Throughout the month of October, pet supply warehouses and pet boutiques fill their retail racks with an array of Halloween costumes for dogs. Few pet owners can resist including their furry friends in the Halloween festivities of dressing in costumes that range from cute and charming to bewitching and devilish. Some families even cast their canine companions as part of a collective costume theme in which all family members dress for a role. Before you ponder costume options, consider how your dog really feels about the idea.
Do Halloween Clothes Usually Make the Dog?
While dogs are not typically clad in clothing, dog apparel has become increasingly popular, especially for toy breeds that doting owners tote along everywhere. If your dog is one of those fashion divas or dapper dressers throughout the year, then it will likely be unfazed by the notion of donning dog Halloween costumes. This will be perceived as just another day of getting dressed. However, if the only manner of clothing that your Labrador retriever ever makes contact with is the harness worn on hiking expeditions, then a Halloween costume may seem foreign and awkward to him.
Respect Your Dog’s Cues
Every dog is a unique individual and reacts in its own unique way to every situation. Even the Labrador retriever that does not normally wear clothing may bask in the admiring attention that a Halloween costume attracts. Let your dog have its day if it usually thrives on being the center of attention. However, if it simply stands there looking miserable and demoralized once you dress your dog in a Halloween costume, you need to acknowledge that it is not enjoying this Halloween tradition and should not be forced to continue wearing the costume. Your dog may seem accepting of the bumblebee outfit, but he repeatedly tries to paw off the antennae-waving headpiece accessory. Respect your dog’s wishes and acquiesce from making it wear the headpiece.
Consider the Setting
What will you be dressing your dog in a Halloween costume for? If you plan on bringing your dog to a local pet costume parade or gathering, consider how it normally interacts with other dogs and how it typically behaves when walked in bustling public areas on a leash. If the answer is less than favorable, your dog may feel vulnerable and react even more adversely when you add a costume to the scenario. If your dog usually revels in stepping out among the populous, then these events are a perfect opportunity to let your dog strut in a Halloween costume. If your dog is a ham for the family shutterbug, then holding a seasonal photo shoot of your costumed subject is another fun activity. Only dress your dog in a Halloween costume for events or settings in which it is comfortable. No matter how cute a costume may be, the photographs will not reflect that if the dog appears unhappy in every shot.
A Proper Fit
Even if your dog is amenable to wearing a costume, the ensemble will be much better tolerated if it fits comfortably. The costume should not restrict the dog’s movements, and it should not cover the face and ears to interfere with vision, hearing, breathing or panting. Opt for lightweight material that allows airflow so that the dog does not become overheated. Keep in mind that if the dog is attempting to strip, this is a signal that it is either unhappy or uncomfortable.
Taking Your Dog´s Halloween Costume Off
Even the most patient dog has its limits. As soon as the costume event or photo shoot is over, remove the costume from your dog. Never leave your dog dressed in its costume unsupervised. When the dog has had enough, it will try to remove the costume itself. This can result in strangling in the struggle or choking on decorative accessories that have been chewed off. Liberating your dog of its costume before it begins struggling to carry out the deed itself can ensure a warmer reception to Halloween costumes in future years than if the dog is left to feel trapped in the outfit.
Dog Halloween costumes can provide memorable fun as long as your dog clearly enjoys the attention. If the sensation of being dressed in clothing or the uneasiness of being gawked at is disturbing to your dog, have the respect to refrain from this activity and find another way to celebrate Halloween with your dog, such as buying a few Halloween-themed dog cookies instead of the costume. Find here tips on pet safety during Halloween.