9 Reasons Not to Dress up Your Dog for Halloween
by Dr. Karen Becker
Please note: The following also applies to cats and other companion animals, but since it's dogs we most often see in Halloween costumes, I'm referring to them to illustrate my point.
1. Dogs aren't humans. Unlike an adult human, or even a child, your dog can't tell you with words how he feels about being dressed up. But it's a sure bet if he's trying like crazy to get those tuxedo trousers off, he doesn't like them. He may be itchy and overheating. It may feel confining. It may even be terrifying.
Now, if your pet doesn't mind dressing up, is not panicked or upset while wearing the clothing, then all is probably well. Get your pictures taken. Do the costume party walk-through (and hopefully your dog wins!), then take the costume off. And while it's on, please be vigilant about monitoring your pet's body temperature and ensuring the costume is not too constricting or abrasive to tender skin.
2. Dogs aren't dress-up dolls. They aren't inanimate objects or toys to play with. They are sentient beings with their own perceptions and feelings. 'Owning' a dog doesn't give us license to force things on her for our own amusement. Yes, those photos of dressed up dogs are darn cute -- but only to humans.
3. It's unnatural. Your dog has her own wardrobe – it's called fur. It's a good bet she's not interested in fashion, even if you are. If your pet likes being naked, you should respect that. Also, adult dogs who weren't dressed up as puppies will rarely find the experience enjoyable, so you should respect that as well.
4. Most dogs just plain hate wearing costumes. If you're honest with yourself, you'll probably recognize that even if your dog isn't fighting tooth-and-nail against that ballerina tutu, she wants nothing to do with it and it's a huge relief once it's off. Remember those cute photos of dressed up dogs? Ever notice the dogs never look amused?
I've experimented with putting clothes on all of my dogs for a few minutes. Their responses ranged from standing completely still, refusing to walk, to a fight or flight response, indicating they are stressed. My dogs don't do costumes. Rosco does sweaters; more on that later.
5. It's probably humiliating. Since you don't know what your dog is feeling and he can't tell you, it's quite possible he's shamed and embarrassed in a costume. Imagine you arrive at work one morning and you're met at the door by the boss. To your shock and dismay, you're forced out of your clothes right down to your underwear, and told you'll be spending the day in your skivvies. You're mortified, and all day long co-workers pass by your desk, laugh and take pictures of you to email and post on Facebook.
Is this anthropomorphizing? Yes. Do we know dog behaviors and responses change after haircuts and being shaved? Yes. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.
6. It can be hazardous to the dog's health. Depending on the outfit, the temperature, the type of fur on your dog and his weight, it's easier than you might think for him to overheat inside that costume. Dogs have also been injured when their range of motion, vision or hearing is restricted by a costume. Injuries also occur when dogs try frantically to remove the costume. Buttons, bows and other small accessories can be pulled off and choked on or swallowed.
Last year I saw a corneal abrasion (scratched eye) from a bumble bee head piece that had slipped forward across the dog's eye. He couldn't even use his paw to try and rub the material out because the bumble bee suit was so constricting he couldn't extend his arms.
7. Your dog wants to make you happy. If she doesn't seem to mind being costumed, it's probably because she senses it pleases you. Most dogs live for the attention and approval of their human. So if your dog seems happy in her costume, it's probably because she's getting positive feedback from you. Teach her a new trick or command instead and reward her with praise and approval. Give her attention by taking her for a walk, or bathing and brushing her.
8. Dog outfits are expensive. I recommend you take the money you'd spend dressing up your dog and use it instead to upgrade the type of food you feed your pet. Or purchase a puzzle toy to stimulate his mind. Or put that money toward an acupuncture or chiropractic treatment. In other words, use those funds to provide your pet with something that will improve his health and quality of life.
