| The Daytona Beach News-Journal
Dressing up in a Halloween costume with your best friend is pretty standard, but what if your best friend is your dog or even your cat? Pets can participate in the Halloween fun thanks to the many adorable, funny and unexpected dog costumes out there.
Safety is an important consideration if your pet will be dressing up for Halloween this year. Whether you shop or make the costume yourself, ensure that the costume is safe and comfortable for your companion.
Pets should be able to walk, sit and move normally when wearing the costume. Look for costumes made of soft, stretchy material that moves with them. Although costumes should allow plenty of room for movement, make sure they aren’t too big or loose. Costumes that are too big could cause your pet to feel like they will fall, which could cause them to simply refuse to walk.
Make sure masks, headbands, wigs and hats fit well and won’t interfere with your pets’ forward and side vision. Avoid anything that covers your pet’s nose, making it difficult to breathe.
Can your pup’s costume be seen in the dark? Go for costumes that contain bright colors or include reflective trim, rather than an all-black vampire costume.
Avoid flammable materials. Synthetic materials are more flammable than those made of natural fibers. Read the tags or online product descriptions to avoid inadvertently selecting a highly flammable costume.
Look for choking hazards. If your pet is a chewer, decorations & buttons can pose a choking risk, so watch them closely.
Pet costumes must accommodate leashes and harnesses. Also, make sure your costume allows you to hold your pet tight. Make sure your pet has his or her ticket home in the form of proper ID. Tags are a good idea even if your pet is microchipped. If an individual finds your lost pet, they can get you back together quickly with a current phone number on an ID tag.
Halloween celebrations can be overwhelming for pets, particularly with people wearing costumes and masks. If your pet tries to run away from that spooky witch or scary skeleton, make sure you are holding tight to that leash. If you notice that your pet seems stressed, don’t push it. Dogs bite more out of fear than aggression. It’s better to cut the evening short rather than have Fido in trouble for nipping a child.
Be sure to try the costume on your pet before the big day. If it restricts mobility, doesn’t fit well or if your pet simply hates it, you’ll have time to find another costume.
Your pet may not like wearing a costume at first. Place the costume on your pet for a few minutes initially, then gradually increase wearing time. If your pet is obviously unhappy or tries to bite and tear the costume off, it may not be the best option. Try another costume which may be better tolerated.
If your pet doesn’t like dressing up, how about a decorated collar or bandana instead? Or try a creative approach like pulling your pet in a small decorated wagon. Of course, in these days of Zoom gatherings rather than real life, you might just be able to photoshop a cool costume on your pet.
Have fun, get lots of treats! Pet friendly treats of course — no chocolate for your pet (which leaves more for you anyway).