Oh the things we do to our companion animals around holiday times – all in the name of good fun and affection. Halloween amplifies all these tendencies. And empties our wallets, according to the National Retail Federation: Pet owners will spend approximately $330 million on Halloween gear for their companion animals this year.
But when it comes to costumes, few animals will be immediately comfortable walking around as a wolf or a pumpkin unless they’ve been practicing. It’s just like a theatre performance; every production has a dress rehearsal or two. Most animals don’t routinely wear clothing – perhaps only during inclement weather or a harness / backpack during long hikes.
Here’s a few other tips – for their safety and ours – courtesy of the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
- Be sure the pet’s ID is still immediately visible, for everyone’s peace of mind.
Guarantee movement and breathing ability are not impaired while in costume.
- Watch out for noise! It took five years before Spice stopped running and hiding every time a plastic bag moves (she has since learned said objects might contain food and therefore are not all bad), but costumes have lace and buckles and snaps and swishy things that can create frightening and unfamiliar sounds very close to the body.
During dress rehearsal, try to create an atmosphere of bonding. Every time an article of costume is put into place, give a tiny treat or kisses or pats on the head. Otherwise it may seem as much fun as going to the vet.
Of course, no one needs to be reminded that the loot bag or the bucket located near the door full of treats sure to contribute to juvenile tooth decay need to be monitored so pets can’t get into them. But that’s just a reminder.
For more information, see the ASPCA home page and recent blog posts.