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National Dress Up Your Pet Day 2024: What & When It Is

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

cat wearing a pirate costume

National Dress Up Your Pet Day is a fun holiday for pet owners on January 14th each year. People often celebrate by putting their pets in matching outfits, attending parades and events, and taking pictures.

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What Is National Dress Up Your Pet Day?

National Dress Up Your Pet Day was started in 2009 by a celebrity pet lifestyle expert and animal behaviorist Colleen Paige to celebrate pets and support the pet fashion community.

This new tradition builds on a long tradition of self-expression and style for pets. In Ancient Egypt, collars were used as adornments for dogs. Now, we show off our dogs with customized collars, pet apparel, costumes, and more. There’s even a fashion show, “Last Bark at Bryant Park,” which took place in New York City in 2011.

4dog costume
Photo Credit: YamaBSM, Pixabay

Ideas for National Dress Up Your Pet Day

As the name implies, all you have to do is dress up your pet to your liking to participate in this holiday. Here are some ideas to help you make the most of it:

  • Take Pictures: Whether you’re wrapping a sweater around your snake, putting a headpiece on your dog, or a hat on your bird, make sure you take pictures to remember the experience. Turn it into an event with a mini photoshoot and upload the pictures to your social media with fun captions and hashtags. The official holiday hashtag is #DressUpYourPetDay, by the way.
  • Create a Theme: National Dress Up Your Pet Day has no theme—anything goes! Use the opportunity to dress up your glaring cats like the witches from Hocus Pocus, model your dogs after famous people, or do whatever strikes your fancy.
  • Volunteer at a Shelter: This holiday is an excellent opportunity to bring attention to homeless shelter pets. Instead of dressing up your own pets, get creative with costumes (or Photoshop!) and work with a shelter to come up with cute themes to show off available pets on social media for a holiday.
  • Putting Safety First: Humans generally love to get dressed up, but that’s not always the case with our pets. The excitement over the holiday shouldn’t take precedence over your pet’s safety.

If you want to participate in Dress Up Your Pet Day, you don’t need to go all out if your pet isn’t comfortable. A simple bow tie or bandanna is well-tolerated by most pets and still gets into the spirit of things.

You should avoid any costumes or accessories that inhibit your pet’s ability to see, hear, breathe, eat, or relieve themselves. Costumes should also be light and breathable, especially in warm climates. You should also avoid costumes that have a lot of small pieces that can be chewed off and swallowed, and never leave your pet unsupervised while wearing a costume.

Ideally, you should dress your pet up, snap some cute photos, and remove the costume immediately. You get a cute photo, and your pet gets to enjoy the rest of the day unencumbered.

Remember, the holiday is meant to be silly and lighthearted, not a situation where we force our pets to endure embarrassing or uncomfortable costumes for a laugh. (They may not know it’s embarrassing, but we do!)

From the creator herself: “It’s important to remember though, that it’s not, however, a day to disrespect our pet with uncomfortable, vulgar, and/or seasonally inappropriate costumes for the sake of a laugh or a photo shoot.”

Boxer dog dressed like a rapper
Photo Credit: Stone Valley Photos, Shutterstock

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National Dress Up Your Pet Day is a fun and lighthearted holiday that brings attention to our love for our pets. Enjoy the day with a fun photo shoot and cute costumes, but remember to keep your pet’s comfort, safety, and best interests in mind.

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Featured Image Credit: Michelle Moross, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

Authored by

Nicole is a lover of animals of all sizes but is especially fascinated with the feline variety. She’s the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese, and works every day so he can relax in the sunshine or by the fire. She’s always had a cat in her home and has spent countless days with others, observing behaviors and softening up even the grouchiest of the lot. Nicole wants to share her kitty expertise with you so you and your cat ...Read more

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