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DIY Halloween for pets and their people

DIY Halloween fun for dogs

Halloween is a fun holiday for adults and children alike. Not only can everyone count on an abundance of sweet treats, but celebrants can also show off their ingenuity with home-made costumes that range from the ghoulish to the glamorous. But why leave the family dog out of the fun? There are several easy, safe, and enjoyable ways to include our canine pals in the celebration.

Homemade Halloween dog costumes range from the easy to the complex. If you’re already skilled at craft-making, you can really cut loose and have some fun. For the less crafty among us, there are still some easy-to-make costumes that will let you include your pet in the Halloween fun.

For the novice crafter, here are five basic concepts and instructions—with enough ghosts, skeletons, and mummies to scare the neighbors. There are sites that offer complete costume creation instructions, like this guide on turning your larger dog into a lion. For those more skilled with a sewing kit and a hot glue gun, HGTV offers some fun concepts from the cute to the ghoulish for pets of all sizes—including lists of required materials and instructions. And if you want more ideas, check out Pinterest

To ensure that your pet’s Halloween dress-up stays safe and fun, the Humane Society offers these simple tips. First, remember that most dogs are not accustomed to wearing clothes. So be sure that any costume—whether store-bought or homemade—allows your pet complete freedom of movement. Headgear is ok, if your dog tolerates it, but no part of the costume should cover the eyes or ears. Dogs need their senses to tell them about the world around them, and may become stressed if they suddenly find their sight or hearing impaired. 

Absolutely no part of your dog’s costume should pose a choking hazard! Watch for any tethers or straps that could become trapped about the animal’s neck. Avoid chewable parts that could come off the costume, as well as any costume elements that could catch in your dog’s throat. And finally, some dogs simply won’t tolerate being dressed. Learn to recognize the signs of stress (which include folded-down ears, eyes rolling back or to the side, tucked tail or hunched posture. If your dog seems stressed, take the costume off and let him/her enjoy the holiday au natural. 

One needn’t go far to find recipes for delicious home-made dog treats with a Halloween twist. From home-made dog biscuits to frozen yogurt berry bone parfait, these easy-to-follow Halloween recipes are sure to delight your canine companions. And if you’re into something a bit more elaborate, here are step-by-step recipes for 15 imaginative doggie treats—including pumpkin fro-yo bites, peanut butter doggie macaroons, tropical chicken pops, and apple crunch pup-cakes. Want more ideas? Check out these DIY doggy Halloween treat recipes, including those for diabetic dogs! 
A caution about treats: while your dog may find your homemade treats the most exciting and delicious things in the world, treats do not provide adequate nutrition to serve as a staple nutrition source. They should be given only occasionally as a supplement to a healthy and nutritious canine diet. 

Halloween parties aren’t just for people. Across the nation, you’ll find pet parades, canine costume contests, Halloween hikes, and more! Check your local events calendar in your community online, as well as any animal welfare groups that may be sponsoring dog-friendly holiday-themed events in your area. 

We hope these tips will help you and your pets have a happy, safe, and fun Halloween!

Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.

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