It’s an exciting time for both humans and dogs alike, as Halloween celebrations are underway in celebration of this most spooktacular season. Of course, it’s fun to dress up our little four-legged companions in cute costumes that we’ve poured our hearts and creativity into to take them out to socialize and show off at parties and parades – what’s not to love? But, as pet owners, remember that it’s our job to make sure that our pets remain safe and comfortable above all else. So, let’s take a look at some tips that can help you make this Halloween fun for everyone!
- Safety First! – Obviously, the number one rule for picking out or designing pet costumes is to do so with safety in mind at all times. After all, you want your little pal to feel comfortable and secure, so put their well-being first. Use only nontoxic materials, and make sure that no part of the design will restrict your pet’s movement.
- Keep Eyesight Clear – It’s important to make sure that your pet can see at all times. If your costume happens to come with a cute mask, maybe only put it on for a quick photo or for the judging of a costume contest. You don’t want anything to cover or obstruct their vision, though. So, try to choose costumes that allow for clear lines of sight.
- Train for Basic Commands – Before you head out into a public setting, make sure that your dog knows proper commands and cues like sit, stay and wait. If you’re entering them into a costume contest, this will help show them off in their best light, but more importantly, it is important to keep them in control and steady around others.
- Skip the Shoes – Most dogs aren’t used to wearing shoes or booties on their feet, so you might want to skip these altogether. But, you can simulate the appearance of shoes by simply covering their legs with material that looks like footwear. This creative approach will ensure that their paw pads remain unrestricted.
- Try Before the Big Day – Not all pets enjoy being dressed up. So, if you want to try to put your pet in some sort of costume, be sure they’re able to try it on in advance. You want them to be used to it well before the day you choose to dress them to take them out, because for some, it will be an immediate no-go. But, for those who don’t mind getting all dolled up, you can offer them treats while wearing their fancy attire and give lots of praise for being good while being dressed. This way they associate it with something positive.
- Consider Going Mobile – If you have a smaller dog or multiple small dogs you’d like to dress up and take out on the town, consider incorporating some form of wheeled transportation into their costume, like a wagon or stroller. If you’re heading into crowds, this will ensure that they don’t accidentally get stepped on and hurt, while allowing you to create a more elaborate, fun costume idea.
- Keep Them on a Leash – In large gatherings, it’s not wise to let your pet off-leash. Remember, dogs primarily communicate through body language, but they won’t be able to do this as much when they see each other dressed in mysterious costumes that cover their bodies. This means that you may encounter more high tension situation where pets are looking for a chance to go on the attack. Make sure that your pet stays securely by your side at all times.
- Watch Out for Other Dogs – If you plan to take your dog out where there will be other dogs, like a parade, make sure that your dog is comfortable around others, first. Don’t unnecessarily put them in harms’ way because they haven’t been properly socialized or have anxiety toward other animals (or people).
When picking out or designing a costume for your pet, remember that they need to like it too. If they panic at any time or seem uncomfortable, let them take the costume off immediately. Don’t try to push them. Besides, you know they’re perfectly cute without it! So, keep these tips in mind to keep you and your furry loved ones safe and fabulous this Halloween season.