Safety tips for National Dress Up Your Pet Day

Labrador dressed in sunglasses and bandana for National Dress Up Your Pet Day
(Image credit: Getty Images)

National Dress Up Your Pet Day has been a firm favorite amongst pet parents since it burst onto the scene 13 years ago, and while we definitely want you and your fur baby to have an absolute blast this year, it’s also a great idea to know a few basic safety tips to ensure this day is the most fun it can be for the both of you.

Dressing up can be a really special way to bond with your feline friend or canine companion, and if you’re someone who loves getting snap happy, all those adorable photos can provide you with heartwarming memories for years to come. 

But while National Dress Up Your Pet Day has plenty of perks, it’s important to know how to keep your furkid safe and happy throughout the day's festivities. To help you out, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about this celebratory day, including some helpful tips to ensure that both you and your furkid enjoy this time to the fullest. 

What is National Dress Up Your Pet Day?

So, it’s probably going to come as no surprise that National Dress Up Your Pet Day involves, well, dressing up your pet! The event was started in 2009 by celebrity pet lifestyle expert and animal behaviorist Colleen Paige as a way to celebrate pets and support the pet fashion community.

When is National Dress Up Your Pet Day?

This year, National Dress Up Your Pet Day falls on Friday the 14th of January, which gives you a couple of days to get shopping and pick out the perfect outfit for your forever friend.

Safety tips for National Dress up Your Pet Day

Cat wearing pirate hat

(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. Get the fit right

It’s really important that you choose an outfit that is the correct size for your cat or dog. You want the outfit loose enough that they have room to move and breathe freely, but not so loose that it’s hanging off of them.

2. Consider your pets age

We don’t recommend dressing up puppies and kittens or elderly dogs and cats. Younger pets tend to be highly mischievous and prone to chewing everything in sight and older animals often have mobility issues and joint pain that can be exacerbated by clothing.

3. Monitor your pet

It’s crucial that you take your lead from your fur baby when it comes to whether or not dressing them up is okay. If you’ve bought an outfit and it’s clear that your forever friend isn’t comfortable in it, remove it immediately. Be on the lookout for signs of distress (such as your pet freezing in place or scratching) and never force your dog or cat to do something they don’t want to do.

4. Conduct a trial run

If you’re wanting to do a photo shoot on the day or take your pet to a dress up event, pop your fur baby in their outfit a day or two before to see how they feel about it. This will give you an idea of whether or not they’re comfortable and if any tweaks to their outfit need to be made.

5. Don’t leave your furkid alone

Never leave your pet in their outfit unsupervised. There’s always the risk that your furkid could become injured, stuck, or suddenly start feeling stressed or anxious in their outfit. Being with your pet the whole time they’re in their outfit will ensure you can deal with any issues promptly.

Ways you can get involved in National Dress Up Your Pet Day

Dog wearing tuxedo

(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. Have a mini-photo shoot

Get yourself and your pet all dressed up and invite a friend over to take photos of the two of you rocking your new outfits. You can then share them across your social media channels.

2. Spread the word

And speaking of social media, make sure to use #DressUpYourPetDay on any photos that you post. You can also search for this hashtag across Facebook and Instagram and get inspiration on what other pet parents have done in the past.

3. Pamper your pet

If you have a dog, why not book them into a groomer for coat trim and pedicure so that they’re looking and feeling their best on the big day. Or, for our feline friends, a good at-home pamper session with one of the best cat brushes will have their mane looking marvelous for that photo shoot. 

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.