Halloween Pet Costumes: How to Dress Dogs in Costumes

Do you enjoy dressing up the house—and yourself—for the holidays? If you want to include Halloween pet costumes, start now to get them used to the notion. Dogs and cats aren’t always fans of wearing Halloween costumes, but with these tips, you can help pets accept the notion.

halloween dog clown & rabbitHalloween Pet Costumes

Some pets enjoy dressing up, particularly the small dogs already used to wearing coats and sweaters in cool weather. There are many pet costumes available from pet products stores, from fancy to plain. If your outgoing, confident pet is willing, you can have great fun with costumes.

Even reluctant pets may be persuaded to wear a fancy collar or bandana or painted toenails. There are “jester” collars for cats complete with bells on each point. You can also purchase the Soft Paws nail protectors for cats or dogs in Halloween orange and black–a fashion statement that also keeps clawing furniture or doors under control. Just remember to supervise costumed pets at all times to make sure they don’t get tangled up, or chew off and swallow a dangly part of the costume.

Not all pets enjoy wearing costumes. Cats generally are not good candidates. Karma-Kat isn’t a fan of his halter-jacket, although he has never objected to his collar and tags. I think that’s one reason cats cultivate their Halloween mystique, so we’ll leave them alone! Still, it can be helpful for you to know how to teach “costume acceptance” because the same tricks apply if someday your cat or dog needs to wear a bandage, for example.

hat cat halloweenWhy Dogs & Cats Hate Halloween Costumes

Staring at a pet can be off-putting because in cat/dog language a stare is a challenge—so costumes that invite admiring glances could cause problems. You know your pet best so don’t force the issue if he’s a homebody and prefers to go au natural. Most pets prefer staying home or even retreating to a hiding spot when the doorbell repeatedly announces goblins.

Reserve the fancy capes, antlers and such for more willing dogs. Some of the more creative costumes include added on “arms” carrying a fireman’s hose, for example. Bravo is one of the most easy-going dogs I’ve ever known, and I’ve ordered him a lion wig-and-mane (stay tuned for pictures on the blog!). I suspect like most dogs he’ll need to be supervised or he’ll try to eat the costume.

Princess costumes, Star Wars characters, chicken outfits, ‘hot dog bun’ getups, and Shrek costumes are available. But even these tolerant dogs and cats should be gradually introduced to the notion. If you want your pet to tolerate a Halloween costume this year, start now so he’ll be ready by the holiday.

Pet costumes should be fitted the same as for children–make sure the costume doesn’t restrict movement, vision, hearing or ability to breathe. Be sure to measure your pet’s girth around the neck, chest and waist and look for specifics on the costume sizing for an accurate fit.

dog costume pirateHow to Dress Dogs in Costumes

Start by simply letting your dog sniff and examine the costume. Set it out on the floor, point it out to him, and offer some tasty treats when he sniffs it. Do this for the first half a day. After he associates the costume with treats, drape part of the costume over his back for 10 seconds. Again praise and treat him for calm behavior. Increase the amount of time it’s left on his back, giving him a treat and praise each time. Repeat this for at least two days.

dog halloween costumeThe third day, put the costume on for the first time. Let him roll around, sniff, and explore how it feels to move, all the while encouraging him with treats and praise. Take it off after a minute, and put away the treats. Put the costume back on half a dozen times, leaving it on a bit longer each time, and offering plenty of treats and praise. Encourage him to walk around while wearing it, so he knows that it doesn’t restrict movement. When you take the costume off, the treats should go away.

Continue practicing wearing the costume for longer and longer periods of time. Enlist a friend to help, so that once the costume goes on, your friend offers the treats. This helps him know that even strangers are willing to feed a costume-wearing pooch.