9. This is about your dog. Consider him first and your own desires second. It's hard to go wrong that way.
By Dr. Peter Dobias
Hi my dog lovers,
Halloween is a spooky time and we should embrace our wild and crazy sides to celebrate. Normally, I am not into dressing dogs up but lately, I have been thinking that dogs love to have fun and get attention, and some of them may actually love to be in costume.
However, Halloween brings a few more serious challenges to our dogs:
What to do if your dog is sensitive to noise
I suggest that you give a remedy called Aconitum or Aconite. Most homeopathic pharmacies and health stores carry either 6C or 30 C potency. Give one dose, three larger (a mint sized) or 20 ( a poppy seed sized) pellets in the morning, a second dose at noon and a third dose in the evening. If you need to give the treatment for longer than 24 hours, repeat 1 to two doses per day for up to 3 days.
Most dogs respond well to the treatment and it has no side effects.
What to do if your dog eats an indigestible object.
Some of you have already read my blog but this is such an important article, that I decided to share it with you again. I also hope that you will share it with those you care about.
Happy Halloween and please keep your dog safe and stress free!
I have personally watched my two dogs on Halloween and they did like the people but it seemed hard for them to feel comfortable with a person wearing a mask for they would recognize the voice but couldn't see the face so that was confusing to them. They enjoyed seeing the people without masks much better. This can be stressful for our pets when there is a lot of commotion and they don't understand what is going on since this isn't their normal activity. This also has to do with putting a costume on a pet. Some animals are used to having things on them but others aren't and having something strange on them also with a lot of commotion can cause the animal anxiety so pay attention to your animals signals.
I also use a calming blend of essential oils for an animal that might get stressed with the door bell ringing and children hollering "Trick or Treat". I personally won't put my dogs through that since one is a bit more sensitive to excessive loud noises.
HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS FOR YOUR BELOVED COMPANION ANIMAL
I have shared this information each year but I do want to keep our pets safe so please take the time to check this out.
Halloween is associated with spooky haunted houses, pet costumes (in the case of pet parents) and most of all, Halloween candy! Candy can be toxic and very dangerous to pets. Below are five dangerous Halloween candies for dogs and cats.
1. Candy Corn & Other High Sugar Candy
Candies that are made with pure sugar can cause severe gas and diarrhea. The sugar not only provides a great source of food for gut bacteria to indulge in, it can also pull water into the colon and cause a bad case of diarrhea.
2. Chocolate Covered Raisins
These tasty treats combine two potentially deadly ingredients in dogs and cats. Chocolate is toxic to pets and can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea and seizures. Raisins (and other grape products) can cause severe kidney failure. The two of these combined is the ultimate toxic nightmare for pets. If your pet eats any chocolate covered raisins this Halloween, take them to your veterinarian immediately for treatment.
3. Candy with Wrappers
When dogs get into the candy bowl, they don’t usually bother to unwrap the treats first. Plastic and foil wrappers pose a health risk since they can cause an obstruction in the intestines and irritate the lining of the GI tract. Sometimes, pets can pass the wrappers without a problem, but it is best to keep all wrapped treats away from pets just in case.
4. Bite-size Hard Candy
Hard candy often has a delicious taste to dogs. These treats pose a major choking hazard for pets. Hard candy becomes slippery when mixed with saliva and it can be inhaled into the trachea (wind pipe), causing a choking hazard. Be sure to keep these candies away from dogs and cats.
5. Sugar-Free Gum
This type of gum may contain Xylitol, a sugar-substitute. it can be deadly if ingested by a dog or cat.
Xylitol causes a severe drop in blood sugar that can happen within minutes after ingestion. Pets may become lethargic, unable to walk and start having seizures. If they survive the initial symptoms, they often will have severe liver damage and potentially fatal liver failure. This is the most dangerous type of Halloween candy for pets.
Keep your pet safe this Halloween by keeping all of your Halloween treats in a safe, secure place. Remember, up on the counter may not be out of reach - my dog Pepper would "counter surf." Best to put candy in drawers or cupboards.