• Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

How to Measure a Dog for Clothes: 4 Key Tips


Jun 10, 2023
cute brown dog being measured by owner


cute brown dog being measured by owner

Let’s just face it, a dog dressed up in clothes is absolutely adorable no matter what size or breed they are. Clothing can also offer benefits for certain dogs, so it’s important to make sure you get the right measurements so that your dog is as comfy as can be.

Clothes that are too tight can limit circulation and cause a lot of discomfort, while clothes that are too loose could fall off, become tangled, or even trip them up a bit. But how exactly do you know how to get the correct measurements? That’s where we come in. Keep reading to learn the 4 key tips to measuring your four-legged pal for all sorts of clothes.


The 4 Key Tips for Measuring a Dog

1. Gather Your Supplies

The first step in measuring your dog for clothes isn’t too hard. You just need to grab a tape measure, your dog, and maybe even a partner to assist you in keeping your dog still as you take the measurements.

It’s also not a bad idea to have paper and a pen or your cell phone to note your measurements as you go. That way you don’t have to worry about forgetting the numbers and can have them for reference in the future.

When you are comparing measurements to a certain product and your dog is between sizes, always choose the larger size to ensure the best fit.

measuring tape
Image Credit: Siora Photography, Unsplash

2. Measure the Topline (Back)

Have your dog stand and use your tape measure to measure along the top of the spine from the base of the tail to the base of the neck. Start from the middle of the shoulder blades where the neck meets the body and run the tape down the spine to the dock of the tail.

Keep in mind that with male dogs, certain clothing items may not have a cut out for their boy parts, so you may have to shorten the length when shopping for certain clothes so that you can avoid him urinating on the outfit.

3. Measure Chest Girth

Measuring the girth requires you to measure around the widest part of your dog’s ribs right behind their front legs. You will want to take this measurement while they are standing and measure closely using the “two-finger rule” to make sure your two fingers can fit between your dog’s body and the tape.

Belly circumference is measured with a tape measure on a dog
Image Credit: Nehris, Shutterstock

4. Measure Neck Girth

Lastly, you will want to measure the girth of your dog’s neck, which is the circumference of the neck where the collar sits. You’ve likely already had to do this type of measurement to pick out the right sized collar.

You will need to make sure your dog’s head is straight, then place the measuring tape just below the larynx. Again, you will want to measure closely using the “two finger rule” to make sure you can slide your fingers between your dog’s neck and the measuring tape.

divider-dog paw

Top 4 Reasons For Putting Clothes on Dogs

Putting your dog in clothing may not be necessary in most cases, but there are a few reasons why dog owners may choose to dress up their pup in stylish getup. Let’s look.

1. To Keep Them Warm

When it comes to keeping warm, certain breeds are much more equipped to handle cold weather conditions than others. Breeds like the Chinese Crested, Chihuahua, Great Dane, Greyhound, Whippet, Boxer, and many other short-coated breeds can benefit from wearing extra insulation when it’s cold out.

Not only that, but breeds that are low to the ground like Dachshunds and Corgis can also benefit from clothing during snowy conditions as it can act as a barrier between their underbelly and the cold, snow covered ground. Additionally, elderly dogs and puppies are often more sensitive to the cold than adult dogs.

If you have any questions on whether it’s a good idea to try clothing to keep your four-legged best friend warm, reach out to your veterinarian to see what they think.

fawn french bulldog wearing clothes
Image Credit: Karsten Winegeart, Unsplash

2. To Ease Anxiety

Clothing can sometimes provide comfort and help ease anxiety for certain dogs. The snugness from tighter fitting clothes has shown to have a calming effect on anxious dogs, with a small study revealing that 89 percent of dog owners reported it to be at least partially effective in improving their dog’s behavior.

Thundershirt is the most popular brand, and is aimed at providing calm during fireworks, thunderstorms, travel, vet visits, separation anxiety and other stressful situations. This won’t work for every dog, so talking to your vet about your dog’s anxiousness is very important, but if you have an anxious pup, may consider clothing to see if it provides any relief.

3. For a Special Occasion

Whether it’s a holiday, family photo session, or any other special occasion worth celebrating, it may leave you wanting to dress your dog up with the rest of the family. You should always make sure your dog is comfortable in its clothing and that it doesn’t cause them any undue stress or discomfort.

dog wearing costume at st patricks day
Image Credit: s8, Shutterstock

4. To Protect the Skin

In cases where your dog is suffering from a bothersome skin condition, allergies, infection, or has an injury or surgical incision that needs healing, using clothing is one way to help protect the skin from further irritation and your dog’s pesky tongue.

It’s very important to talk to your veterinarian if your dog has any sort of irritation or injury and follow their treatment protocol and instructions thoroughly. Always ask to make sure clothing is something they would recommend in each case.

5. For Fun

Let’s face it, getting all dressed up can be quite a bit of fun and even more so when you get to dress up your adorable canine companion. You don’t have to have a reason to throw some clothes on your dog, you should just make sure they fit properly and are comfortable for your pooch.

pomeranian dog wearing a red shirt
Image Credit: Katiekk, Shutterstock



Measuring your dog for clothes is important for finding the perfect fit for your pup. All you need is your dog, your measuring tape, and maybe someone to help keep them in place while you get their measurements. Always make sure the clothing fits properly and your dog is comfortable while wearing them.

Featured Image Credit: SvetikovaV, Shutterstock

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