Cats, Canines and Crazy Costumes

Here are some useful tips that will help ensure a fun and safe Halloween for you and your pet.

 

Halloween is a great time to dress your furry friends in adorable costumes and parade them around in all of their outfitted glory. However, remember that while your furry companions may be Count Dogula, your best friend is not always thinking of safety; that is your job! Here are several useful tips that will help ensure a fun and safe Halloween for both you and your stylish pet.

Fitting

Although you may have fun dressing up, your pet may look at you as though you've lost your mind when you start putting their costume on:

  1. Let your pet become accustomed to their costume slowly. This may mean just putting on part of the costume for only a few minutes, then taking it off. You may be able to get that part of the costume back on the same day, but don't count on it. Animals generally don't like anything that makes them feel confined or restrained. If you're patient, your pet will get used to the costume.

  2. When putting the costume on your pet, do it very slowly and gently, stroking them as you do this, to let them know you mean them no harm and the costume will not hurt them.

  3. Make sure that the costume is large enough so as not to constrict your pet in any way, especially around their neck or abdomen. If a part of the costume will not go over your pet's head, than do not force it as you may not be able to get it off once you get it on.

  4. Make sure that your pet's eyes are not blocked in any way and that he can blink easily. You do not want him to get injured by walking into a wall or furniture because he couldn't see.

  5. If the costume contains buttons or zippers, be careful these items do not pinch your pet's skin, or grab their fur when closing them.

Moving Parts

Most costumes have several pieces to them, and may even contain some parts that move or hang off the main costume:

  1. It's best to use a costume that does not have any moving parts or pieces that dangle loosely in front of their face, as this may startle them or poke them in their eye as they're moving around.

  2. If the costume has multiple pieces, make sure all parts secure properly and have no missing closures, as this may be dangerous to your pet if they manage to get a hold of a loose part and possibly choke on it.

Observation

It's important once you get your pet in costume to make sure there are no problems. Here's what to watch:

  1. Make sure your pet is comfortable. Although he may not try to wiggle out of the costume once you've got it on him, pay close attention to how he sits and moves. If his breathing seems labored this could be from general discomfort or may be because he cannot breath properly (his chest is not allowed to expand as needed to inhale). Another reason his breathing may seem labored is because he is "stressed". If this is the case, you may have to forget the costume for your pet's well-being.

  2. If the costume came with makeup or paints DO NOT use them. These substances can irritate even the toughest pet's skin. Even non-toxic paints are not good to put on pets, as they could lick it and ingest it, causing stomach upset.

  3. A costumed pet may be a good sport about getting the costume on, but after even a short period of time, may become irritated and tired of wearing the it and become unusually aggressive. If this is the case, you should remove the costume and not attempt to put it back on your pet. Beware, when attempting to remove the costume from an agitated pet they may scratch and bite at you because they are stressed. This is not meant personally, but they will defend themselves until they realize you are removing the irritating costume.

Halloween can be great fun and there are pets that don't care what you do to them, because they are so good-natured and passive. Just remember that pets are NOT people and their tolerances and tastes are quite different, and that their only way to vocalize this may be a little scary. So if your pet does not like costumes, just remember, he's already quite adorable just as he is.

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