Tomorrow is Halloween. Candy apples, candy corn, trick or treating and costume parties. Permission granted to dress up as someone else or something else, with extra credit given for all those novel costumes, you know the ones. I will never forget the one where the clever person circled an eye with black makeup and pinned a large cardboard "P" to her chest. Get it? A black-eyed P! How about a favorite superhero or royalty, especially of the fairy tale kind, think princesses. Children love getting the chance to wear these costumes and some of the adults do too. But what about our pets? When was the last time you heard the dog ask the cat: "What are you going to be for Halloween?" Thought so. Sure it is an absolutely adorable photo opportunity to costume your canine or fit your feline out in finery but shall we take a peek behind the curtain before you starting picking out outfits for your furry friends?
Cats and dogs do not wear clothes on a regular basis and will most probably not be comfortable wearing them. As cute as your baby may be in that outfit think about whether or not they would really want to wear it. And if your pet exhibits signs of discomfort such as pawing at the outfit, rubbing against a wall in the outfit, biting at it, etc. Know that your pet is telling you how very much they would like you to remove it.
Introducing your pet to constricting garments may be dangerous as well. You want your pet to be able to move comfortably and not be fitted into tight garments. Be especially carefully about leg openings that cut into the body. Many garments sold for pets are not tailored to fit the different body counters of pets and are modified from children's patterns. You want to make sure your pet can move freely and that no parts of the fabric are pulling or digging into the animal's body.
Make sure no parts of the outfits can be dislodged either by curious mouths or be stepped on or over. Buttons or bands or bows are easily chewed on and can pose a medical concern if swallowed. Capes need to be long enough not to be stepped on and not too long to trip over.
Make sure to take them off quickly. If you must dress them and then undress them. Keeping your pets in outfits for a short amount of time in the most comfortable of circumstances will insure that your companion animals associate positive experiences with dress up.
Don't go for the costume and have your pet be the "naked ________________________." You fill in the blank for your own clever pet "uncostume."
Have a safe and happy Halloween!
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