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Australia Today

The RSPCA Need You to Chill on Dressing up Your Pets

The animal protection group are releasing guidelines around how to ethically style your animals

What is the internet without animals in funny outfits? Hell, what is humanity even, without a cat dressed as a cactus? But while the joy humans receive from these looks is unparalleled, we’re a bit slower to ask—is my pet into this?

Now the RSPCA are stepping in to help make sure you’re considering your animal’s needs when selecting it another burger costume. They’ve announced that they’re releasing some new guidelines for individuals and businesses on how to ethically humiliate your pet. I mean, dress your pet.


RSPCA Scientific Officer Bronwyn Orr told the ABC: "Essentially, what they are going to be is just advice for people in the media, as well as people who are using animals in social media and promotion, on how to portray animals appropriately and to not put them in situations where they are uncomfortable."

She stressed that taking picture of your pets in their natural state is chill, but putting them in awkward looks could be traumatising for them. Putting clothes and make up on your pet, she added, “goes completely against the dignity of the animal and their natural needs and instincts."

Orr also warned that people who follow celebrity animals online, or style their own, might be misreading the pet’s body language and missing signs they’re upset. Things to look out for are dogs pulling their ears back, or tucking their tails between their legs. As for cats, they show they’re not cool by wiping their tails.

This isn’t the first time the RSPCA has spoken out on the topic. In 2009, the group claimed that, in some cases, dressing up a pet should be grounds for prosecution. Speaking to the Telegraph , RSPCA spokeswoman Jo Barr said:

“Dog owners should be aware that under the Animal Welfare Act that came into force in April 2007 they have a duty of care to ensure that all of their pets' needs are met. One of those needs is to express normal behaviour and it could mean that with restrictive clothing they are not able to do that properly.”

Last year they broached the subject again, in an article titled “Should I dress my pet up in festive gear?” The short answer is, it depends. While some animals don’t mind it, they warned that costumes (especially those made from synthetic fibers) could cause pets to overheat and become sick. They also noted that pets could entangle themselves in their costumes and risk cutting off circulation or airflow.

The full guidelines will be released soon online. But in the meantime, maybe give your pets a break and save the looks for yourself.