LOS ANGELES — Clothing is optional for pooches at dog-friendly beaches and pools around the country.
And more and more designers are cashing in on those options.
Tommy Bahama Pets will be in PetSmart Inc. stores through August. There's a designer shirt and a dress with a ruffled skirt made with Bahama's traditional hibiscus fabric. There are other shirts with palm trees and fish and chips, an Aloha Tee, hats and toys in the shape of thongs.
The clothes and toys range in price from $4.99 to $19.99, with 5 percent of the purchase price of each limited edition item going to PetSmart Charities.
PetSmart also has life jackets by Martha Stewart Inc. for dogs that feel like surfing or boating.
Designer John Bartlett in New York is offering a hoodie (with his signature three-legged dog icon) and a beach tank for dogs, plus leashes and collars. He sets aside 10 percent of all the money he raises to his rescue fund for shelter dogs and cats. Bartlett's clothing is sold at johnbartlettny.com.
Shelly Coby, owner of puprwear.com, based in Albuquerque, N.M., said 2013 beach fashions are expected starting this month, but she has plenty of stock on hand.
Last year's favorites were bikinis, swimming trunks, Hawaiian shirts, hats, bandannas and wet suits, she said. Coby doesn't have all sizes left, but she has some.
Coby, who has a pug named Ralph that loves to sunbathe, said it's hard to find clothes for dogs over 75 pounds. "They can wear human shirts," she explained.
Another site, poochieheaven.com sells a lot of the same designers as puprwear.com. Bestselling items include bikinis in flower and leopard-skin print for girls and neon-colored board shorts and Cancun dog swim trunks for male dogs. Bright caps are also bestsellers, a spokeswoman said.
Besides optional clothing, dog owners recommend taking sunscreen to protect your pet from getting burned; footwear if the sand is going to be really hot; fresh water; treats; food; a towel; a beach umbrella so you can both get out of the sun; a hat, visor, sunglasses or Doggles (think: goggles for dogs); and a ball or toy, especially a floating toy if the dog will be allowed in the water.
Dogs, even at the beach, should always wear their collars with their identification.