Pet costumesHalloween is a fun time to dress up, and many families (okay – and veterinary hospitals like us) enjoy getting pets in on the fun! While we truly love seeing pets dressed up, like everything Halloween related, there are some scary elements that you need to be aware of. Here are some caveats to keep in mind when you dress up your pet for Halloween:

Safety First. Check the costume carefully for small, dangling, or easily chewed-off pieces that could present a choking hazard. Costumes specifically designed for pets, are often – but not always – made with safe and non-toxic materials.

Comfort and Able. Choose a costume that your pet will be comfortable in. Avoid costumes that are too tight, too loose, too hot, or too heavy for your pet. Make sure the costume does not limit your pet’s ability to move, see, breathe, bark, or meow.

Try it On. Introduce the costume gradually and gently to your pet. Don’t force your pet to wear a costume if he or she shows signs of distress or abnormal behavior. You can try to make the costume more appealing by rewarding your pet with treats or praise when he or she wears it. If your pet still resists, consider letting her wear a fun collar, leash, or bandana instead.

Watch Out. Monitor your pet closely while dressed up. Even if your pet seems comfortable and happy in a costume, you should never leave him unattended while wearing it. Your pet may try to remove the costume or get tangled in it, which can cause injury or suffocation. You should also watch out for any signs of allergic reaction or irritation from the costume’s material or dye.

In Costume and On Leash. Keep your pet on a leash and under your control while wearing a costume. You should also avoid approaching unfamiliar pets or people without their consent, as they may not appreciate your pet’s Halloween spirit.

We love dressing up our pets for Halloween as much as (or more than) anyone else, but we know there are challenges and risks. Remember that your pet’s well-being is more important than any photo opportunity or social media post. Happy Halloween!