We know what you’re thinking: Does a Dog Really Need a Second Coat?
In some cases, yes— frail dogs, old ones, skinny, sick, tiny — all can get cold. But your standard Labrador retriever, the one who can’t pass a puddle without treating it like his own personal playground? In that case, maybe the coat’s more for you, not him. But that’s nothing new. We’ve humanized our dogs, and our pets in general, to create a multimillion dollar industry. Total U.S. pet industry expenditures were $66.75 million in 2016, according to the American Pet Products Association. That is expected to grow to $69.36 million in 2017.
Once the territory of the very rich or the very weird, it’s common now to see dogs sporting sweaters and coats. And Halloween — don’t get us started. A 2014 APPA survey of consumers showed one-third of all dog owners have purchased clothing for their dog, up from 26 percent in 2012.
To try to get a handle on our dog fashion fetish, we turned to … Canada. That’s the home of RC Pet Products, manufacturer of dog outerwear and accessories sold in pet stores in the U.S. and Canada. The B.C. company is familiar with the understated nature of dog owners here in the North Sound, where dressing your dog in style means being practical — unless it’s Halloween, and you can’t resist that muscled Superman outfit for your miniature Schnauzer.
RC Pet Products manufactures clothing to keep your pooch warm — and, let’s face it, to look cute too. But there’s another practicality: water repellency, said Kasumi Forth, RC Pet’s technical design manager. “It rains so much, we want to (help so) when he comes back inside he’s not soaking wet.” Or muddy. That’s what dog booties are mostly for, unless your dog is training for the Iditarod.
Forth said RC Pet makes their dog wear with the samegrade fabric as people wear. When it comes to product research, the company looks to two-legged consumers by attending outdoor retailer shows, populated by familiar names like North Face, Patagonia, REI and MEC, to see what’s trending. So, while your dog might not need a second coat, admit it: You might need him to have one.