Cats and dogs rushed to Vets Now after suffering injuries as a result of adornments


Pet owners are being warned about the dangers of putting decorative bows and ribbons on their cats and dogs.

Our emergency vets have seen a number of serious injuries caused by owners placing adornments around their pet’s neck.

Dressing up cats and dogs in bows and ribbons is particularly popular at Christmas.

In one case, a cat was left with a gaping wound after a festive bow tie cut into her neck. In another, a dog endured similar injuries.

Laura Playforth, Vets Now’s professional standards director, said: “We have seen injuries as a result of items being placed around pets’ legs, tails, necks and ears, such as ribbon, bows and string.

image of cat wearing neck tie for Vets Now
Vets are warning that decorative neckties could be harmful

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“Bobbles and elastic bands, which are used to hold back ears during grooming or to place plastic bags over feet in wet and muddy conditions, are also an issue. These are sometimes left on by mistake by well-intentioned owners, causing terrible injuries.”

The US trend for dressing up cats and dogs is on the rise — with clothing for pets a booming multi-million pound market.

Among the most popular items are bow ties for cats and decorative neck and head ribbons for dogs. But these can cause horrendous injuries if tied too tight or if they become frayed and get caught in collars.

According to our vets, clothing is appropriate for pets in some circumstances — for example, to provide them with warmth during bad weather or to make them more visible in the dark — but functionality should always come before fashion.

Laura added: “The cases we have seen demonstrate the dangers of dressing up dogs. We wouldn’t recommend putting decorative adornments or designer clothes on any pets as it can cause skin damage and other problems.”

Graphic photograph showing injuries cat sustained after wearing a cat bow tie Vets Now
This poor cat suffered serious injuries after a decorative bow tie cut into her neck
Image of dog wearing bow tie for Vets Now article on pet bow tie dangers
Our vets have seen serious injuries caused by decorative bow ties and neck ribbons in both cats and dogs

One survey of dog owners found four in five have at least one outfit for their pet. However, the majority said they were for functional reasons, with only one in 10 admitting to buying clothes to make their dog look nice.

Another poll asked vets if they had concerns about the issue. More than one in four (27%) said they were worried about fashion items stressing dogs out while 32% expressed fears over clothes rubbing against the skin.

Vets Now has more than 60 clinics and pet emergency hospitals across the UK that are open through the night, seven days a week, and day and night on weekends and bank holidays, to treat any pet emergencies that may occur.

All of Vets Now’s premises always have a vet and vet nurse on site.

We also offer an online video consultation service to make professional veterinary advice more easily available.

While the service is not suitable for life-threatening emergencies, our experienced vets are available to discuss any worries or concerns you might have.

If your pet needs an in-person follow-up appointment at any vet practice, Vets Now will refund the online consultation fee, so you never pay twice.