Lookin’ Good! It’s National Dress Up Your Pet Day

Jan. 14 marks the pet holiday “National Dress Up Your Pet Day,” created by Celebrity Pet Lifestyle Expert and Animal Behaviorist Colleen Paige in 2009. The day was established to help support the need for adoption, as well as help local businesses and crafters show off what they can do, from pet photography to knitting sweaters and everywhere in between.

It’s a day to also have fun with your pet and give them some extra attention. Pet parents can choose a wide variety of garments for their fur babies to wear for the occasion such as sweaters, bow ties, bandanas, hair ribbons, even Halloween costumes if your pet has one.

While it is a day for fun, Paige emphasizes to keep your pet’s needs in mind. “It’s important to remember…that it’s not…a day to disrespect our pets with uncomfortable, vulgar and/or seasonally inappropriate costumes for the sake of a laugh or photo shoot,” she says, according to the holiday’s website. If you plan to dress up your pet for the holiday, you may want to go for a costume or piece of clothing they are already familiar with and have worn before. It will likely take a while for a pet to warm up to a new article of clothing.

To determine if our pet is happy in their costume, we can observe their body language. When they’re at ease, ears will be relaxed and in a neutral position and their jaw will be loose. They should also feel free to move around as they usually do. If your pet sits or stands in one place and doesn’t want to come on command or is holding their gaze toward the floor, that’s an indicator of humiliation and you should take the outfit off right away.

Here are some general outfit safety guidelines you should follow:

  • Your pet should have free range of motion in their head, neck, legs and tail and the outfit should not constrain them in any way.
  • You should be able to fit at least two fingers between your pet and the outfit when it is on. Otherwise it could be too tight.
  • The outfit should not limit your pet’s ability to see. Make sure no hoods or hats fall in front of your pet’s face.
  • Check that any closure such as Velcro is not rubbing against your pet’s skin in an irritating manner.
  • Make sure your pet stays hydrated and doesn’t overheat. An outfit that covers most of their fur will warm up quickly. If they become too warm or are panting profusely, take off the outfit.
  • Refrain from outfits that have any small parts that could be chewed off and swallowed.

The holiday is only enjoyable if your pet is happy in the costume. If they show signs of humiliation or embarrassment while dressed up, take off the outfit right away. Please always respect your pet and never make them do something they don’t want to.

Does your pet have a favorite piece of clothing? What is it?

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