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With Halloween less than a week away, many pet owners have
already purchased their animal's costume. While these outfits
can be fun and festive, the wrong outfit can be harmful to your
Although costumes are a fun way to interact with your pet, Dr.
Mark Stickney, Clinical Associate Professor and Director of General
Surgery Services at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary
Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, stressed the importance of
monitoring your pet in the clothing.
"Cute little costumes are fun to put on your animals while
trick-or-treating, but when you are not watching your animals, make
sure to take them off," Stickney said.
He also explained that this also goes for sweaters, jackets or
any other pet clothing. While it may seem like pets need clothes to
stay warm, they can do more harm than good if the animal is not
"More than likely your animal does not need to keep clothing on
to stay warm, even in the winter," Stickney said. "If you have a
house pet that only goes outside for 15-20 minutes to go to the
bathroom, they will be more than fine without the clothing."
Another thing Stickney recommended avoiding in pet costumes are
dangly pieces of fabric, bells, or other small objects that the
animal can chew off and swallow. These things can cause the pet to
choke and possibly cause blockages in their intestinal track.
"Ribbons and bows are especially dangerous for cats," Stickney
added. "These are things cats love to play with and chew on, but if
they swallow them it causes what is called a 'linear foreign body.'
This requires emergency surgery to remove or it can 'saw' a hole in
Stickney also warned of a pet being allergic to the clothing
material or the laundry detergent used to wash the costume. If an
animal is allergic to a costume or clothing, Stickney said it may
develop an itchy, red rash.
"The best thing to do is to take the outfit off of the pet and
retire it," Stickney said. "There is no reason to cause your pet
pain and discomfort."
Finally, Stickney stressed that it is important to make sure the
outfits fit correctly. Anything that can wrap around the pets'
neck, paws, or legs can cause them to panic or injure
"This is especially common in small or young dogs as many
costumes may not fit them correctly because of their size,"
Stickney said. "The best way to select pet costumes or clothing is
to buy them at a pet store where you can take your pet with you and
try the outfit on them. That way you will know for sure that it not
only fits correctly but that it also looks as adorable as you
About Pet Talk
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary
Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University.
Stories can be viewed on the Web at vetmed.tamu.edu/news/pet-talk. Suggestions for
future topics may be directed to email@example.com.
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