Monday, May 21, 2018
Pets

Cats and dogs partying like animals in ugly holiday sweaters

LOS ANGELES — Ugly sweaters aren't just a Christmas tradition for people. Cats, dogs and even guinea pigs are joining the party.

Zigzilla "Ziggy" and Chopper "Lambchop" got sweaters from PetSmart this year so they'll be ready when they get an invite to their first ugly sweater party, said the cats' owner Catie Savage of New York City.

"My non-cat lady friends definitely think I am crazy," said Savage, who handles her cats' Instagram site (@life_of_ziggy), with 43,000 followers. She says she enjoys the sweaters more than the cats do, "which makes it even funnier to me."

"PetSmart's ugly sweaters for dogs and cats are among our top five best-selling holiday apparel items so far this season," said Eran Cohen, chief customer experience officer for the pet store. "We even have ugly sweaters for guinea pigs."

Television ushered the ugly sweater in and out in the 1980s. Around the turn of the century it enjoyed a revival, starting with adults, who had parties just to celebrate the ugliness. Kids got in on the act and now pets have nosed their way in, giving owners laughs and plenty to photograph.

Ugly sweater dog events across the country this month included an ugly sweater contest for dogs at a park in Anaheim, Calif.; a dog-friendly ugly sweater 5K run and walk in National Harbor, Md.; and separate ugly sweater parties for big and little dogs hosted by Chicago Party Animals, one of the nation's largest canine clubs with 2,000 members.

You can find ready-made ugly sweaters everywhere from 99 cent stores to high-end stores, but they're an especially hot item at thrift stores — though presumably most shoppers are buying them for people, not pets.

"Our stores collect holiday sweaters year-round," said Marla Eby, marketing and community relations director for Goodwill Southern California. "Then we decorate them, adding ribbons, bows, and embellishments until they are at their gaudy best."

"Customers snap up the sweaters as soon as we bring them out on the floor," said vice president of retail operations Craig Stone. "They are so popular we can't keep them in stock."

Aimee Beltran of Virginia Beach, Va., has turned her blog (irresistiblepets.net) into an ugly sweater classroom twice, using her 6-year-old chihuahua, Chuy, as a model for the finished product.

Her advice to anyone making a pet sweater: "Have fun with it. Don't take it too seriously. Make it your own and your style. There is no right or wrong way to do it."

An ugly sweater has to celebrate Christmas. The bolder the colors, the brighter and the more stuff on it, the better — bring on the bows, snowmen, Santas, trees, buttons, stars, sequins, rickrack, felt, glitter and cotton. Sleeves can be mismatched, misshapen or missing.

But most pets — including Savage's cats — would probably like to ditch the sweaters.

"Dog vision is different than human vision and because patterns are not particularly useful to their vision, dogs probably could care less what their sweater looks like," said Dr. Bonnie Beaver, executive director of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and a professor at Texas A&M University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

Most dogs and cats don't like wearing sweaters unless they got used to being dressed young. "Sometimes the putting on or taking off can cause static electricity, which would make the dog even more anxious the next time," Beaver said.

If a dog has grown up wearing clothes or if a dog is small and short-haired and it is cold, a sweater will be okay, but wearing one for a contest "is of no consequence to the dog, which will be focused on the scents around it and not on the real appearance of other dogs," Beaver said.

Owners love to have fun with their pets, but "most of this is a people thing," Beaver said.

     
 
Comments
Hernando Pet of the Week for May 18

Hernando Pet of the Week for May 18

Hernando County Animal ServicesEllis is a handsome 3-year-old male, orange and white domestic short hair. After being found injured, he was brought to the shelter for care. Since his owners have not claimed him, he is available for adoption. Ellis is...
Published: 05/09/18
Updated: 05/13/18
Hernando Pet of the Week for May 11

Hernando Pet of the Week for May 11

Humane Society of the Nature CoastBoone is an active 2-year-old border collie who exemplifies his breed. He is ready to learn agility, which would enable him to be a very good Frisbee or disc dog, or help herd your livestock. Inquiries about adopting...
Published: 05/03/18
Updated: 05/09/18
Find A Friend: Luke, the Mastiff Mix

Find A Friend: Luke, the Mastiff Mix

Supersize that burrito, please, Luke is one beefy baby. This robust pup isnít quite a year old and weighs a solid 90 lbs. Larger than life and always entertaining, Lukeís a lover with a smooth coat. He lives for long walks, toys, and other pooches. L...
Published: 05/03/18
Updated: 05/08/18
Find A Friend: Oh Boy, the Cinco De Mayo cat

Find A Friend: Oh Boy, the Cinco De Mayo cat

Fa la la la bamba! Celebrate Cinco de MEOW with a grande adoption special: all cats 5-months and older will be offered to good homes for just $5 on Saturday (May 5). So, snuggle and play with this young chico, a 6-month sweetie called Oh Boy. The mil...
Published: 04/30/18
Updated: 05/08/18
Hernando Pet of the Week for May 4

Hernando Pet of the Week for May 4

Hernando County Animal Services,Rocko is a handsome 7-year-old fawn terrier mix. He was found as a stray on Lake Lindsey Road in Brooksville and is available for adoption. Rocko is fairly calm, super friendly and loves toys. He would do best as the o...
Updated one month ago
Find A Friend: Aidan the Boxer

Find A Friend: Aidan the Boxer

Aidan may be the only sportsfan watching playoff hockey with the volume down. The all-white Boxer suffers no hearing loss and celebrates Bolt goals in uninhibited wiggle-butt glory. Aidan really loves the Lightning, just not the thunder. Heís equally...
Updated one month ago
Find A Friend: Taco the Chihuahua/Terrier mix

Find A Friend: Taco the Chihuahua/Terrier mix

Look closely. Thereís a smiling pooch inside this whimsical wrap, and his name is Taco. If you live life like a fiesta, youíll rate this Taco mucho bueno. Heís a healthy and housebroken Chihuahua/terrier mix bound to spice up your world with companio...
Updated one month ago
Top places to bring your dog in Tampa Bay, from breweries to baseball games

Top places to bring your dog in Tampa Bay, from breweries to baseball games

Dozens of places to take your dog in Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg and the entire region.
Updated one month ago