Could Your Dog's Halloween Costume Actually Be Dangerous?

Dogs in Costume

Does your furbaby find Halloween a trick or a treat?

You understand this is a night of fun, a chance to dress up and go trick or treating, but what about your canine companion? Spare a thought for their impressions when their hu-mom unexpectedly turns into a witch. Ask yourself how your furbaby will react to this sudden reincarnation, and plan ahead to keep them safe and happy during Halloween.

Does Your Dog Like Halloween?

Use your supernatural powers of observation and deduction to decide whether your dog is a potential Dracula or a shy and retiring angel. Signs of anxiety include shaking, shivering, licking lips, excessive yawning and slinking low to the ground. Remember, not all pets are party animals, and they may actually be traumatized by the sights and sounds of Halloween.

Rules For the Scaredly-Cat Canines

Walk anxious souls during the day and steer clear of the streets at night. Avoid leaving your pet unattended in the yard. After all, tonight may be about devilment, but you don't want anyone teasing your hound.

Before the undead rise, set up a quiet sanctuary in a back room. Close the curtains, play quiet music, and give your dog a favorite toy to distract them. (There's nothing that says they can't enjoy the 'treat' part of Halloween!) If your dog suffers badly from anxiety, then invest in an Adaptil collar or diffuser, to give them a boost of 'brave' pheromones.

Rules For the Costume-Crazy Canines

If your dog is a diva and loves to dress up, now is their chance to shine. However, always follow these simple rules, to make sure they're all bark and no bite.

  • Check and double-check the costume for chew hazards. Even a swallowed button can cause a serious bowel obstruction, which means a blue-light trip to doggy ER - a truly scary way to spend Halloween.
  • Avoid flammable materials. This sounds obvious, but when making a costume, remember all those jack-o'-lanterns with candles inside that are at floor level. A piece of flammable ribbon blowing in the wind could spell disaster.
  • Comfort first. Make sure your dog can bark, lap, see, walk, and sit in comfort; avoid over-tight or over-large costumes. To find the right size, measure around the dog's chest and waist, and when selecting an outfit, allow an inch or two extra for ease.
  • No candy allowed. When collecting those yummy treats, have a 'no candy' rule for the dog. Low-sugar candy and cookies contain xylitol, a substance that causes ultra-low blood sugar levels in dogs and can be fatal. If your dog does accidentally eat low-sugar candy, call your veterinarian without delay.

Now for the fun part, deciding on a costume.

Are you dressing up? (Course you are!) Then consider a mini-me, for double the trouble. Alternatively, you could go for a twisted reality look and dress the dog as a cat. Too cruel? Then go for a traditional Halloween look. Ghosts, ghouls, zombies, witches, vampires, mummies, monsters, and Frankenstein are all at home on Halloween night. Or perhaps you have other suggestion; please share them in the comments below.

Some of the most popular ideas for this year are:

dog costumes

Rules For the Keen but Cautious Canines

And finally, if your dog wants to take part but doesn't do dress-up, consider accessorizing that harness, collar, or leash. There are lots of seasonal hairbands and hair clips that can easily be adapted, but always look them over for swallow hazards. If in doubt about the fastenings, remove any metal parts and sew the decoration to your dog's harness - it can always be snipped off the next day. If all else fails, a seasonal bandanna shows willingness and will win the heart of even the most hardened monster.

Or you could give your dog a supporting role. You could dress as a zombie mother and swaddle a Pug or Chihuahua in a blanket to play the 'ugly baby.' Or you could go for sweet appeal and train your Golden Retriever to carry a lightweight lantern containing an LED candle, or fit pumpkin-shaped panniers on a harness to carry the swag. (Just make sure the dog doesn't dip into those low-sugar cookies!)

Remember, make this a happy Halloween for your pet pal by knowing whether they're more saint than sinner, and whether they would prefer to stay safe at home or dress up as a real party animal.

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