Spooky season doesn’t have to be scary! A lot of us enjoy dressing up in costumes for Halloween, and that can include our pets. But sometimes wearing a costume can be a very scary event for an animal. So here are some tips to make the experience less frightening!
Buy the costume well in advanced, before the event is planned. For example, a party, contest, or parade.
When first introducing your pet (cat or dog!) to the costume, simply take it out of the packaging and let your pet sniff it all over! Make this a supervised play, so that you can monitor their reaction and help create a positive experience. Try to avoid letting them play with it like a toy, but rather just accept its new smells and existence. Give lots of praise and treats for calm and positive behavior! (You may need to repeat this step a couple times in order for your pet to move on.)
Once your pet is comfortable around the costume laying on the ground, you can try putting it on them. Depending on what the costume is, you may try smaller parts first (like a hat or a shirt). Give lots of praise and treats the whole time, even if you don’t get the costume completely all the way on! Do as many sessions of this as it takes to get the costume fully on them comfortably (without them fighting you).
Have your pet wear the costume for short periods of time. This might range from 1 minute to 5 minutes depending on your pet’s tolerance. Even if your pet does great with the costume for a short time, still take it off and give them a break. This lets them know that you aren’t leaving it on them forever, and builds confidence and trust with the costume.
Consistently put the costume on (multiple times a day if possible) and increase the amount of time they wear it each session. At least once a day is a good base for them to become very accustom to the costume.
Be sure to supervise all costume sessions, to make sure no parts are ingested or torn up, and to keep it positive!
Every pet is different, so some steps make take longer or go quicker! Some might need repeated more often.
Before you know it, your pet will be hanging out in their costume at length without issue!
Now you can show off your adorable (or silly or scary!) pet in their costume and know that they are confident and comfortable!
Join us for our Howl-O-Ween Costume Contest on October 31st! Check out our facebook page for more info!