Halloween and Your Dog Isn't Laughing
Safe Halloween Dog Costumes
Not all dogs get as big a kick out of being
dressed up for Halloween as their owners. Dog costumes can be
uncomfortable, ungainly and dangerous for our canine friends. Some dog
lovers outfit their pets in wire-wrapped wings, hotdog buns and other
types of get-ups that can hamper a dog's movement and dig into the hide.
Masks over the face can inhibit vision and make it difficult for the
animal to see safely. Humorous as a dressed-up dog may look, is it worth
sacrificing the comfort of the animal? With a touch of ingenuity and a few
safety measures, your fur-buddy could be the life of your Halloween
Use a costume without wiring, if possible.
If the costume is wired, ensure that the wires are covered and have no
sharp ends sticking out. Check the fit on the dog. The wire shouldn't be
so tight that it dents the dog's hide. It should fit without squeezing the
animal in any way.
If the costume has a mask or head piece,
again ensure it fits without hampering the animal's field of vision or
have a part of it that touches the eyes. A dog cannot adjust the garment
itself. The ears should be unencumbered and sit at a natural angle. The
costume's head gear should have a strap under the jaw to keep it in place
and from slipping over the dog's face. The strap should be secure, but not
too tight. The nose should not be covered; the canine sense of smell is a
dog's most acute sense.
Boots or shoes should be used with caution.
Dogs who aren't used to wearing footwear can have difficulty navigating
stairs and sidewalks, especially in places to which they are unfamiliar or
too dark. Use a spat-like foot covering that doesn't extend to the pad
area of the paws.
A piece or two of candy will thrill your
fur-baby. Dogs love a sweet now and then, but watch that small children
don't feed the dog too much. Be sure to explain that dogs should not be
given chocolate or raisins.
Taking a few extra minutes to inspect last
year's canine costume might mean the difference between fun and
discomfort. If the animal chews at a part of it, walks differently or
whimpers, you will know it isn't fitting right. Wash any dog garment if it
has been stored in moth balls or other chemical preservative.
Weather permitting, take your dog with you
and the kids for trick or treats, but be sure to keep it well away from
small children if it is prone to excitability or aggression. Some kids get
scared and even a small dog doesn't seem so small to a little child. Keep
the dog on a leash for everyone's comfort. The leash will help you to
control the animal and pull it back from rough little hands or too many
Halloween can be as fun for your dog as it
is for you provided you both enjoy the holiday safely.
© 2010 JAS