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Do You Know How Your Dog Feels In That Costume?

dog halloween costumes

by Ryan O’Quinn, October 30, 2017

Last year, we published a blog post called Your Dog’s HOWL-O-WEEN Survival Guide, which addressed issues concerning the health, safety and well-being of your dog on Halloween.

This year, we decided to discuss a more specific topic of whether your dog actually likes you dressing him/her up as Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Be careful, dressing your dog up in either one of those costumes could come off quite insulting to your fur buddy. You’ve been warned! That said, we must deviate away from anything political…

Your dog may react to wearing a costume much like he does when he hears fireworks on the Fourth of July: run and hide. The most important thing to be aware of is your dog’s response. If your dog shows signs of irritation or discomfort, it’s best to remove the costume. You can try it again another time, but be mindful that he just might not be comfortable with dog Halloween outfits.

Signs to look for that tell you your dog’s just not into it: eyes roll back or he’s looking to the side, has folded ears, tail between his legs, scratches at the costume, or makes a mad dash to get as far away from you and that dreadful canine costume as possible. Those are pretty clear signs you should stop while he still loves you.

One of the biggest concerns when clothing or dressing up a dog is the weather and climate in which you live. Clothing a dog in cold weather is actually ok, especially if you notice your dog shivering. However, it does not necessarily mean he’ll like it.

Conversely, heat stroke is another problem you can encounter if you live in warmer climates. If your dog is a type of breed that comes equipped with an amount of fur that would keep an Eskimo warm in the Tundra, you may want to reconsider costuming your dog. There are certain materials like wool and nylon that hold heat longer than others like cotton and silk. The signs and symptoms below could mean your dog is over-heated and possibly lead to heat stroke.

According to PetMD, hyperthermia can be categorized as either fever or non-fever hyperthermias; heat stroke is a common form of the latter. Symptoms of both types include:

  1. Panting
  2. Dehydration
  3. Excessive drooling (ptyalism)
  4. Increased body temperature – above 103° F (39° C)
  5. Reddened gums and moist tissues of the body
  6. Production of only small amounts of urine or no urine
  7. Sudden (acute) kidney failure
  8. Rapid heart rate
  9. Irregular heartbeats
  10. Shock
  11. Stoppage of the heart and breathing (cardiopulmonary arrest)
  12. Fluid build-up in the lungs; sudden breathing distress (tachypnea)
  13. Blood-clotting disorder(s)
  14. Vomiting blood (hematemesis)
  15. Passage of blood in the bowel movement or stool
  16. Black, tarry stools
  17. Small, pinpoint areas of bleeding
  18. Generalized (systemic) inflammatory response syndrome
  19. Disease characterized by the breakdown of red-muscle tissue
  20. Death of liver cells
  21. Changes in mental status
  22. Seizures
  23. Muscle tremors
  24. Wobbly, uncoordinated or drunken gait or movement (ataxia)
  25. Unconsciousness in which the dog cannot be stimulated to be awakened

Unfortunately, canine costumes are not breed-specific. Although dogs that are calm and well-balanced seem to tolerate Halloween canine costumes slightly more than the more neurotic ones, using a costume to cover up their natural coat can cause them stress and anxiety. It’s all about the dog’s temperament. If you’re the kind of dog owner who played dress up when your dog was just a pup, you may have better luck. A dog that has never worn a costume before, but is highly motivated by praise, could do great in a costume if the owners praise the dog during the experience. Rewarding them with a treat couldn’t hurt either.

So, regardless of what we say or any recommendations we make here, we know if you have your mind set on costuming your dog this Halloween you’re gonna do it. Totally fine by us! We love to see the creativity that goes into each canine costume, especially when it matches the personality of the dog wearing it.

On that note, we’ll leave you with these great canine costumes for some ideas if dressing up your pooch this Halloween.

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