Desperately seeking a dog-friendly Halloween party this year. San Francisco is a blast, but it gets a bit expensive year after year.
Suki is already orange so all that needs to be done is to dye her head green and she’ll be a darling little pumpkin.
Geneva is a very German German shepherd and so her colors will have to be muted to make her a convincing “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” She will look quite menacing when she is wearing her fangs and ear points.
Oh the things we do to our companion animals! Even our plants are not immune: they are surrounded with lights twinkling and lighting up with ghosts and goblins. Halloween amplifies all these tendencies.
It’s difficult to remember that animals are not like children. They can’t always communicate clearly when they are uncomfortable. All we have is ears, eyes, a down tail and unfortunately a wail and a growl to let us know something is rotten in the state of dog-dom.
When it comes to costumes, few animals will be immediately comfortable walking around as a wolf or a pumpkin unless they’ve been practicing. It’s just like a theatre performance; every production has a dress rehearsal or two. Most animals don’t routinely wear clothing – perhaps only during inclement weather or a harness / backpack during long hikes.
Vets and animal behaviorists routinely suggest animals go into training for wearing such devices, primarily so they don’t hurt themselves trying to get out of it – scratching against a tree or even clawing themselves.
Here’s a few other tips – for their safety and ours – courtesy of the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
• Make sure there aren’t any parts or pieces that dangle or could be a trip factor or chewed off.
• Be sure the pet’s ID is still immediately visible, for everyone’s peace of mind.
• Guarantee movement and breathing ability are not impaired while in costume.
• Watch out for noise! It took five years before Spice stopped running and hiding every time a plastic bag moves (she has since learned said objects might contain food and therefore are not all bad), but costumes have lace and buckles and snaps and swishy things that can create frightening and unfamiliar sounds very close to the body.
• During dress rehearsal, try to create an atmosphere of bonding. Every time an article of costume is put into place, give a tiny treat or kisses or pats on the head. Otherwise it may seem as much fun as going to the vet.
Of course, no one needs to be reminded that the loot bag or the bucket located near the door full of treats sure to contribute to juvenile tooth decay need to be monitored so pets can’t get into them. But that’s just a reminder.
For more information, see the ASPCA home page.