Holiday Pet Care: Dos and Don’ts of Pet Halloween Costumes

Pet Halloween costumePerhaps you are a pet owner who loves to dress their pet up year-round. Or maybe you think animal clothes are silliness. Whichever camp you fit into, come Halloween time you may almost feel obligated to get a little silly with the pet that has stolen your heart. But there are precautions that every pet owner should take before outfitting your pet with a Halloween costume.

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Don’t Stress Your Pet

Pets are not people. While you may get excited about Halloween costumes, your pet may not feel the same way. Even though the holiday aisles at pet stores and department stores are stocked with pet costumes, that doesn’t mean your pet is the right candidate for dressing up. Unless you know your dog or cat absolutely loves a costume, don’t put them in it.

Do Inspect the Costume Carefully

It’s your responsibility to give your pet a costume that is safe in all ways, and that means taking care to avoid get-ups with moving parts, small pieces, or elements that could easily be broken or chewed off. The last thing you want is for your pet’s Halloween costume to be a choking hazard. Avoid ties, belts, or strings. It’s also a good idea to make sure your pet is always supervised when wearing a costume to ensure that no accidents occur and that there is no getting tangled in or obstructed by the costume.

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Don’t Limit Mobility

If you and your pet do agree that a Halloween costume is the right move, make sure the costume doesn’t limit your pet’s mobility. They need to be able to run, walk, sit, and lay normally and without restriction. The costume should not obstruct their sight or their ability to breathe or speak. It should be easy for your pet to eat and go to the bathroom. Strangulation or cut-off circulation because of an ill-fitting costume are absolutely possible.

Do Make Sure the Costume Fits

Ill-fitting pet costumes are not only uncomfortable, they pose a danger to your pet. If there is any chance that your dog or cat will trip on the costume, or that it will twist around them or another object, ditch the suit for something simpler. The low price of a hand-me-down costume is not worth the price of injury to your pet.

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Do Be Flexible

It can be tempting to go all-out for All Hallows Eve and really dress up your pet in a matching costume to yours or your children. Some of the wisest pet owners, however, practice conscientious pet care and consider their pet an accessory to the big night. Cowboys in the house? Give your pet a bandanna around his neck. Princess in the making? How about a tiny tutu or a bow tie? Sometimes less is more, especially when it comes to pets. And be conscious of your pet’s age too – puppies, kittens, and elderly pets may not be the best candidates for Halloween costumes.

Do Insist on a Test Run

Don’t wait until October 31 to break out the pet Halloween costume. Always do a trial run, or several trial runs, to make sure your pet’s suit fits well and isn’t bothersome. The material may be scratchy, the costume could be too tight, or your pet may absolutely hate the idea of any sort of dress-up. Honor your pet’s wishes and, if you must have something festive on your cat or dog, go with an orange Halloween leash and call it a day.

Pet emergencies happen on Halloween, whether costume-related or not. If your pet ingests dangerous candy or decorations, has an accident, or gets sick on a holiday, Northpointe Veterinary Hospital in Yuba City, CA, is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.