Human Halloween Costumes & Pets

It’s also a good idea for you to wear your costume around your dog or cat ahead of time—if you plan to dress up. Cats and dogs identify friendly people not only by scent but also by appearance, the way they walk and the sound of their voices. It doesn’t take much to turn humans into monsters in the eyes of your pets–just a hat does it for some. Make sure your pets know it’s you under that cape or mask. Learn more about Halloween pet safety here.

Halloween costumes

Wearing my Audrey Two costume from Little House of Horrors!

Have fun this Halloween, but be safe, so that all involved have a great howl-iday celebration. What about YOUR cats and dogs. Do you dress them up for Halloween? Do tell!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. NOTE: Bling, Bitches & Blood sometimes shares affiliate links to products that may help you with your pets, but we only share what we feel is appropriate.

Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Cat Facts Book Give-Away! National Pet Wellness Month

October is National Pet Wellness Month! Time for a book give-away. Enter by clicking the picture, below or filling out the form.

Can’t wait to see if you won? Get the CAT FACTS book here.

Please SHARE this post with others interested in winning the A-to-Z Pet Parent’s Home Care Encyclopedia! The more you SHARE your entry, the greater your chance to WIN!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. NOTE: Bling, Bitches & Blood sometimes shares affiliate links to products that may help you with your pets, but we only share what we feel is appropriate.

Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Dog Facts Book Give-Away! National Pet Wellness Month

October is National Pet Wellness Month! Time for a book give-away. Enter by clicking the picture, below or filling out the form.

Can’t wait to see if you won? Get the DOG FACTS book here.

Please SHARE this post with others interested in winning the A-to-Z Pet Parent’s Home Care Encyclopedia! The more you SHARE your entry, the greater your chance to WIN!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. NOTE: Bling, Bitches & Blood sometimes shares affiliate links to products that may help you with your pets, but we only share what we feel is appropriate.

Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Pet Breast Cancer: National Breast Cancer Awareness Month For Pets Too!

I remember one of my grandmother’s farm dogs suffering from massive breast tumors. But I wasn’t aware until years later while working as a vet tech that pet breast cancer is common. And deadly.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month for humans, and it’s also National Pet Wellness Month. I doubt that anyone in today’s world hasn’t been touched by this disease either personally or by knowing someone who has.

But did you know cats and dogs get pet breast cancer? And some of the research for people helps cats and dogs–and vice versa.

 

pet breast cancer

Toy and Miniature Poodles have a higher risk of breast cancer than some other breeds.

Cats & Dogs Affected by Pet Breast Cancer

Pet breast cancer accounts for half of the cases of canine cancer, and about 50 percent of canine breast tumors are malignant. High-risk breeds include the Poodle, English Spaniel, Cocker Spaniel, English Setter, German Shepherds, Maltese and Yorkshire Terriers, while low-risk breeds for mammary cancer include the Boxer and Chihuahua.

The older the dog, the greater the risk of tumors. Most canine mammary tumors occur in unspayed dogs more than 10 years old. It’s less common in dogs younger than five.

Cats & Pet Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is not as common in cats as in dogs, but it’s more deadly in felines. Nearly 90 percent of feline breast tumors are malignant. Male cats and dogs almost never get mammary cancer.

The cause of pet breast cancer remains unknown. However, because it affects certain breeds more commonly, genetics are thought to play a role. Recent research indicates that certain genes are overexpressed in dogs with this condition.

You can learn more about cancers, diagnosis and treatments in my aging pet books,  Complete Care for Your Aging Dog or Complete Care for Your Aging Cat.  In fact, I’ll even offer a give-away contest of a paw-tographed copy of my CAT FACTS and DOG FACTS book, in honor of National Pet Wellness Month. Click on the pictures, below, to enter.

cat facts give away dog facts give away

EARLY SIGNS OF BREAST PROBLEMS

In almost all cases, you will find the lump or bump on your cat or dog while petting her. Breast exams, particularly for older female cats and dogs, are a great idea because they can detect lumps and bumps very early. Survival time depends on the size of the tumor when first treated. The smaller the tumor when treated, the better the chance your pet will do well.

