It's that time of year when funny pictures of dachshunds dressed up as hot dogs and of pugs in pumpkin outfits start to show up in our Facebook and Instagram feeds. You may be among the millions of Americans who are set to spend more than $500 million this year on Halloween costumes for their pets.
If you intend to dress your pet up this Halloween, on top of ensuring that the costume is safe -- no strings or small objects to ingest -- check to see if your pet actually likes wearing the costume.
Here are six humorous signs that your pet hates his or her Halloween costume.
He looks like the Hunchback of Notre Dame
Images of black cats with an arched back are a staple of Halloween decorations. The pictures convey fear and a scary situation. Similarly, your pet's hunched back while wearing his costume is likely a fear response to an unfamiliar or uncomfortable outfit.
She walks like the Bride of Frankenstein
The stiff-legged walk of Frankenstein's monster is a go to dance move at Halloween. But if your pet is walking with the same stiff gait, it is quite possibly a sign that she is uncomfortable in her costume. Check to make sure the costume does not restrict her movement, block her eyesight or hinder her other activities.
His eyes bulge like Ric Flair
"Woo!" For Ric Flair, it was a shout of excitement and enthusiasm. For your pet, bulging eyes may be a sign of intense fear and anxiety at his costume and possibly your costume as well. -- No pet wants to see you dressed up like The Walking Dead.
He moans like the Mummy
If your pet sounds like the Mummy while wearing his costume, he is likely crying to get out of the costume. It might be that the costume doesn't fit correctly. But it may just be that he doesn't want to dress up as Scooby Doo this year.
She poops a "pumpkin"
Just as with humans, anxiety can affect the digestive tract for pets causing vomiting or unexpected bowel movements. If your pet is suffering from GI distress, consider a simple scarf instead of a full body Chewbacca outfit.
He shows his "fangs" like Count Dracula
Needless to say, if your pet reacts to his costume by baring his teeth at you or others, you should rethink your desire to dress him up. A pet baring his teeth, in either offensive or defensive aggression, is exhibiting the highest level of fear, anxiety or stress. Continuing to present a situation causing this reaction could result in the pet biting you or others.
As with most events that cause fear, anxiety or stress for your pet, acclimation is key to creating a positive experience for everyone involved. Instead of waiting until the night of Halloween to try out an outfit on your pet, let your pet get used to a costume over the course of a few days. But if your pet continues to show signs like the ones above, it may be time to pursue a different costume or potentially no costume at all.
Pet owners who want to know more fear, anxiety and stress signs and symptoms with their pets can speak with one of the doctors or licensed veterinary technicians at Family Pet Health by calling 615-907-8387.
About Family Pet Health, PLLC
Family Pet Health is located at 3307 Manchester Pike in Murfreesboro. The practice, owned by Dr. Amy Shirley and her husband Michael, is a small and exotics animal veterinary hospital. They provide a full range of veterinary services including exams and vaccinations, lab work and diagnostics, surgeries and referral services. All of their staff members are Fear Free certified and have undergone extensive training on recognizing and reducing signs of fear, anxiety and stress in their patients. Learn more at www.familypethealth.com.