October 26, 2023
Halloween Costume Safety: How To Keep Your Pet Comfortable During Spooky Season
Jack-o-lanterns, trick-or-treating, decorations, haunted houses, and scary movie marathons. Yes, Halloween is without a doubt one of the most exciting and fun holidays of the year. And, as with everything else, pet owners love to get their four-legged family members in on the festivities. Typically, this means dressing your dog or cat up in a funny, spooky, or cute costume. Before you decide on which costume to dress your pet in, consider these important safety tips!
Unlike humans, pets AREN’T used to wearing clothing. Placing a costume on your pet can potentially cause an immense amount of stress and anxiety, so NEVER force it. If your pet immediately scratches at or chews the costume, or shows signs of anxiety such as shaking, tucking their tail, or pinning their ears back, remove the costume immediately. Many feline family members will fall over on their side and lay down if they feel restricted or uncomfortable.
It will help to slowly desensitize your pet to the idea of wearing clothing by starting with a t-shirt, then introducing their costume each day for a week or so before Halloween, and in pieces if possible. If your pet still feels anxious, and the costume isn’t an option, consider a simple bandana or festive bow tie!
Restricted Movement, Vision, Or Hearing
You want to make sure that your pet’s costume doesn’t impede their ability to move, see, or hear. Costumes that are too tight can be dangerous to your pet and could even restrict their ability to breathe or could cause them to fall and potentially injure themselves. Restricted movement could also cause your pet a great deal of anxiety, and restricted vision or hearing can pose a danger if your pet can’t see or hear you in a public setting.
Additionally, heavier costumes can cause your dog to overheat quickly, especially if you live in a warmer climate. It’s always best to opt for lighter weight costumes that ideally don’t require your pet’s head to be covered.
Just because it’s a holiday, it doesn’t mean standard safety precautions should be ignored. If you’re taking your dog (or cat) out in the neighborhood or to a Halloween party, make sure they are always on a leash. Do NOT compromise your pet’s safety for the sake of their costume.
Halloween costumes and decorations and the excitement and noise that comes from holiday gatherings can easily spook your pet and keeping them on a leash will ensure they aren’t running into traffic or going missing.
You’ll also want to keep your pet’s collar and identification on them, regardless of what type of costume they are wearing!
No Small Parts
Both cats and dogs have a habit of chewing on things they aren’t supposed to, and that could include their Halloween costume. Whatever costume you decide on, make sure there are no choking hazards attached that can be easily removed, including buttons, strings, or small cloth pieces. Anything small enough for your pet to ingest could cause abdominal blockage, injury, or intestinal obstruction. If you believe your pet has swallowed something potentially dangerous, contact your veterinary provider immediately.
The Right Fit
You’ll want to consider your pet’s age, physical, and medical history before deciding on a costume. Older pets may be unable to maneuver intricate costumes and overweight pets may become easily restricted. If your pet has a history of anxiety, you may want to keep it as simple as possible.
Including your pet in your Halloween festivities can be fun, but you want to make sure you are considering their safety first and foremost. Make sure to find a costume that fits your pet and makes sense for any specific physical limitations they may have. Keep your pet safe and on a leash, and you can be certain you’ll have a howling good time during this spooky holiday!