Halloween is a time for dressing up to be pretty or scary, taking a moment to play into our imagination and even get into a favorite character’s costume. It’s a fun chance to change things up, stray away from the ordinary world and envelop ourselves in fantasy.
What’s great is that even our dogs can join in the fun. Perhaps you want to go as Little Bo Peep, while your dog gets to play the part of the sheep. It’s a clever thought, and the combinations are only limited by imagination. However, there are a few things to consider when dressing up your pup this Halloween to ensure that everyone stays safe and has fun.
When it comes to safety, material is one of the most important things to consider regarding a costume. Can they eat it? Is it toxic? Many dogs, especially younger pups, tend to have a bit of a chewing problem. Avoid thin plastics that they can choke on, and in most cases, cotton materials breathe the best and won’t tear as easily.
The next question to ask: Is it flammable? When picture-taking time arrives, your dog might end up next to a Jack ‘O Lantern, posing a very real danger to them. Avoid flammable materials such as nylon, and always keep your dog away from any flames in the first place.
You must then consider what your dog naturally does – run and play. Will the costume and decorations hinder their activities? Are there stray tags or strings that drag that they could get tangled in or trip on? Will they get trapped if they go through a tight space such as a doggy door? Some costumes can become a little bulky, such as Little Bo Peep’s sheep, and can make it easy for your dog to get caught on things, especially since they aren’t accustomed to the extra attire.
What about the evening’s environment? Can your dog be seen at night? This aspect is not often considered, but it is incredibly important on such an active night when the doorbell is constantly ringing and the front door is opening and closing just as much. Reflective tape can be used to help spot your dog at night and can be applied to just about any costume material (except your dog’s fur).
Is the costume too tight? Some costumes rely on elastic bands, while others may utilize strings or Velcro. Be sure that the costume doesn’t restrict any areas of their body, such as their neck or belly. Your pup isn’t always able to tell you that they can’t breathe very well (unless they’re Lassie and you’re Timmy!).
Most importantly, can your dog still potty comfortably? While most costumes are limited to the neck and chest area, you don’t want to cover the entire body, or you may end up with a surprise package later on. If the costume does limit their ability to potty, you can always trim it to accommodate their needs, after all comfort will affect how much fun they are having.
Your dog’s cooperation is essential
Of course, not every dog is going to appreciate dressing up as much as you might want them to. Dogs are incredibly loyal animals, but in the case of putting on some extra attire, not every pup is going to cooperate. If they do, they may end up a little frustrated and grumpy afterwards. Are they going to tear it up and drag it around when you aren’t looking? Most likely yes. They will signal discomfort, and often some scratching and investigating is to be expected. But if they continue to wrestle with it, you may want to try something else.
In the case of comfort and willingness to wear, the concept of “too hot to handle” may prove to be useful. Some of the furrier breeds aren’t going to be as appreciative of a bulky costume as other’s might. However, there are some that do appreciate the extra warmth of their new attire, such as the cold-sensitive breeds like Chihuahuas. With the fall near, they may want to have a little extra to keep them warm while you’re handing out treats.
It is fun to include your pup for the holidays, but it’s more important to make sure that they stay safe. This Halloween, be sure that your dog stays comfortable and safe so that you both can enjoy the holiday season.
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