Oxford Vet Says Stay Cautious of Pet Halloween Costumes

Story contributed by broadcast journalism student Madison Scarpino

The number of people dressing up their pets is at an all-time high, according to a new study, but there may be a right way and a wrong way to do it.

According to a financial study by the National Retail Federation, consumers will spend approximately $9 billion on Halloween 2018. This year, 18 percent of people with Halloween plans dress their pet in a costume, the study states. 

Ole Miss Junior Bevin Winter is the owner of two cats and a dog named Cobain. This year, Cobain is celebrating Halloween dressed as Batman.

“I got it, put it on him and I just love to post pictures of him,” Winter said. “It’s kind of for my own amusement. Not really anybody else.”

Although Cobain is a bit irritated by the headband portion of his Batman attire, Winter said he is not bothered by the rest of the costume.

“He definitely is not the happiest,” Winter said. “But he deals with it more than I would say the normal dog.”

Some animals face no issues with wearing Halloween costumes; however, there are some health risks. Ryan Black, a veterinarian at Animal Clinic of Oxford, said problems such as skin reactions or stress are relatively common.

“Normally, allergic reactions are going to be your number one problem, whether it’s the dyes or the fabric in the costume,” Black said.

Black said he has seen an increase of pet owners dressing their pets in costumes this year, but some dogs can suffer from severe anxiety due to the constriction of the outfit. 

“Generally, a dog that’s anxious is either going to pant more or they’re just going to act irregular,” Black said. “Whether they’re hiding or hyperactive, they can all react in different ways.”

There are, however, various ways to prevent health issues with pet costumes. Black said even the simplest tasks can prevent a bad reaction.

“One—make sure it fits right,” Black said. “Two—you may want to test it out before the Halloween party that you are going to wear it.”

Black also stresses the importance of washing a pet’s costume before putting it on the animal. By doing this, the potential of irritation from costume dye or material decreases.

“You want to make sure they’re going to be comfortable in it,” Black said. “But again, a lot of costumes won’t cause any issues if you chose the right size and quality.”


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