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All Costumed Out for Halloween

Halloween has become one of the most popular holidays of the year. According to Fortune magazine last October, the amount spent on this holiday is, well, scary. Today’s consumer is spending as much time and money on their pets’ costumes as they are their own. Why? Because it’s fun. Today’s pet owners love including their four-legged companions in a variety of activities from hiking, camping, and outings at the beach to Halloween and Christmas parties.

Is there any reason not include your beloved companion when you attend the Halloween event of the year?

Take some time to think about it: Will your dog really enjoy himself? Step back before you run out and get that Darth Vadar outfit, and ask yourself a few questions:

Does my dog love lots of attention, or is she the shy type? Do your pups hide when guests come over, or do they happily greet them? Do you always hear, “Your fur baby is such a lover!” Or: “Your dog is so friendly.” Those are good signs.

If you already know you have a well-socialized dog, and he has accompanied you to numerous events with large crowds—one with adults, kids, and other dogs—maybe he or she would absolutely love to join you at an event where both of you can dress up in Star Wars costumes. But wait; there are still more questions for you to consider.

For instance, has your dog ever tried on clothing? Did he like the feel of apparel? Trying a costume out before the day of the event is must. A lot of dogs freeze when a piece of apparel is put on them. If your dog has a very independent and dominate personality, he may not enjoy costumes.

Costumes in the form of vests are easiest on most dogs, said Pamela Wyman, a professional dog trainer at Dog Evolve. Pet parents should avoid things on the head or things that are too confining or hot, she advised. Also, give your dog plenty of tasty treats while putting on the costume, and consider doing some advance dress rehearsals around the house to acclimate before the big day.

Take a close look at your pet’s costume, avoiding any outfits with small, dangling, or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Ill-fitting apparel can get twisted on external objects or your pet, leading to an injury. Bring your dog along with your when picking out a costume, because many stores allow you to put the costume on your dog. The costume should fit comfortably around the neck, feet, and tail and not interfere with urinating.

And finally, how does your dog do on leash? Most public event will require you to keep your dog on his leash for the event. Make sure your pet has his current ID underneath that cute costume.

Now go out and have a scary good time.Ruth Villasenor is the co-owner of Paws & Claws, A Natural Pet Food Store & Grooming Spa, 3436 Dimond Ave., Oakland, 510-336-0105. Learn more by visiting

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Main article photo by: Ruth Vilasenor