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Costume Safety Tips for Pets

By Kate Maloney

In recent years, dressing dogs up for Halloween and other has holidays has become more popular. One thing that dog owners must consider when putting pets in costumes is safety. While dressing your pet up can be fun, many owners don't realize that their pets may not enjoy the costumes as much as their owners do. Some dogs, however, love clothes and costumes and will happily wear whatever their owners choose. If you decide to put your dog in a costume, there are some safety tips that should be kept in mind.

Comfort - Always make sure that your dog is comfortable. Keep an eye out for signs that a costume might be bothering your pet. Costumes that are too tight, are made of rough materials, or contain moving parts can be very uncomfortable for dogs and could even be potentially dangerous.

Stress - One of the biggest factors to consider when dressing up your dog is stress. If a dog is easily stressed, it might be better to avoid costumes. If you do dress your dog up, watch for signs of anxiety and stress when you put the costume on, and if your dog hates their costume, don't force them to wear it.

Choking Hazards - Items such as bow ties, or ribbons that may go around a dog's neck could present a choking hazard if they get stuck. In addition, before dressing your pet, check over the costume for any hanging pieces or anything that could fall off and become a choking hazard.

Movement - It is very important that dog costumes do not limit movement in any way. Limiting movement, or the ability to hear, see, breathe, drink, eat , and go to the bathroom can be dangerous. Choose a costume that does not hinder your dog's ability to move freely and be comfortable.

Bright Colors - If you will be taking your dog out in their costume, make sure you choose something brightly colored. Bright colors will make your dog more easily visible to other people and cars. Adding some reflective tape to the costume if you will be outside can also be helpful in making your pet more visible.

Fit - When buying your dog a costume, it is important to get one that fits properly. Ill fitting costumes can get caught or become twisted, leading to injuries to your pet. To get the best costume fit, it can be helpful to measure your dog with a measuring tape so your know their exact size.

Overheating - If your dog is wearing a costume, it is important to watch for signs of overheating. If your dog begins excessively panting, or lagging behind, it might be time to remove the costume and give them a break.

Supervision - When your dog is wearing a costume, they should be supervised at all times. Even with safe costumes, dogs can become stuck or caught on objects and therefore shouldn't wear clothing unless they are being supervised.

While some people will dress their dogs up for several holidays or other occasions throughout the year, others will only dress dogs up for Halloween. In addition to costume safety, if you are dressing your dog up for Halloween, there are some other factors to consider in order to keep your furry friend safe. Dogs should always have identification tags on, especially if you will be frequently opening the door to trick-or-treaters. It is also important to keep dogs away from candy, especially chocolate, which is very dangerous for dogs.

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