Pets and Halloween | to Costume or not to Costume, that is the Question

In her latest column, North Bend resident and pet trainer at Miss Lola’s Academy for Wayward Dogs, Melissa Grant, takes on the topic of whether or not to dress pets up for Halloween, which apparently has become big business these days.  Have a thought to add or a picture to share?  Leave a comment!

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To “Anthropomorphize” is to attribute human form or personality to things not human.

I admit I frown upon dressing up dogs. Unless a dog is very old or has very short hair, I say let them be dogs! Don’t make them wear that Seahawks jersey or dress them up in a Halloween costume. And don’t get me started on dogs in skirts or dresses, it’s just plain silly.

I realize I am somewhat alone in this opinion. Clothing and costumes for pets is a booming market here in the U.S. and abroad. Go into any Target and you can buy anything from sweaters to coats and dinosaur costumes. Functional clothing is very important for our animal friend’s warmth, with waterproofing being the number one reason we cloth our dogs. But now, it seems, less functional clothing is all the rage.

This time of year every large retailer and pet store has racks and racks of Halloween costumes for dogs and cats. But is it a good idea?

Most of it is harmless fun and the pet spends a very limited amount of time in the costume. They go out to enjoy trick or treating with their human families or for a cute photo-op. As long as the costume doesn’t cause them undue stress, impede their movements or limit their ability to rest or relieve themselves, it’s not a big deal.

Where care needs to be taken is in interactions with other animals while in costume. Animals rely on body language to communicate with each other  – and a dog dressed head to toe in a pumpkin costume is going to be severely limited in his or her ability to “talk” to other animals. Your sweet pumpkin may be interpreted wrongly by another dog and face aggression or conversely be unable to say what he means and react aggressively himself.

So go, have fun at that pet costume contest or out trick or treating on Halloween. Just be aware of what’s going on with your pet and intervene on their behalf when their safety depends on it. Your pet will be happier and healthier and your night will be more peaceful.

As for me, I still think the trend is silly. But I guess I can be silly with my Bee for one night anyway. Enjoy these pictures of some of your valley neighbor’s pets in costume. Happy Halloween! Woof!

bee

super dog

rocker kitty

chicken dog

kitty witch

top tog

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