pet costume safetyIn case you haven’t noticed, costumes aren’t just for people anymore. Dressing up pets of all shapes, sizes, and species on Halloween (or anytime of the year) has become a bit of a phenomenon in recent years, and most of us have probably seen our share of cute kitties and fluffy puppies dressed to the nines.

So much effort goes into getting our pets ready for Halloween that it’s easy to overlook certain measures of safety or comfort. Before you dust off your dog’s Harry Potter costume, make sure you’re his or her Halloween is happy by practicing the principles of pet costume safety.

First Things First

Although seeing a pet in a costume is certainly adorable and funny, plenty of pets don’t share our sentiments. Sure, there are some that truly enjoy the attention they receive from a costume, or who simply don’t mind wearing clothes, but for some pets it can cause discomfort or anxiety.

If your pet displays any of the following signs of anxiety after trying on his or her costume, you will need to make some adjustments or reconsider the idea altogether:

  • Hunched back
  • Tail tucked between legs
  • Folded ears
  • Eyes rolling back or to the side
  • Running away to hide, or refusal to move altogether
  • Biting or scratching at part of the costume

Pet Costume Safety Tips

Keeping your furry friend safe is a top priority as you design his or her Halloween costume…

  • Don’t limit the senses – Avoid dressing your pet in hats, hoods, or masks that cover the face, head, or eyes.
  • Avoid choking hazards – Remove any items that could pose strangulation or choking risks, such as ribbons, bow ties, or other items tied around the neck, and small loose parts such as buttons or beads.
  • Freedom of movement – A costume should never limit a pet’s ability to breathe, eat, drink, vocalize, urinate, defecate, sit, or walk.
  • Choose bright colors – Brightly colored items make it easier for cars and other people to see your pet, especially if you have him or her out in the evening.
  • Don’t forget ID – Always keep your pet’s collar with ID tags on for safety, regardless of the type of costume he or she is wearing. If you haven’t had him or her microchipped yet, consider doing so prior to Halloween.

Pawsitively Adorable!

Now for the fun part, coming up with the purrrfect costume for your furry family member. When it comes to selecting a costume, you’re limited only by your imagination.

Popular ideas include superheroes, fairies, and movie characters, or you can stick with something simple like a business tie or Halloween bandana. Even non-traditional pets, such as rodents, snakes, and bearded dragon lizards, can get into the Halloween spirit.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to the staff at AIMSS with your questions about Halloween Pet Safety, and be sure to post a picture of your pet in his or her costume on our Facebook page!