For many pet owners, dressing up the family dog or cat in festive Halloween costumes is a key part of the fall holiday. There is nothing more fun than finding the perfect costume to reflect your pet's inner personality. Unfortunately, we often forget that our beloved family pets are animals--with animal instincts and characteristics that can make our fun Halloween costume traditions a little risky. What can you do make sure that your pet's Halloween costume is safe this October? There are five things to remember about pet Halloween costume safety.
Consider your pet's personality quirks when selecting his Halloween costume. I have a cat that eats plastic in any shape, size or location. I cannot safely put him in a commercial costume with a hint of plastic composition. He gets DIY costumes of the cloth variety. Our foxhound hates having anything on his head; it sends him into a head-shaking frenzy. Cute, little Halloween head gear is out of the question. Take a step back and realistically examine a costume's cuteness factor. Consider your pet's personality quirks before stuffing him into a costume that he either will not tolerate or that could harm him.
Human hair dyes may not be pet safe. The Halloween costume aisles contain rows of fun human costume accessories that creative pet owners buy as pet costume accessories. While some human accessories may be pet friendly, all are not. Dyes intended for human hair may not be intended or safe for pets as they are more likely to ingest the dye by licking the colored fur. Make sure that any dye used on your dog or cat is safe for pets. Even if you do not think your pet will try to lick the dye away, it is best to choose a pet-safe dye.
Frequently inspect pet costumes for safety risks. Inspect a pet's costume in much the same way as you would inspect a child's costume. Costume inspection is especially critical if the costume has seen years of wear or is not of the best quality. Look for loose embellishments or items on the costume that pose a choking hazard--or a digestive tract risk if your pet manages to swallow it. Add extra stitching or glue to anything that seems loose. Watch for signs of wear or damage and remove the costume immediately.
Buy properly fitted pet costumes. Make sure that your pet's costume fits snugly and does not pose a tripping or entanglement hazard. Also, the costume should not offer any potential for strangulation. Avoid trying a pet's costume around his neck. Try to find a costume that secures to your pet's collar or harness or has enclosures that break away easily when entangled.
Always supervise your pet when he wears a Halloween costume. If you pet becomes agitated while dressed up for Halloween, he may hurt himself. Costumes have a way of shifting during wear, especially if the animal tries to wriggle free of the outfit. Keep an eye on your pet and his costume for signs that he needs your help or needs a costume break. Never leave your costumed pet unsupervised.