7 Tips for Designing Custom Made Dog T-Shirts for Your Pet

Designing Custom Made Dog T-Shirts can be a fun way to showcase your pet’s personality while ensuring comfort and practicality. Your furry friend deserves the best, and the tips in this article will help you create a unique and stylish wardrobe for your pet.

By the end of this guide, you’ll have all the knowledge needed to design perfect, comfy, and attention-grabbing custom dog shirts for your dog. From choosing the right fabric to mastering design placement, let’s dive into the essentials.

custom dog t shirt

Tips for Designing Custom Made Dog T-Shirts for Your Pet

1. Understand Your Dog’s Measurements

  • Let’s start with the chest measurement. Wrap a flexible measuring tape around the broadest part of your dog’s chest, just behind the front legs. Ensure the tape is snug but not tight.
  • Tip: For accuracy, take the measurement while your dog is standing. Fore example, if your dog’s chest measures 20 inches, aim for a product that fits within this range to accommodate natural variations.
  • When measuring the neck, wrap the tape around the thickest part of the neck, a few inches below where their collar usually sits. Keep the tape snug but not too tight. If your dog’s neck circumference is 12 inches, you’d want to look for products in sizes like small or medium based on the manufacturer’s chart.
  • Finally, measure the length. Place the tape measure from the base of the neck to the base of the tail. For dogs with longer bodies, make sure to take accurate measurements to avoid any discomfort.

2. Select Comfortable and Durable Materials

  • Breathable and durable materials like cotton and polyester blends are top choices. Why? Because they tick all the boxes. Breathable fabrics keep your pet cool and comfortable. No one wants their furry friend panting up a storm because their cute little outfit turned into a mini sauna.
  • But it’s not just about breathability. Durability is critical, especially if you’re dealing with pets who love to play rough. Cotton offers a soft-touch that’s easy on their skin, but tougher breeds might wear it out quickly. That’s where polyester blends come in. They combine the softness of natural fibers with the strength of synthetics, creating a fabric that can withstand the test of time—and claws!
  • While we’re on the subject, let’s talk about what not to use. Some materials, no matter how fancy they look, can be outright harmful to your pet. Synthetic fibers like nylon can cause irritation, leading to scratches and itchy skin. I’ve seen too many pet products focused solely on appearance rather than functionality. And don’t even get me started on wool. Sure, it might keep your pet warm, but it can be an itchy nightmare for sensitive skin.
  • Does your pet have allergies? If so, you’ll want to dodge fabrics with a lot of chemical treatments. Fabrics with fire retardants, water-resistant coatings, or heavy dyes can be downright irritating. Always keep an eye out for organic and hypoallergenic options to ensure your pet’s comfort.

3. Choose a Design that Reflects Your Dog’s Personality

  • Understand Your Dog’s Traits: Consider your dog’s personality traits, such as playful, regal, adventurous, or laid-back, and choose designs that match these characteristics.
  • Color Selection: Pick colors that complement your dog’s fur color and highlight their unique features. For instance, bright colors can make a dark-furred dog stand out, while pastel shades can enhance the look of light-furred dogs.
  • Themes and Patterns: Select themes and patterns that resonate with your dog’s activities or the occasions you plan to dress them for. For example, a nautical theme for a beach outing or a festive pattern for holiday celebrations.
  • Fun Graphics and Texts: Incorporate fun graphics, images, or texts that reflect your dog’s personality. Phrases like “Little Adventurer” or “Queen of the House” can add a playful touch.

4. Incorporate Personalized Elements

Personalization is key to making your dog’s T-shirt special. Start by choosing elements that reflect your pet’s personality and your preferences. You can include your dog’s name, a cute nickname, or even a fun slogan that captures their character. Custom graphics, such as their favorite toy, a paw print, or a silhouette of their breed, add a unique touch.

