Dressing animals in ‘cute’ Christmas costumes could be deadly, pet owners warned

Pet owners are being urged to resist the temptation to dress up their dogs, cats and other animals in Christmas costumes to avoid putting their lives at risk.

Festive outfits for pets are becoming increasingly popular, with hats, scarves, coats and cloaks made specifically for animals widely available online.

The supposedly 'adorable' and 'cute' garments are sold as a way of injecting Christmas spirit into homes and putting a smile on people's faces.

But campaigners at animal charity PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have issued a stark warning, advising against buying them.

They said involving pets in festive fancy dress could have "potentially disastrous consequences" including animals running away or even death.

The outfit above, a red getup with white trim – the classic Santa colours, comes complete with antlers on the hood and a decorated pine tree on the back.

It costs between £16 and £20 depending on size and buyers have rated it 3.3/5 on Amazon.

One customer said it had become a real people pleaser, bringing joy to children on walks.

"Hoping the little guy doesn't grow too much this year and they'll be wearing them again next Christmas," they wrote.

The description for the hats above suggests they can be worn by guinea pigs, ferrets, squirrels, rats and even hedgehog.

It insists the "soft and comfortable fabric won't irritate pet skin".

Despite its 4.4/5 rating, reviews revealed not all guinea pigs were fans of the festive headgear. However, some seemed to put looking cute above their pets' happiness.

One customer wrote: "Although my guinea pigs do not like to wear these little hats (which is not surprising), they look adorable in them."

Another said: "These hats are very well made, and good quality. Our piggie didn’t like wearing it much but non the less [sic] we got a few good pics out of it anyway."

Similarly, the grumpy cat above looks less than impressed with its Christmas makeover.

The two-piece combo can be adjusted with velcro depending on the cat's neck size which the manufacturer says makes it "easy to put on and take off as well".

The Shiba Inu below is also seen wearing a garment that fastens around the neck.

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The £7.99 hooded cloak with pompoms and gold star on top is designed to "enhance the festive atmosphere".

But animal charity PETA has issued a warning to pet owners, advising against such outfits.

PETA Director Elisa Allen said: "This Christmas, feel free to dress up in your festive finery – but leave animals out of it.

"They feel uncomfortable, confused, and stressed when they're forced into costumes, and we've even heard of dogs and cats choking or running away, never to be seen again.

"PETA strongly cautions that costumes with tight rubber bands can cut off circulation and that long or trailing parts can get caught on objects – with potentially disastrous consequences – making Christmas more scary and less merry."

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