As a pet owner, I can confirm that one of life’s greatest pleasures is dressing up your poor, idiot four-legged child. Cats and dogs in little outfits! It’s hilarious, and adorable, and completely harmless.

Or so we thought.

In fact, according to the RSPCA, putting Cupcakes the King Charles Cavalier in a sassy sweater vest might be doing him more harm than we would imagine. The animal welfare association is so concerned about the astronomically rising rates of pet dress-ups that they’re developing guidelines on how to do it safely (if at all).

RSPCA Scientific Officer Bronwyn Orr told the ABC:

Posting a picture of your cat and dog dressed up or with makeup on, for a lot of people that might seem really quite funny or cute. But it obviously goes completely against the dignity of the animal and their natural needs and instincts.

Basically, dressing your moggy in a bumblebee outfit could be causing her serious distress and discomfort, with Orr saying that “a lot of people have real difficulty actually reading the body language from their animals and knowing when exactly they are distressed.

Some of the signs to look out for in dogs are “whale eyes” (when the whites show in the far corner) and tucked tails. In cats, watch for a rapidly flicking tail.

We have to keep in mind … a dog is a dog, a cat is a cat, we have to respect that. They probably really don’t enjoy costumes a lot of the time.

The new guidelines on how to dress your animals appropriately will be on the internet real soon. In the meantime, use your common sense – and maybe stick to a fetching bandanna for Mittens and Corn Chips.

Source: ABC
Image: Instagram / @itsdougthepug