Tuesday, October 23, 2007

dressing your dog for halloween

Sometimes, it's better to not ask the tough questions and just go with the flow. After all, who really wants to know what it says about us that we get a kick out of dressing our dogs up in Halloween costumes? So we bury our dogs' dignity (dognity?) somewhere inside a pumpkin costume, or underneath devil horns, and we parade them around. It's not animal cruelty, they're much too adorable and hilarious.

The other week, during the last Yappy Hour, The Lofty Dog hosted a Howl-O-Ween Fashion Show. Several downtown dogs strutted their stuff to a wildly enthusiastic audience, dressed as elephants, lions, monkeys and other jungle beasts. They were adorable, and they aren't alone. This year, according to the National Retail Federation, one in 10 Halloween celebrators — 7.4 million households — plan on dressing their pet in some kind of costume. And more than 3.5 million Americans are expected to buy some type of Halloween product for their pets this year, according to a survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. That puts us in good company.

The survey revealed the top 15 costumes for pets, which are:

1. Devil
2. Pumpkin
3. Witch
4. Princess
5. Angel
6. Pirate
7. Hot Dog
8. Bat
9. Black Cat
10. Clown
11. Athlete
12. Bumble Bee
13. Ghost
14. Bowtie/fancy collar/bandana
15. Superhero

As October 31st approaches, we're searching for the best Halloween costumes, for us and our dogs. Our dogs are part of the family, so what better way to show that they're part of our "pack", than by dressing up together? After all, it’s more fun if everyone dresses up. So we've come up with a few great costume ideas for your pack:

1. Star Wars - Yoda was last year's #1 costume for dogs, and this year looks to be the year for Darth Vader. Dress yourself as Princess Leia or a Jedi and keep your doggy from going to the Dark Side.

2. The Justice League - Whether dressed as Superman, Wonder Woman or Batman, your pooch can be a superhero. Sure, you can pull rank and dress as Superman or Wonder Woman yourself, but let the dogs take center stage and go as The Flash, or Robin instead.

3. Noah and the Animals on the Ark - This is our personal favorite and it could be yours too if you have more than one dog, or if your pack doesn't want to dress alike. You get to dress like Noah, shepherding your dogs (dressed as different animals) and the humans in your pack, all searching for their mate before boarding the ark. The Lofty Dog has a great collection of animal costumes, from monkeys and lions, to elephants and everything else in-between.

4. Pollinating Flowers - Dress you and your human pack as flowers, and get your pooch into a bumblebee costume.

5. Pirates of the Caribbean - Dress as Davy Jones or a saucy wench, and your pooch as Captain Jack Sparrow.

6. Sports Team - So you're a Dodger fan? A gridiron great? Or are you more into soccer? Your dog can come ready to play, dressed your fave soccer, football, or baseball player, and you can either get in the game, or referee it. If your dog isn't the sporty type, they can always show their spirit and cheer from the sidelines.

7. The Real Downtown Dogs - Oh yeah, who can resist those yummy bacon-wrapped hotdogs grilled on shopping carts and heaped full of grilled onions and bell peppers? Dress your downtown dog as a hotdog, and come as the condiments.

Do you have any other Halloween costume suggestions for you and your pack? The growing popularity in Halloween costumes for dogs gives a new meaning to the tradition of trick-or-treating. Besides offering treats for trick-or-treating dogs, The Lofty Dog is holding a Howl-O-Ween Party on October 31st, with a contest for the best-dressed dog. Prizes range from gift certificates for free grooming, to chew toys and let's face it, bragging rights.

The main thing to remember this Halloween season, is safety. Listed are some common-sense cautions to keep your downtown dog safe and stress-free this time of year:

1. No tricks, no treats: That bowlful of candy is for trick-or-treaters, not for Sparky. Chocolate in all forms can be very dangerous for dogs, and tin foil and cellophane candy wrappers can be hazardous if swallowed. If you suspect your pet has ingested a potentially dangerous substance, please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

2. Popular Halloween plants such as pumpkins and decorative corn are considered to be relatively nontoxic, yet they can produce gastrointestinal upset should dogs ingest them. Intestinal blockage could even occur if large pieces are ingested.

3. Keep wires and cords from electric lights and other decorations out of reach of your pets. If chewed, your dog could experience damage to his mouth from shards of glass or plastic, or receive a possibly life-threatening electrical shock.

4. A carved pumpkin certainly is festive, but do exercise extreme caution if you choose to add a candle. Dogs can easily knock a lit pumpkin over and cause a fire and curious puppies especially run the risk of getting burned or singed by candle flames.

5. Dress-up can be a big mess-up for some pets. Please don't put your dog in a costume UNLESS you know he or she loves it. For dogs who prefer their “birthday suits,” however, wearing a costume can cause undue stress.

6. If you do dress up your dog, make sure the costume isn't annoying or unsafe. It should not constrict the pooch's movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe or bark. Keep a look out for small, dangling, or easily chewed-off pieces on the costume that your pet could choke on.

7. Take a closer look at your pet’s costume and make sure it does not obstruct his/her vision in any way. Even the sweetest dogs can get snappy when they can't see.

8. All but the most social dogs should be kept in a separate room during peak trick-or-treat visiting hours. Too many strangers can be scary and stressful for pets.

9. When opening the door for trick-or-treaters, take care that your dog doesn't dart outside.

10. IDs, please! Always make sure your dog has proper identification. If for any reason your dog escapes and become lost, a collar and tags and/or a microchip increase the chances that he or she will be returned to you.
The Lofty Dog is really looking forward to seeing all the downtown dogs on Halloween and we're really excited to see what costumes our pampered pooches will be wearing this year. Even if you don't dress up, bring your pooch in for a Halloween treat and see what the other dogs are wearing, it's shaping up to be a blast.

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