Dressing Up Our Pet - Adorable or Cruel

Dressing up a pet on various occasions is one of the most loved acts for many. It’s been estimated that in the USA people just spent around $370 million in cute outfits to dress up their pets for Halloween, 65% more than in 2010. Last year, 300 million were expended in outfits for dogs and cats. 15% of Americans bought costumes for their pets. About twenty too million pets wore Halloween costumes.

In the past, dressing up a pet meant simply putting a bandana or a Santa hat on their heads. But, in 2012, the most popular costumes for dogs and cats were devils, hotdogs and pumpkins. This year, many pets were seen wearing even fancier outfits, such as flowers, crayons, chefs, tacos and skunks.  Pet costumes is definitely a business that has been growing exponentially.

But, according to the owner of a “cage-free pet resort and spa”, Eileen Proctor, the costume for your pet may not be safe. “Don’t assume that just because a company is selling a pet costume that it is a suitable costume for pets,” she warned. “And don’t make the mistake of assuming your dog will enjoy human trick-or-treating, in costume or out”.

So, the jackpot question is: would our beloved pets agree to wear an outfit if we gave them a choice? If they could talk, what would they say? In a forum where this topic was being discussed, the commentators seemed to have very different opinions. “I suspect the pets find it more cruel than cute”, said Keevin S., and most agreed with him.

On the other hand, a pet-lover identified as Leah S. said, “A simple costume that is not restrictive can be great fun for the dog because it gets lots of extra attention”.

A lot of people seem to believe that it truly depends on each particular dog. For example, a pet owner called Bonnie C. stated “It depends on the dog. I have a Yorkie who absolutely loves to dress up & wait for the kids to come to the door. I have another who does not like to be dressed up, so he is not subjected to it. I think it is adorable if the animal is ok with it!”. And someone called Vicky P. commented, “I don’t find it cruel, I know many here disagree, but the dog isn’t being hurt or killed so it’s not cruel. Annoying to the dog maybe, but there are dogs who like dressing up and have to wear clothes such as coats”.

Another question is… why humans make their pets wear outfits?  A man identified as Simon stated, “Let’s face it, most pet dogs are either child or partner substitutes, so treating them like children and dressing them up is just an extension of that”.

A Science Advisor from the American Society for the prevention of cruelty to Animals seems to think that people dress their pets simply because they find it cute. “The reality here is that pets are becoming much more integrated into our families”, he stated. “The people who take the time to dress up their pets are probably the ones who get good veterinary care and make sure they have good food, exercise and attention.”