Halloweens Coming, Better Grab a Costume

Cat Dressed as a Buzy Bee

Will you plump for a glow in the dark skeleton, go for the creativity of a cobweb covered witch, or stick with a plain old red devil? With Halloween galloping into sight faster than a headless horseman, it’s the question on everybody’s lips.

It may surprise you to hear that buying your child a Halloween costume is no longer top of every parent’s to-do list. Finding a fancy dress outfit for the children’s furry, four-legged ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ is fast becoming a must.

Increasing numbers of pet owners are warming to the idea of dressing up their pets, not just for Halloween but all year around. In the UK, the growing pet coat and costume market is worth over £30m per year, and in the States it’s a hefty £226m ($370m). If it’s good enough for them, it usually ends up being good enough for us.

Clothing for animals is nothing new. Ancient Greek armies put leather boots on their horses to protect them from the snow, while more recently and closer to home, warm jackets have been sported by racing greyhounds, while police dogs and horses have been known to take on fluorescent coverings while keeping order.

Such practical applications are far removed from the increasing clamour to indulge our sense of fun though. Many people will be looking to turn their pets into pumpkins and spiders come the end of October.

The RSPCA sees the trend of dressing animals up as appropriate in some circumstances. For old, bald or poorly dogs, a layer of extra warmth or waterproofing may be beneficial.

"There can be clear benefits from animals wearing some forms of clothing such as for warmth and waterproofing," says the RSPCA. "However, functionality must always come before fashion and the clothing must have a clear welfare benefit when dressing animals."
Not all animals are going to be receptive to wearing garments, no matter how small or insignificant you think an item may be. Don’t force them to wear anything against their will and if you do get as far as a fitting, make sure it doesn’t choke or chafe.
For the happiest of Halloweens, ensure your pet can perform normal functions, such as walking and taking toilet time. 

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