Halloween is a fun time of the year, especially if you’re like me and love to get dressed up. What I love more is dressing up my dog, Sophie.  One year, we were both Super Girl. Another year we were both bumble bees.  We looked awesome! It was fun for me, but was it so much fun for Sophie? You know your pet better than anyone, but for some Halloween can be quite stressful.  Everything and everyone looks so much different. Sometimes even putting a costume on your pet can cause a bit of stress for them.

Before your pick that cute matching costume, here are a few things you should consider.

Look for Signs of Stress

As much as we like to dress up our pets, for any reason, this may be too stressful for them. How to tell?  Are they pawing at the costume? Trying to take it off? Scratching at it?

What does their body language say? Are they running around nervously? Cowering? Ears pinned back? Do they just freeze and fall over?

These are a few important considerations and signs to watch for in order to prevent unnecessary stress on your pet.

Be Aware of Choking Hazards 

Choking hazards can be anything that falls from costumes with parts that could be easily ingested such as buttons, or accessories.  If your pet swallows any small pieces it could cause intestinal obstruction or other serious issues.  If your pet does swallow any small pieces of a costume, please bring him or her to your veterinarian or the emergency animal hospital.

Make Sure Their Costume Fits and Make Sure They Can See

I remember as a child for Halloween I always had those plastic costumes that never fit right and ripped easily.  Do you remember those? Do you remember the plastic mask with the cut out eyes and tiny nose and mouth holes?  I remember how cumbersome and uncomfortable I felt wearing the unbreathable plastic costume and a mask that limited my peripheral vision.  I could not see anything, especially in the dark. I constantly tripped, fell and walked in to things or people. This was just not fun at all.

Now, picture what goes through your pets minds when you put a costume on them.  They may feel all the emotions I just described, which will elevate their stress level.  Be careful not to obstruct your pet’s vision with hats, wigs or any headgear that could fall over their eyes. On Halloween night it may be scary enough for your pet with all the different sounds and weird costumes. Be careful to not add to their stress by obstructing their vision.

Also, ensure the proper fit. A costume that is too tight will restrict their movement. Check to make sure the neck and chest area are not too tight as this will make it hard for them to breathe. A costume that is too loose may become a tripping hazard.  The costume should be easy to put on your pet and allow for full mobility.

It is fun to take both the kids and the dogs out on Halloween. Before the big night let your pets wear the costume around the house so that they can become comfortable with it.  This will also give you a chance to make sure it fits and to know whether they will be able to tolerate it while walking the neighbourhood.

Have a safe and fun night..

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