helbig puts t-shirts on her dog Goose. Goose suffers from anxiety, and the feeling of the t-shirt on her body calms her down. Here’s a video of her dressing her up in a yoga outfit so they can do yoga together (so cute).

So, I think there is a valid argument for putting clothing on dogs, what do you think?