Halloween is almost upon us, and with it the throngs of costumed party-goers and trick-or-treaters, the temptation to get your pets involved is almost overwhelming, but beware! People are often so wrapped up in making sure their pets’ costumes look amazing, they forget to make sure it's safe. There are a number of health considerations that should be made before you give your pet the full Halloween treatment.
1) They Need to be Down With Getting Dressed Up
This is probably the most important step. If your pet is not going to tolerate wearing a costume, that should probably be the end of it. You can try putting them in a themed collar, or maybe use some pet safe face paint to give them a taste of Halloween, but you should never force your furry pal to wear anything they are uncomfortable with.
2) They Gotta Love the Limelight
Pets in public draw attention. Pets in costume have them lined up around the block. This is an important fact to consider. If your pet does not do well as the center of attention, wearing a costume in public might not be the best idea. You can still take them around, but you should keep an eye on how they are coping with the stress.
3) The Costume Shouldn't Be a Choking Hazard
For pets that are cool with wearing costumes (and the attention that ensues), it is still important to make sure that their costume is not a health risk. Little plastic bits or strands of elastic can easily go from being cute decorations to choking hazards. It is best to make certain that there is no part of the costume that your pet can easily chew off or get wrapped around their neck.
4) Make Sure They Are Visible
Part of what makes Halloween so fun is getting to walk the streets, dressed up in our ghoulish best, under the cover of darkness; it’s almost the entire point! However, taking your pet out this late comes with its own sets of risks. A good idea is to include a reflective strip somewhere on your pet's costume, or an LED light. Anything to help make them more visible.
5) Keep Your Pets Hydrated
For people, wearing a costume is not much different from what we do every day -- namely, wear clothes. For a pet that wears clothes roughly never, wearing a costume over their permanent fur coat can cause them to overheat. That, along with being outside for extended periods of time, could result in a dehydrated pet. A good idea is to carry a bottle of water around with you, giving your buddy a drink every few blocks.
6) Keep Their Tags On
To make your pet more comfortable, you might be inclined to take off their collar, considering their costume is probably already wrapped around their neck in some way. Don’t! Halloween can be a chaotic time, and with this heightened risk of getting separated, it is best to leave their ID tags on. Should your pet get spooked or distracted and run off, it helps to know that anyone who finds them will know to whom this pet belongs. Beats running around your neighborhood yelling “Has anyone seen a beagle dressed as Batman?!”
7) Absolutely No Candy!
Not exactly costume safety, but important nonetheless: Chocolate is dangerous to cats and dogs, and many kids are unaware of that fact. Thinking they are just being nice by sharing some of their hard earned loot, a child might try to give your pet a bit of a candy bar, which could mean a late night trip to the vet for you. Better to keep an eye on what is going into their mouth.
Will You or Won't You?
Dressing up pets is not a universally loved practice -- some dislike the idea of a pet in costume, seeing it as inappropriate or downright oppressive. What do you think? Tell us in the comments.