With all the excitement of Halloween around the corner, you’re probably thinking of the cutest possible costume to dress your pet up in — but wait!
You need to be sure your pet’s down with the costume life before diving into four-piece costumes or extravagant matching family sets.
“It can be tempting to get your dog or cat all dolled up, but instead of focusing on how cute he or she looks, it’s more important to assess whether they are OK with this,” Dr. Andrea Tu, medical director at Behavior Vets NYC, told The Dodo. “Some pets enjoy or love getting dressed up, but others really despise it.”
It’s important that you know your own pet’s threshold when it comes to costumes, and don’t force them into anything they aren’t comfortable with.
Sure, some pets legit prance around in their tutus — they really love the extra attention — but others genuinely can’t stand it.
As the pet parent, it’s up to you to know the difference.
Here are some signs that your pet hates costumes:
1. They keep trying to take it off
If you notice your pet trying to get the item off — whether by pawing at it or chewing it — it’s time to help them get out of it.
2. They appear restless or are unable to move their body or limbs in ways they normally do
According to Dr. Tu, “some cats will walk around slinked down when they have clothes on, or fall over and become ‘immobile’ because they do not like the sensation of the clothing item.”
3. They display body language or signs consistent with fear, anxiety, stress
For example, you might notice your pet yawning or air licking. They might have their ears pinned back or brows furrowed, or they may even pant or have wide eyes.
If you see any of these signs, get your pet out of that item ASAP and don’t try to put it on again.
“If you’re not sure if your pet enjoys being dressed up, then it’s better to err on the side of your pet’s comfort, assume that they do not enjoy it, and not dress up your pet,” Dr. Tu recommends.
Keep in mind that cats usually tend to hate costumes, so it’s better to not even attempt it unless you have an extremely chill cat. “This is especially true in cats — they really do not like the sensation of clothing,” Dr. Tu said. “The rare cat that will tolerate the clothing item usually only wears it for the two seconds it takes to allow you to take an Instagram picture before you will want to take it off.”
So while snapping pics for the ’gram might be something you love to do, just make sure your pet is 100 percent OK with it — and if you notice any of the above signs, just get them out of that costume and back into snuggle mode ASAP.