It’s Halloween season, everyone! I know most of you have been dying to dress up your pets and have been anticipating an excuse to do so. With that in mind here are some things to consider before buying the future Halloween costume for your pets.

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There are a few pets that will happily wear the Halloween costumes for us, but for most of us we have a hard time coercing them into it and an even harder time getting it to stay on.  It is pretty important to listen to your pet’s body language. If he begins pacing, pawing/clawing excessively, laying down and refusing to move, or panting excessively it may be a good idea to take the costume off of your pet. It might be a good idea to let your pet try it on and test it out before you make it public. Less can really be better when it comes to dressing up your pet to avoid stress and discomfort.

Other signs your pet feels conflicted or distressed include:

It is important to make sure your pet is still mobile and comfortable while wearing his Halloween costume. The costume should fit properly and stay in place. If the costume is too tight it could cut off circulation, and if it is too loose your pet could trip up on it. Also do not obstruct your pet’s ability to use the restroom. Do not cover the face or ears. Examine the costume before purchasing to make sure there are no small objects they could bite off and choke on.

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A lot of Halloween festivities happen once it’s dark out so you should probably think about your pet’s visibility to others-especially if you plan on attending an outdoor event. Your pet’s costume should be bright and stand out if you plan on letting him be loose at an event. It is encouraged to keep your pets on a leash or keep them close to avoid losing them or having them get hurt.

It also helps if you gradually introduce the costume to your pet before the big day. Leave it somewhere that smells of you or the dog so he can pick up on a familiar scent.  You should also reward him investigating it or wearing it with treats. This is all part of gradually building up their confidence until they are ready to wear it.

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The most important thing to consider when buying a Halloween costume for your pet is “How would I feel in this situation?” Would you want to be wearing something uncomfortable, that was too big or too tight? Or that you couldn’t see out of?” If you keep these ideas in mind it will help you in the right direction of your pet’s costume needs.

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