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Dog Costumes: Safety Tips

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So, is Rufus’s best furry friend having a birthday party this spring? Or perhaps you and your dog are gearing up for a “just-because” party with friends, complete with Musical Chairs for Mutts or even Canine Karaoke. Whatever a spring party looks like to you, if dog costumes are part of the mix, here are a couple of things to watch out for to ensure that your pooch stays safe during the festivities.

Watch for Body Language

First, study how your dog is behaving after you have placed a costume on her. If her head is lowered, her eyes are large and round, or her ears are flat, these are signs of distress. Many of the facial expressions we think are cute in dogs are actually indicators that they are feeling uncomfortable.

Additional signs to watch for after putting your dog in a costume are: lip licking, flat whiskers, slinking away, heavy panting, yawning, or shaking -- similar to how she would shake after getting a bath.

Take Things Slow

Prior to the big day -- the day of your special event or party -- take your costume out of its package and leave it in a place that smells like you so that it will pick up your scent, which your pet will find pleasing. Then, allow your dog to approach the costume and sniff it freely, and give her a treat for having the courage to explore this new object. Next, place the costume on her back without fastening the outfit on her, and reward her for letting it sit there.

The more you do this, the more her confidence will grow before your event, and the greater the likelihood that both you and your pup will have positive experiences with the dog costume on the big day.