Dressing a dog in a costume may seem over-the-top to some, but with Halloween just around the corner, the American Kennel Club (AKC ®) surveyed dog owners to learn first-hand just how many plan to turn their Fido into a Frankenstein for the evening. It turns out that one in 10 dog owners can't imagine not dressing up their pup for the holiday and nearly half (49 percent ) admitted liking the idea.
The poll also found that women are six percent more likely than men to dress their pups up for all holidays, while men are 12 percent more likely than women to wonder why anyone would ever consider dressing their dog in the first place.
The American Kennel Club study about dog ownership habits, which was conducted by Kelton Research in August 2005, surveyed a national probability sample of 1,000 adults (500 dog owners and 500 non-dog owners) in the U.S., 18 years of age and older. The margin of error is approximately +/- 3.2 percent.
But, the trick is not to treat Halloween as just another day for your dog. Whether your dog dons a frightening frock or not, the AKC reminds owners to follow certain guidelines for keeping your pet safe during Halloween:
If you dress your pet up in a "doggie" costume, supervise him at all times. Make sure it fits properly and is not in the way of his breathing, eyesight or hearing. If your dog swallows any elastic or decorative items, it could cause intestinal obstructions or choking.
Chocolate and sweets can be dangerous for your dog. A dog's digestive system is not adapted for sweets, and chocolate contains Theobromine, which can be harmful and sometimes fatal to your dog. Baking chocolate is especially high in this chemical. • Walk your dog early on Halloween, while it is still light outside. Your dog may find candy, wrappers and broken eggs on lawns and streets. Make sure that these "tempting treats" stay out of reach.
Children in costumes can frighten dogs. Make sure pets are in a safe and secure room when you answer the door to prevent them from running out, getting hurt and frightening your visitors. • If you want your dog to greet trick-or-treaters, keep him on leash. Your dog may be stressed by the noise, activity or simply the interruption of his normal routine
Don't leave your dog unattended outside on Halloween, even if he is behind a fence. Pranksters may target your dog with eggs, and passersby may be tempted to give your dog harmful treats and candy.
If you are having a Halloween party, consider confining your dog securely in one area of the house. Leave a radio or TV and lights on for the dog.
Be careful about where you place candles and Jack-o-Lanterns. They can easily be knocked over by your dog's wagging tail and either burn your dog or start a fire.
Learn more about responsible dog ownership at www.akc.org.