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Howwwwl-oween Pets

Some dogs take to a tutu, some don’t. Let your pet guide you about dressing the part.


A pug as a pumpkin, a dachshund dressed up as (what else?) a hot dog, and a burly boxer in a tiara and tutu paraded across the leafy grass as part of the Halloween festivities at a local pet store.

Peggy's pets Kelly and Ike ready to play ball in their Halloween costumes.I’d just happened upon the event when I was out on errands, so my dogs weren’t participants. Everyone was smiling and clapping, and pointing out their favorites. All except one woman, who leaned over and whispered to me, “This is cruel. They shouldn’t make those dogs wear costumes.”

“Oh,” I muttered, “uh, hmmm,” and walked away.

Peggy's dog Ike in his Halloween bunny ears.Love it or hate it, this is the time of year for spooky or adorable costumes, and these days our pets aren’t left out of the fun. But is it really fun for your pet? Or is this practice stripping them of their canine and feline dignity?

Some dogs, and maybe even a cat or two, enjoy being dressed up and fussed over. My furry diva Kelly happily adorns bunny ears and Superdog capes, and runs and poses when I get out the camera.

Peggy's pet dog Kelly looks good in pink ears.Ike, on the other hand, briefly tolerates the costume to make me happy. He’s a golden retriever–that’s what they do. While both dogs put up with the getup for a time, they don’t want to wear it all day. They allow me to snap a few photos, then it’s back to doggy business as usual.

Most experts agree that animals don’t feel what humans perceive as embarrassment or humiliation. Wearing silly costumes and taking pictures is one way of sharing the holiday together, and when we can share a special moment with our pet, it’s a good thing.

Peggy's spaniel Kelly all dolled up in a yellow petal headdressBut that doesn’t mean that all dogs enjoy wearing costumes. And, if the costume is too tight, too heavy or awkward, impedes their vision, or prohibits them from walking without falling over, it may even be dangerous.

So, cruel? I don’t think so. What I wished I’d said to the woman in the pet store was that the dogs seemed to be enjoying the attention, and as long as everyone was safe and having fun, where’s the harm?

I left the store, but not before picking up a pumpkin hat for grandpuppy Zeke. Maybe I’d get one photo before he pawed it off.


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