Therefore, it’s extremely important to have your veterinarian evaluate potential problems immediately. Never settle for a “wait and see” approach—that gives cancer more time to grow and spread, and reduces the chance of a good treatment outcome. Isn’t it better to find out that your dog’s lump was nothing to worry about than to discover too late that it’s cancer and no longer treatable?

BREAST CANCER TREATMENT IN PETS

The standard treatment for mammary tumors is surgical mastectomy (removal) of the affected glands. That may be a single breast or multiple breasts (usually) on one side of the abdomen. Your regular veterinarian may be able to perform this surgery, or you may wish to contact a veterinary oncologist.

Holistic pet therapy also can help, often in conjunction with conventional treatments. Sometimes chemotherapy is suggested in addition to the surgery if not all of the tumor can be removed and/or if it has already spread. Some veterinary cancer specialists recommend using chemotherapy first to help shrink the tumor before it is surgically removed.

Please remember that cats and dogs don’t lose their hair, and rarely feel sick during chemotherapy treatment. Pets don’t even know they’re sick, so they don’t become upset just at the mention of the “C-WORD” that fills people with terror.

pet breast cancer

Siamese cats have a higher incidence of pet breast cancer than other cats.

Preventing Pet Breast Cancer–YES, YOU CAN!

Unlike some other cancers where a roll of the dice seems to decide who will be affected, mammary cancer can be prevented—or the risk drastically reduced—in our pets. Spaying female dogs before their first heat cycle will nearly eliminate the risk. Intact (un-spayed) dogs will have seven times greater chance of developing mammary cancer.

Cats benefit from spaying prior to first heat, too, and spaying before 6 months gives cats 91 percent lower risk compared to unaltered cats. There’s still a benefit to spaying up until two years (about 11 percent less risk), but if you wait any longer the incidence of mammary tumors is the same as unaltered cats. Siamese cats have two times greater risk of developing breast cancer than other cats and at a younger age. Add breast checks to your happy healthy cat month checklist.

Belly Rubs for Health!

Cancer tends to be a disease of aging pets. Starting this month, I hope everyone will pay more attention to their cats and dogs, starting with breast exams. I promise, your pet will thank you for the extra tummy rub.

Have your pets been touched by cancer? Often I’m told the dogs and cats who go through this prove to be inspirational to their human families, living in the moment and still finding joy despite health challenges. What advice would you offer pet lovers who must face such trials? Do tell!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. NOTE: Bling, Bitches & Blood sometimes shares affiliate links to products that may help you with your pets, but we only share what we feel is appropriate.

Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!

Power of Pink Honoree & Writer Coaching Series Announced!

What a fun post to share today, all about friendship, collaboration, mentoring and writer coaching.

I’m moved and honored to be named a Germinder + Associates POWER OF PINK Honoree.

I’ve known Lea-Ann Germinder for *mumble-mumble* years and learned so much from our collaboration. Today, I’m interviewed on her GoodNewsForPets site here, where we discuss my new writer coaching series, WRITE SCHTUFF.

Oh, and I also talk a bit about past and current theatre performances and projects. *s* Hint: I play a character that has a taste for bad people. It ain’t easy being green! If you’re in the Sherman, Texas area I hope you’ll attend Little Shop of Horrors, here’s the link. Or see  Details on Facebook here!

Again, you can learn all about theatrical endeavors on the PLAYS page. Stay tuned for announcements about upcoming classes at the Texas Thespian Festival.

WRITER COACHING SERIES ANNOUNCED

For those who are writers — or aspire to write — my new writer coaching series is for you! To learn more about the writer coaching series, take a listen/look at this short video. Then if interested:

CLICK HERE for more information.

Feel free to share this with anyone else who might benefit!

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. NOTE: Bling, Bitches & Blood sometimes shares affiliate links to products that may help you with your pets, but we only share what we feel is appropriate.

Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!