Dressing up your beloved pet has taken its rightful place alongside haunted house jaunts, carving pumpkins to look like Twilight’s Edward Cullen, and candy corn gorge fests as a Halloween must-do. You love it. And your kids absolutely adore the idea. Wait, Mommy, so Fido and I both get to dress up as Hermione Granger?!
But what does your dog—or cat or gerbil—think? Does he relish his few hours guised as Inspector Clouseau? Not really, say experts.
“Many dogs hate things on their feet,” said veterinarian Terry Marie Curtis, a clinical behaviorist for the Department of Small Animal Clinical Services at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, to the Associated Press. “This is true because it can alter how they perceive where they’re walking.”
Fear not, fair pet owner.
There are plenty of tricks you can pull out of your black hat to ensure your beloved furry family member enjoys his moonlit night of trick or treating with the rest of the neighborhood ghosts, goblins, and Lady Gagas.
— For fussy animals, like cats, try a beginner costume of accessories, like angel, fairy, or bat wings.
—The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals warns that costumes should not limit an animal’s “hearing, sight or ability to breathe, bark, eat, drink or eliminate. And watch for choking hazards.”
—Before Halloween, allow the pets to smell the costumes, both theirs and those worn by the kids of the household, to help alleviate pet fear.
—Be wary of restrictive costumes with elastic parts; they can cause chafing that can go unnoticed under a pet’s fur.