Halloween is right around the corner, and what's cuter this time of year than an already adorable pet dressed up in a cute or silly Halloween costume? Dressing up our pets can be a fun way to involve them in our Halloween festivities, even if they can't go trick or treating and eat human candy (Why not try making your pup some homemade treats for Halloween?). However, it's important to remember that Halloween costumes should be comfortable and safe for our furry friends! Nobody wants to spend their holiday being uncomfortable, or worse in the emergency room, our pets included! So if you are planning on dressing your pet(s) up this Halloween, have fun, but remember to stay safe as well! Here are some tips to follow when picking out a costume for your pet...
Avoid hot costumes: I'm not talking about hot dog costumes, necessarily, but costumes that are too hot for your pet. Keep in mind that pets can't sweat to keep cool like we can, and most of them already have a fur coat to keep them warm. Try to avoid costumes that are too thick, because they may make your pet too hot, especially if he/she is planning on attending a crowded Halloween party. Look for costumes that are made of thin, breathable materials, or ones that don't cover large portions of your pet's body.
Watch out for choking hazards: Pets, dogs especially, like to chew. Fancy pet costumes that contain attachments such as beads or other small pieces may pose a choking hazard to curious pets. Costumes that have bits that may be annoying for pets to wear, such as hats or shoes, may encourage pets to chew on the costume in an attempt to remove it. Keep this in mind when choosing a costume, and try to avoid small or annoying parts that your pet could chew and/or possibly choke on.
Don't compromise your pet's senses for the sake of cute: Eye patches, funny glasses, and silly masks may sound like they'd make cool costumes, but don't dress your pet in anything that will compromise his/her senses. Blocking your pet's eyes, mouth, nose, or ears will be uncomfortable and could be a frightening experience for your pet.
Choose non-confining costumes: Your pet should be able to move around freely and naturally while wearing his/her costume. Confining costumes can frighten and even hurt pets. Make sure your pet can move around freely in his/her costume, and also that the costume does not block your pet from being able to use the bathroom normally. Make sure to measure your pet and choose a correctly sized costume, as outfits that are too loose or too tight may restrict normal movement and be uncomfortable.
Sometimes simple is better: Sometimes something as simple as a festive bandana or leash can be enough to give our pets some holiday flair without making them uncomfortable. Remember that holidays are suppose to be fun! If your pet doesn't enjoy wearing his/her costume, it's unfair to make them wear it for long periods of time. Maybe use that fancy costume to snap a few pictures, then replace it with a holiday themed collar, leash, bandana, harness, etc. to allow your pet to keep to the holiday theme while still being comfortable.
Listen to your pet: Most importantly, listen to your pet. Keep an eye on him and if he appears uncomfortable in his costume, remove it. Most owners should find it easy to tell when their pet has had enough. Don't overdo it. Wearing a costume for a short amount of time may not phase your pet, while costumes left on for too long may start to get annoying and uncomfortable. Don't force your pet to wear anything that he/she isn't comfortable with. After all, we want our pets to enjoy holidays with us, not suffer through them.