Additionally, consider using colors that complement your dog’s fur and suit their personality. Bright and bold colors can make a lively dog stand out, while softer, pastel shades may suit a more laid-back pet. You can also add patterns or images that resonate with your dog’s lifestyle, such as bones, balls, or nature themes.

5. Opt for Quality Printing Techniques

  1. Screen Printing: Screen printing is a classic method, often favored for its durability and vibrant colors. Pro Tip: This method is ideal for bulk production, especially when dealing with simple designs and fewer colors. However, if your design is complex or involves gradients and multiple colors, screen printing can become labor-intensive and costly.
  2. Direct-to-Garment (DTG): DTG printing allows for a lot of detail and a wide color palette. Imagine printing a photograph onto a t-shirt seamlessly. That’s the magic of DTG. The downside? It’s not the best for bulk orders due to its slower printing speed and higher cost per unit. But if you’re looking to create limited-edition runs or one-off pieces with intricate designs, DTG is the way to go.
  3. Heat Transfer: Heat transfer printing is like the jack-of-all-trades. It offers excellent flexibility because you can print virtually any image or text onto a special transfer paper, and then use a heat press to apply it to your fabric. This method shines when you have a smaller quantity of items to print or when your designs are particularly complex. The catch? The durability isn’t quite on par with screen printing, and it may not handle frequent washing as well.

Choosing the Right Method:

So, how do you choose the right method for your project? Consider the complexity of your design and the material you’ll be printing on. Pro Tip: For simple, high-volume requests, screen printing is your best bet. For intricate designs on lighter fabrics, DTG is your go-to. And for versatility with smaller batches, heat transfer is the way to go.

Garment (DTG) Printing

6. Consider Functional Features

Adding functional elements like leash holes and reflective strips to custom-made dog gear can transform a cute outfit into practical pet attire.

  • Leash holes aren’t just a hit with pet owners; they’re necessary. Ever tried fitting a harness over a stylish dog coat without one? Nightmare. A leash hole ensures the leash connects seamlessly, making walks smoother and safer for both the dog and the owner.
  • Reflective strips are another must-have. According to the National Safety Council, most pet accidents happen during early morning or late evening walks. Reflective strips make your dog visible to oncoming traffic, reducing the risk of accidents dramatically. It’s an easy addition with a significant impact on safety.
  • When it comes to enhancing comfort and usability, think about how dogs move. They run, jump, and twist. Creating gear that allows this is crucial. Flexible fabrics and adjustable straps offer the needed agility.
  • Designing custom dog gear? Ensure it doesn’t hinder the dog’s movement. Use soft materials that don’t chafe and flexible stitching that adapts to the dog’s movements. For instance, a study by the American Veterinary Medical Association noted that dog gear made from breathable, stretchable fabric can reduce irritation and overheating, ensuring comfort through all activities.

7. Test and Refine Your Design

Creating a prototype is one of the most critical steps in achieving successful product customization. It’s the bridge between your initial concept and the final product. By developing a prototype, you get a tangible version of your design that you can test and evaluate thoroughly. Think of it as your product’s dress rehearsal before the grand premiere.

However, don’t just rely on your own judgment. Get feedback from friends or a community. Peer reviews can offer fresh perspectives, identify potential issues you might overlook, and provide invaluable suggestions.

Adjusting your design based on this feedback and your observations is where the magic happens. Think of it as fine-tuning a musical instrument. You can only achieve a harmonious sound with multiple adjustments.

In short, make prototypes your best friend, seek out honest opinions, and tweak your design until it’s perfect. Your future self—and your customers—will thank you.


Creating custom made dog t-shirts can be a fun and rewarding process. Here are seven essential tips: choose the right fabric for comfort, select vibrant and pet-safe prints, ensure accurate sizing, opt for durable stitching, personalize with unique designs, consider seasonal variations, and always prioritize your pet’s comfort.

If you need tailored products for your business, contact us with [email protected] to find the right solutions.