Pets: Fit for a Dog

Pets, by definition, are for petting, but sometimes even the most ardent member of the A.S.P.C.A. must feel like blowing the whistle. Where once the North American dog had to beg for his supper and sleep outdoors on the welcome mat, now he is stuffed with Gaines Burgers, sprayed with Kennel No. 5, given the softest living-room sofa, and dolled up in costumes that should make Lassie hide her tail between her legs.

When it rains, dog owners across the country are putting paws in rubber boots. If it snows, dogs emerge swaddled in thick, furry coats with even thicker sweaters....