Daily Paws

Pet news, tips, entertainment and opinions from VetLocator.com

To Costume or Not to Costume

It’s that time of year again, pets are worried and their humans are looking forward to it.  Yes it is Halloween.

And you may be asking yourself……TO COSTUME OR NOT TO COSTUME….That is the question.  And it’s a good question to ask.

Should you dress your pet up in a costume this year or not?

Facts: According to the National Retail Federation, 15 percent of Americans plan to deck out their dogs and will spend nearly $370 million on costumes for pets this year (that’s $40 million more than 2011).

Fact:  Some of the cutest pet photos are of dogs dressed up in amazing costumes.

Fact:  The average pet owner buying a costume for their pet is expected to spend $79.82 this year.

Fact:  People love seeing pets in costumes.

Fact:  Many of pet owners like to dress their pets up for Halloween.

However, like kids, there are some things to keep in mind before you decide to take the plunge and costume your pet.

The first thing is whether your pet enjoys, or will even tolerate being dressed up.  Some pets, dogs especially, love to be dressed up.  I knew one dog that would pout unless her owner dressed her up with one of her favorite scarves before they went anywhere.  Yes, she was a girl dog of course :).

Some pets HATE it and some are traumatized by the whole ordeal.  If your pet is one that just gets freaked or lies there in apathy, please don’t put them through having to wear a costume all day.  Snap a few photos to share with friends if you must, then take the darn thing off them.

But for the pets who enjoy all the fuss and excitement that goes with a costume, here are some suggestions in choosing one:

1.  Make sure the costume is easy to put on and is relatively comfortable.  Tight costumes that have to be pulled over your dog’s head will often get them anxious.

2.  Avoid costumes that are too tight and restrictive.  Make sure your pet can breathe OK, and the costume is not too hot for them.  Heat exhaustion can be a real problem.

3.  Avoid costumes with small or dangling accessories that your pet could chew on and choke.

4.  Make sure the costume doesn’t constrict your pet’s movement.

5.  Pets need to go to the bathroom.  Have a plan for how this will be accomplished without stressing your pet.

6.  Make sure the costume doesn’t interfere with your pet’s vision and hearing.  Costumes with goggles, ear muffs and masks can pose problems.

7.  For best results, keep the costume simple.  Better yet, why not go as a themed couple with you dressing up as a character and your pet being dressed in the same theme?

8.  Keep your costumed one under constant observation.  Safely dressed up or not, there are just too many things that can quickly go wrong when your pet is in costume, and, like a little child, when you see they have had enough excitement for the day, get them out of their costume, take them home and put them to bed.

Here are the 5 most popular Pet Halloween Costumes this season according to Wayfair, pet costume manufacturer:

Our advice?  First choose whether or not TO COSTUME OR NOT TO COSTUME based on the above.  If you choose to costume, have a safe and fun Halloween!

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