Top Halloween costume safety tips for pets

(NC) -- Are you dressing your pet up for trick or treating?

As with our own children, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to costume safety. Before you dress up your four-legged friends, the leading retailer, PetSmart, offers some valuable guidance:

Tags: Your pets should always have identification and registration tags on their collars. This simple little rule is even more important at this time of year when they will be exposed to many opportunities for escape. Think about how many times you open your door on Halloween night!

Don't force it: If your dog or cat doesn't want to wear a costume, don't force the issue. Try getting them comfortable with the costume first. Start slow, dressing them in pieces to gauge their reaction.

Make sure it's comfortable: A costume should never confine, constrain or aggravate your pet.

Watch for loose parts and chewing hazards: Once the costume is on and is fitted properly, make sure there isn't anything that could be a trip or burn hazard, like a cape or long flowing hair. Check the costume for little parts that are within biting or chewing distance.

Make sure they can see, hear, and breathe freely: Look closely at the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and throat of your dog or cat once they are dressed. If you need to, make physical adjustments to the costume, especially if it increases their ability to see, hear and breathe. This may include changes to the eye and ear holes, or removing whole portions of the outfit.

Additional information on pet safety or costume ideas is available online at


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