Keep costumes for people, not pets

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Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection | October 31, 2013

MADISON – Before you dress your dachshund as a hot dog or your pug as a minion for a happy little jaunt around the neighborhood, animal health officials encourage you to think about the safety aspects of the decision.

“Some pets have temperaments that will tolerate our quirky desire to dress them up in costumes, but many prefer their birthday suits,” says Dr. Yvonne Bellay, Animal Welfare Program Manager for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection. “Putting them in costumes can cause undue stress for the animal, not to mention dangers that you may not immediately think of like allergies or choking.”

Before making the decision to dress up your pet for Halloween, consider some of these important points:

•Make sure the costume isn't annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the animal's movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. If a pet costume comes with a mask, don't use it. While some dogs will love dressing up, they usually aren't too keen on masks. If you absolutely must use a mask on your pet, make sure that the eyeholes have plenty of room to see and that there is nothing covering the nose or confining the mouth.

•Try on costumes before the big night. If your pet seems distressed, allergic or shows abnormal behavior, consider letting him go au naturale or donning a festive bandana.

•Take a close look at your pet's costume and make sure it does not have small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.


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