Leave dressing up to the humans this holiday season
It may be tempting, as we get closer to the holiday season, to dress up your pet. You want them to dress up with the family! The holidays must be fun for all members of your family.
In general, you should not dress your pet up in a costume that makes them feel uncomfortable or limits their senses or movement.
All pets have their personalities, so that they will react differently. Some pets may not notice a costume, others will, and some might be fine. It can be hard to read the body language of an animal, so you might think that they’re fine when, in fact, they aren’t. If you are unsure, leave it to the humans, and don’t dress them up.
When your pet is dressed up, they may show signs of discomfort, such as difficulty moving (including “freezing”), and symptoms of anxiety, like panting, lip-licking, or showdelivering whites of their eyes (also known as whale eye). You should remove any clothing if your pet struggles to remove it.
Although some dogs will tolerate simple costumes, most cats are not comfortable with dressing up. If you own a cat, consider other ways to entertain them during the holiday season.
Protecting Your Pet
Avoid costumes that could pose health risks. Avoid costumes that cover the nose, mouth, or eyes of your pet (which could restrict breathing, eating, or drinking) or which block their vision.
If the costume is too tight, it can lead to overheating, discomfort, or even a trip. An outfit that’s too loose can also cause accidents, tangles, or travels. Watch out for companies that have dangling, glittering, or other attachments, which pets could pull off and eat, as well as sharp items such as safety pins that can cause injury.
It’s important not to wear costumes that will prevent your animal from expressing their normal behaviors. You want your pet to be able to use their eyes, ears, tails, and body to communicate both with you and with other animals. You could miss important messages and make your pet anxious if they cannot communicate in this manner.
If you are buying a costume online or from a store, do your research. There is no guarantee that they have taken into account your pet’s size and personality.
When dressing up your pet, ensure that they only wear their costume for a brief period and that you closely supervise them the entire time. Never leave your pet unattended in a costume.
What are your alternatives?
If you want to dress up your pet in any way, it’s best to choose something small, inconspicuous, and unobtrusive, like a festive bandana. It is best to only leave it on for short periods, such as when taking a picture. Remove it immediately if your pet is in any discomfort. You can also take a photo of your pet with some festive props.
Remember, pets didn’t decide to dress up like this. We’ve heard that pets look cute even without being dressed up.
Holidays can be stressful for pets. They may encounter fireworks, new faces, and a change in routine. We want to make sure that everyone in our family is able to enjoy the holiday season. For our pets, this means playing, cuddling, and enjoying treats.