How much is that dog outfit in the landfill?

The one that was only worn once…

Pampering your pet rotten? That’s great, but those oh-so-funny novelty dog outfits are a huge waste of money and resources. 

While most dog owners treat their pets with snacks and toys, many owners will follow the trend of buying their dogs clothing, as experts predict that the UK pet industry could be worth £2billion by 2023.

Waste Management Company is concerned about how many of these canine costumes are being thrown away, as pet owners splash the cash treating their pups and dressing them up.

“Many of these outfits are one-hit wonders, whether it’s just for a quick snap on Instagram or a family photo,” says spokesperson Mark Hall, “odds are the dog hates wearing it, and you’ll never bother with the struggle of getting that pirate outfit back on them again.”

dog outfit landfill

A glimpse inside the ‘paw-drobe’

With hundreds of dog outfits available on the market, asked pet owners about their most memorable pet dressing up experience.

Sarah, Poole: “I’ve spent £100s on clothes for my westie Harry, he looks cute and he loves it. Once the outfit is on, he’s such a diva, especially in his cowboy booties. And he can’t go for a walk without his coat on, he’ll catch a chill.”

Holly, London: “My partner and I have four pugs, and we love dressing them up as the superheroes we named them after. We might have taken it a bit too far when we tried to put a mask on Spider-man and he tried to bite us.”

Nick, Luton: “I buy my dog Wesley a new reindeer costume every Christmas for the family photo. I’d reuse the one from the year before, but he always manages to poo in them. We even put him in a nappy one year to try and stop him ruining another outfit, but history found a way to repeat itself.”

Andrew, Blackpool: “My five stone rottweiler Rover ran away once, and it took us two hours to get him back. One look at the cat costume my wife had bought him, and he bolted. If she really wants a cat she should just go and get one.”

Tracey, Wolverhampton: “By dressing up our staffy Buzz, our family isn’t limited to just enjoying a regular dog. The kids get to play with a spaceman, a dinosaur or even Pikachu. It’s so hard keeping them interested in things, but they’re never bored when they get to dress up the dog!”

It’s not just dressing up dogs in fancy dress that owners enjoy says spokesman Mark Hall, there’s a growing trend in people buying outfits to match with their dog.

In 2019, clothing company Missguided launched a ‘twinning’ pet clothing collection to match outfits to owners, which saw 20,000 visitors visit the range online in the first 48 hours.

“People buy these outfits for the perfect Instagram moment, but it’s not something that the dog wants to be plausibly running around in for much more than a photo,” Says Hall, “with such a focus on sustainable fashion, we need to make sure this extends to four-legged fashion too.”

A new lease of life

While many pet owners think dressing their dogs up is cute, are concerned by the many canine clothes that are being thrown in the bin after just a single wear.

“Seeing as most owners admit to only putting their pup into the outfit once, I’m surprised that a dog outfit rental business hasn’t taken off,” Says Mark Hall, “There would be no waste as clothes can be washed and reused.”

There are plenty of ways dog clothes can be repurposed, as unwanted outfits can be donated to charity shops or to a local dog shelter as long as they are clean and in good repair.

 “We use the warmer clothes such as jumpers for pups who need them, but we also have a lot of fun using the fancy dress outfits for online campaigns and adoption adverts,” says Jo, a volunteer at a dog rescue centre.

“We recently had a family come in to adopt a terrier we put up a picture of dressed up as Elvis. They found the photo hilarious and wanted to take him home.”

Hall says encourages swapping outfits with other pet owners, to reduce the amount of clothing is being needlessly bought, therefore you can get more use out of the outfits with the added bonus of keeping your dog’s Instagram content fresh.

“And if your dog runs out of outfits for Instagram, why not consider dressing yourself up as your dog? You could start a new trend.”

Anything to stop the outfits taking a ‘walkies’ to landfill, we say.

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