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Animal Friends Blog


Your Pet’s Christmas Costume Could be Illegal!

The Christmas tree is up, the halls are decked and the festive clothing has been dragged from the deep dark corners of the wardrobe.

Some pet owners will want to include their four legged friends in the fun and might have purchased a selection of festive pet clothing from the forever expanding ranges on the high street. This can be an exciting time for the pet owners and their families however their pet might not feel the same about the experience. In fact, the RSPCA have announced that they may prosecute owners whose costumes contravene the Animal Welfare Act. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind while dressing up your pet.

Body Language

You might not be aware that some pets suffer with embarrassment! If your pet doesn’t like their costumes they will make it very obvious by barking, trying to remove the clothing or simply refusing to move. Recent studies have shown that dressing your pet in costumes can result in a bad tempered, disobedient pet.


Be careful with one size fits all costumes. Ensure the costume is not too tight and is not restricting movement. We recommend keeping the clothing away from their heads which will ensure their eyes and ears and kept clear even if it means ditching the wild santa wig.

Weight and Size

The costumes should not be too big or heavy some pets could become very tired dragging around their heavy costume this also applies when their costumes are too wide or tall, your pets co-ordination could be seriously affected – Spaces that your kitty might usually fit through might become a tight squeeze.

Choking Hazards

Make sure there are no loose parts on the costume like strings and sequins which your pet can eat, if ingested these fabrics could become lodged in the intestines causing an obstruction. Your pet could also become tangled or caught up in these loose parts resulting in panic and possible fear of holiday costumes in the future.

Fire Hazards

Recently there has been a lot of chatter regarding children’s costumes being highly flammable this is also the case with your pets costumes. Ensure your pet is supervised at all times whilst dressed up and all candles or open flames are extinguished or out of reach of you four-legged friends.

Don’t Remove Pet ID Tags

We would suggest not to remove your pets ID tag or collar even if you feel like it doesn’t fit with their costume. If your pet is out on a winter walk and becomes lost the quickest way of them being returned is their ID tags.

Puppies, Kittens and Senior Pets

Some costumes might not be a great idea for older and younger pets due to lack of co-ordination abilities and with older pets it might be painful to get into costumes with conditions such as arthritis.

You don’t have to ‘Go all out’

Sometime less is more – A classy bow tie, a festive cape. Your pet might love some parts of a costume and hate others, gage what your pet likes by trying bits and pieces on them to ensure they stay comfortable.

Check the Labels

Be aware, there have been a few cases where pet items including costumes sold in budget shops on the high street will state on the label that they are not actually suitable for pets. Who would have thought?!


Animal Welfare experts have released a statement due to the growing trend of dressing up your pets, they have suggested that some outfits can cause a pet to overheat especially in pets that are bred to withstand extreme temperatures. Ensuring that the outfit is not too thick, the temperature in your home is not too high and simply by removing the outfit intermittently will help ensure your pets can regulate their own body temperature.

Final Thoughts

Remember your pet is not an accessory! Ensuring your pet is happy is key whether they are in full costume, Christmas accessories or their ‘Birthday suit.’

Keep an eye out on our blog for more charity visits, product reviews and pet advice or head over to our Facebook page for updates on our latest campaigns and giveaways.

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Hi I'm Lauren Odendaal I am part of the Marketing team at Animal Friends Insurance. I love giant dogs, noisy cats and my budgie, Monet. I am here to keep you up to date on the latest news, if you would like to get in touch please give us a shout on our social media.

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