Halloween is almost here! If you’re contemplating that perfect costume for your dog, keep these tips in mind for having a safe and happy hound:
- Have several dress rehearsals before the big day. Be generous with treats and good things when introducing your canine companion to their ghoulish gear. Work on building their comfort with each individual accessory before combining the pieces for the grand ensemble.
- Be sure costumes are well fitted but do not restrict dog's natural gait, movement, breathing, circulation, etc. Inhibiting those functions can cause pain or injury to your pup. Unfortunately, costumes seem to be designed with prioritizing appearance over comfort and safety. Be especially careful with brachycephalic breeds that are susceptible to respiratory trouble and overheating.
- Avoid dangling strings, sashes, bits and pieces that can be choking hazards, "game-on"/chase me invites to other pets and children, or tripping hazards for either of you.
- Make sure your pup's hearing and sight are not restricted. This can be scary for them and cause issues when interacting with other dogs and people.
- Watch for signs of distress or fearfulness (like lowering head, cowering, whites of eyes showing, abnormal breathing/panting, stiffness, excessive drooling, etc) and remove costumes and pieces that make your dog uncomfortable. Don't force your pup to wear something that makes them miserable. Find an alternative you can both enjoy.
- Don't leave your dog unattended in a costume.
- Keep collars or identification tags in place - even if they aren’t a matching accessory.
- Use LED, reflective, glow in the dark or light up collars or harnesses if you plan to have your pooch out after dark.
- Consider festive bandanas, bowties, decorated collars, non-toxic paint, or simple accessories for your furry friend’s attire.