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The spooky "side effects" of dressing up your pet for Halloween

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Just because a costume is on the shelf in the pet store doesn't mean it safely meshes with your pet's unique behavior.

Most animals are inherently photogenic and adorable, and your pet is no exception. However, some pets are more destructive than others. Some have a few more curious bones in their bodies. Some like to run freely without much more than a collar around their neck.

Consider these traits in your pet before you decide to buy a Halloween costume for them this year. Just because it's on the shelf in the pet store doesn't mean it safely meshes with your pet's unique behavior. Costumes are certainly worth it for memories and Halloween walks at your local parks, but it's important to protect your pet from potential costume hazards.

Too tight around the neck or chest

Similar to your pet's collar, the neck portion of the costume shouldn't strap too tightly around their neck. Their collar should already be on underneath, and that should have about two fingers worth of space between the neck and the collar. Fit the costume's neck strap around the collar so that you're using the collar as the baseline instead of your pet's neck. Use the same two-finger rule for the chest part of the costume. These precautions are especially important for breeds with short snouts because they already struggle to breathe without any additional restrictions.

Skin irritation

Beware of certain fabrics that might cause an allergic reaction or another type of irritation on your pet's skin. These fabric allergens are normally found in their beds, but some costumes might use similar materials. When you wash the costume, detergents might also cause allergic reactions in your pet. Observe your pet, make sure they aren't itching excessively or acting strangely, and consult a veterinarian if you are concerned about any new symptoms.

Dangly items

Antennas, extra legs, wings, capes, and any other decorations that hang loosely from your pet's costume can be dangerous. If they're too floppy, they could trip your pet while they're walking. If they're not attached very well, they could fall off and tempt your pet to eat them. Always store the costume somewhere your pet can't reach it when they're not wearing it. They will likely think it's an exotic chew toy if you leave it on the ground or on a low shelf.

Tracking in stuff/pests from outside

Many costumes have Velcro straps around the midsection. Be careful that the straps are aligned correctly because any part of the strap that is left open could pick up some debris or tiny critters from the ground. Your pet may try to squirm out of their costume by rolling around on the ground, so you should brush them off before bringing them in the house to avoid a mess and potential bites from bugs who hitched a ride.

Using the proper gear

Wearing a costume doesn't excuse you from putting the right gear on your pet. Make sure their regular collar with their tags can still fit around their neck. If you're going to take your pet for a long walk, their harness should fit around or underneath the costume. If it doesn't, then you should save the costume for picture time before or after your exercise session.

Have fun with your pet this Halloween! By following these precautions, you'll squeal with delight about your pet's cuteness rather than scream with fright about an unforeseen emergency.

Have a question about pet health? Want to become the best possible pet parent? Find helpful tips, reminders, and insight to giving your furry friend the best possible care with For Pet's Sake! Learn more at drdevonsmith.com.