No two dogs are always the same size. Dog sizes can vary not only between a Chihuahua and a Labrador Retriever, but they can often vary within the same breed. And, regardless of whether you’ve been eyeing up a cute jacket to help keep your pup warm or are in need of a new harness, it’s important to know how to accurately measure your dog since there is no universal sizing chart for dogs.
While you generally could order a small for a Chihuahua or a large for a Labrador Retriever, double checking the exact measurements will help to keep your dog from slipping loose out of his harness or avoid trying to squeeze your dog into a shirt that’s just too tight. With so many various dog brands on the market, sizing often varies.
Measuring your dog is actually easier than you may think. To get the best and most accurate measurement, you’ll want to pick up a tailor’s measuring tape, if you don’t already have one. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just soft enough that you can easily bend it to loop around your dog.
Another option if you don’t have a tailor’s measuring tape, but are pretty crafty and have some string or ribbon in the house and a ruler nearby, you can use that as well. Simply use the string or ribbon as you would the tailor’s tape, then measure the length against the ruler.
There are 3 main measurements you will want to measure: neck, chest and length.
Measure your dog’s neck at his widest point. Dogs have a sensitive trachea and having a collar or harness that is too tight around a dog’s delicate neck area could cause breathing difficulty or even worse, it could lead to a collapsed trachea.
This measurement is sometimes referred to a dog’s “girth” measurement. Again, you will want to measure around your dog’s widest point. The chest area is where your dog’s harness will lay. Too tight of a harness is like wearing pants that are a size too small. Not only do you want your dog to be safe, you want your dog to be comfortable as well.
To measure your dog’s length, start at the base of your dog’s neck and measure to the end of your dog’s tailbone (not the tail, just the tailbone).
If you have a long dog such as a dachshund or corgi, check around for specially made clothing, as most of the clothing sold in stores will likely be too short for your dog.
If you are ordering clothing or p.j.’s for your dog, you may also want to measure your dog’s legs.
Start in between your dog’s shoulder blades and measure down to the top of your dog’s paws. If you’d prefer to measure your dog’s back legs, begin at the center of your dog’s tailbone and measure to the top of your dog’s back paws.
Generally, you should omit at least ½ inch to allow ample space between the length of your dog’s clothing and the top of his paws to keep your dog from slipping while your dog is walking or running.
Obviously, if your dog is a puppy, you’ll need to remeasure him as he grows. If your dog is an adult, it’s a good idea to measure him twice a year: winter and summer. Dogs, like humans, tend to be less active in the winter months, which can lead to a little extra fluff.
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