Watch Tip: Pets in Costume

Posted on October 22nd, 2011 by Trish Roman-Aquilino

Watch Tip LogoWatch for pets out in costumes that constrict, restrict, or impair them in any way. Pets that are stressed out by their costume or the festivities should be removed to a quiet, safe place, and their costumes removed.  Set the example by making sure your own pet, if dressed in costume, is outfitted appropriately and is tolerating the ensemble well.

Halloween costumes on pets can be a hazard if care is not taken.

Halloween is a favorite holiday for many a pet parent, and there are few things that are more adorable than your furry friend dressed up as a pirate, a clown, or Yoda.

But just as you would exercise caution while dressing two-legged children, you want to exercise caution dressing up four-legged ones. Some tips to keep your pet safe:

  • If your pet is participating in a costume contest or some other type of Halloween event, definitely have them try on the costume beforehand – check to see if your pet shows any signs of being distressed or allergic to their costume. A distressed pet can chew or tear at their costume, and ingest pieces of it, making them sick. If they do not respond well, or have an allergic reaction, maybe a festive collar or bandanna would be a better choice.
  • Costumes should not restrict your pet’s ability to move, see, breathe, or hear.
  • Ensure that the costume does not have temptingly small, dangling, or easily chewed pieces that could be a choking hazard, especially if they are prone to chewing.
  • Make sure your pet’s costume fits appropriately, and will not get twisted on external objects or your pet, possibly leading to injury.
  • If your pet has never worn a costume, teach them to enjoy it, the way you would teach them to enjoy anything new – by getting them used to it a little bit at a time, reinforced with yummy treats. Put it on them for short increments of time, praising them and treating them to make it a positive experience.
  • Always supervise your pet at all times while they are in costume – if you will not be able to do so, remove the costume.
  • No matter what they are wearing, do not remove their ID. If something spooks them and they get away from you, they will absolutely need their identification, and make sure your contact information is up-to-date.
  • Know your pet: does he or she have the temperament, patience, and personality for getting dressed up and actively participating in the craziness of Halloween? Be realistic, and don’t put your pet through the stress of dressing up if they are not up for it – no matter how fun you think it would be.

In addition to the above costume safety tips, remember to always keep candy out of your pet’s reach, keep stressed pets safely crated or in a quiet room away from the hubbub, and make sure they do not have the opportunity to escape during the constant flow of trick-or-treaters at the door. Happy Howl-o-ween!