Dressing up your pet can be a lot of fun, but has the potential to become dangerous, too. In honor of National Dress Up Your Pet Day (January 14th), here are a few helpful strategies to help you discern when it’s safe to dress up your pet.
Find an outfit that fits well: Make sure the outfit you choose isn’t too tight or too heavy — your pet should be able to move freely and be able to breathe. On the other hand, the costume shouldn’t be too big, either. Loose pieces hanging off might entice your pet to start chewing.
Be aware of choking hazards: In addition to detaching any loose pieces, look for buttons, decorative flowers, or any other small parts that could come off the costume and be swallowed.
Consider your pet’s age: Dressing up probably won’t be a good choice for very young or very old pets. Puppies and kitties might be full of mischief and more likely to chew on the costumes and clothes, whereas older animals could have stiff limbs or other health issues, making it difficult to get them into the clothes.
Be flexible: You might have a vision of your dog dressed up as an adorable reindeer, but they end up hating the antler headband. In that case, be willing to shift things around, and either remove the headpiece entirely or replace it with something your dog is okay with.
Conduct a trial run: If you’re going to an event with your dog or cat, don’t wait until the morning to take the costume or outfit out of the packaging. Instead, do a trial run several days in advance.
Doing a trial run will allow you to figure out how your pet feels about dressing up and whether you need to make any tweaks to the outfit or costume. During this trial run, make sure to give your pet treats while they’re wearing the clothes to make the experience a positive one.
Don’t force your pet to dress up: If your pet really doesn’t want to dress up, do not force them to. While some dogs and cats might be content to let you dress them up as a ladybug or in a jacket, for other pets, that might be their worst nightmare. If your pet is struggling and resisting the costume or outfit, that can present even more dangers (for both you and your pet if they become violent).
So respect their wishes and put the outfit away if your pet’s body language is signaling stress. A cat might signal stress by freezing in place. While both dogs and cats might begin to scratch. If your pet shows signs of distress, try to remove the clothing safely.
Don’t leave your pet alone: Keep your pet nearby once they’re wearing a costume; if you leave your pet alone, you’re running the risk that they could get injured or become stuck. Don’t leave your pet unsupervised while they’re dressed up.
Don’t wrap anything around your pet’s neck: Items such as a scarf or ribbon should be avoided from being wrapped around the neck of your pet. It’s also essential to never cover their nose, mouth, eyes, or ears; your pet should be able to freely breathe, see, and hear.
Don’t select a costume or outfit made of toxic materials: For instance, the liquid inside glow sticks can be very dangerous if ingested, and some types of fabric might irritate your pet’s skin. Consider any allergies that your pet has, too.
Looking for the perfect idea for National Dress Up Your Pet Day? There are many options available in-store, online, and at home, for you to pick from for your dog or cat. Just remember to double-check each outfit and costume using our list of safety tips and what to avoid, and always be sure to consider your pet’s size and personality, too.
Store-bought and Homemade Costumes and Outfits: Many pet stores and online retailers sell costumes and clothing outfits for animals. Look online and head to the store and you’ll find many options for you and your pet to choose from.
Looking for a costume for the holidays? Making a DIY costume for your pet can be a lot of fun too.
You can search online for easy and safe pet DIY costumes. When searching for the perfect costume, just remember to double-check each costume against a list of safety tips and items to avoid. If your dog or cat doesn’t want to dress up, keep things simple with a pet-friendly bandana or a pet-friendly headband. Dressing your pet in a hat, jacket, or sweater are other options your pet may prefer when wearing an outfit.
Dressing up your pet can be a lot of fun, but always remember the safety and comfort of your pet when doing so. Consider investing in a pet insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance.1 Our dog insurance and cat insurance policies can provide the coverage and care your furry family members deserve. Get your free quote today.