Halloween is for the dogs (and cats)

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Halloween is for the dogs (and cats)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Before buying a costume for a pet, take a look at the top 10 pet costumes, according to the National Retail Association:

1. Pumpkin
2. Hot dog
3. Superhero/Cat
4. Bumblebee
5. Ghost

6. Bat
7. Lion
8. Dog/Witch
9. Devil/Pirate
10. Batman

Source: National Retail Foundation

Camp Bow Wow, a doggie daycare provider with 160 locations throughout North America, put together the list of ways caretakers can keep their furry friends safe. When it comes to costume safety, they said it’s important to pay attention to cues from pets. The Animal Humane Society (AHS) of Minnesota agrees that pet parents should let their pets take the lead in this case.

Check out some recommendations below:

  • Pets shouldn’t be forced to wear that cute pumpkin costume (or any costume): “For some animals, wearing a costume is downright miserable. Only dress up your pet if you’re sure they’re comfortable and not stressed while wearing their outfit. If your pet’s not having fun, you won’t either,” said AHS.
  • Choose practical, comfortable looks: “Costumes should not constrict your pet’s movement, hearing, or sight, or impede their ability to breathe, bark, or meow. Before your pet participates in any Halloween activities, take a closer look at their costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces,” Camp Bow Wow said. They also said its important to consider the temperature. If a costume is too heavy it could cause a pet to become overheated. Costumes should be made of non-toxic materials and free of bits that could be chewed off, said AHS. They also said to limit the use of masks or shoes.
  • Help pets get comfortable with their costumes: Have a trial run and let pets inspect costumes before Halloween. “Get your animal used to the costume before the big day! Offer tons of treats while your pet wears the costume for ‘practice,’ and associate the costume with positive experiences,” AHS said. “Allow your dog or cat to sniff the costume first and pet it with the costume so it smells like them.”

Costumes aren’t the only thing that can be dangerous to pets during the Halloween season. Candy should be stored in a place inaccessible to pets—especially chocolate, because it’s toxic for both dogs and cats, said Camp Bow Wow.

Care should also be taken when putting up decorations. “An authentic jack-o-lantern, complete with a lit candle inside, may look amazing, but it’s a serious fire hazard if your pet or even a child bumps into it,” Camp Bow Wow said. “While mini pumpkins and gourds are considered to be relatively nontoxic, they can cause upset stomachs should a curious pet nibble on them.”

Have a pet that gets upset when trick or treaters ring the doorbell or come to the door? Camp Bow Wow and AHS said putting them in a separate room will make things easier for both pets and pet parents.

“If your pet is shy or fearful by nature, now is not the time to try to make them a social butterfly,” AHS said. “Plan to confine them in a safe, quiet room, as far away from the commotion as possible. Play a radio, TV, or white-noise machine to muffle noises.”

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