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The Journal Gazette

  • Courtesy Participants in Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control's annual Halloween pet parade and costume contest, which will take place Saturday, often dress up with their pets.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018 1:00 am

Pets join holiday fun

Take precautions to ensure animal stays comfortable

TERRI RICHARDSON | The Journal Gazette

Pet costumes

Pet lovers who plan to dress up their cat or dog for Halloween ranked what costumes they have chosen for their pet.

Pumpkin – 11.2 percent

Hot dog – 7.4 percent

Bumblebee – 4.9 percent

Devil – 3.2 percent

Cat – 3.1 percent

Dog – 3.1 percent

Lion – 2.9 percent

“Star Wars” character – 2.8 percent

Superhero – 2.7 percent

Ghost – 2.5 percent

Source: National Retail Federation

If you go What: Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control's Halloween Pet Parade When: Noon to 3 p.m.. Saturday, with parade and pet costume contest at 1 p.m. Where: Franke Park, Pavilion One, 3411 Sherman Blvd. More info: To register, go to

Planning to dress up your pet for Halloween? You're not alone as pet costumes continue to gain in popularity.

Eighteen percent of Halloween celebrants plan to dress their pets in costumes this year, according to the National Retail Federation. 

“One of the biggest trends this year is the growth of spending on pet costumes,” said Phil Rist, executive vice president for Prosper Insights which conducted the annual survey for the NRF. “Out of the 31.3 million Americans planning to dress their pets in costumes, millennials (25-34) are most likely to dress up their pets, the highest we have seen in the history of our surveys.”

The NRF estimates 175 million Americans are planning to participate in Halloween festivities this year. Total spending for the holiday is expected to reach $9 billion.

When deciding what costume to dress up their cat or dog for Halloween, 11 percent of pet owners will dress their animal in a pumpkin costume, while others will dress their pet as a hot dog, bumblebee or devil.

But if you are planning to involve your pet in holiday activities, it's important that you take some pet precautions as costumes and excitement of activities can be overwhelming for your animal. Even candy can be dangerous for your pet.

When it comes to pet costumes, don't force an outfit onto your animal, says Holly Pasquinelli, Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control community relations and education specialist.

“If their pet is not liking the costume, or has never been dressed up like that, they should opt out of (dressing up the pet),” she says.

Also, never cover a pet's face or head to help with safety and make sure the costume is something comfortable, Pasquinelli says.

When it comes to people's costumes, Pasquinelli says a costume can be really scary for an animal, even if it's their owner. “You don't want to scare your animal,” she says. “Don't intentionally put on a costume or mask to scare your animal.”

As children come to the house in costume, pet owners should always lock their animal in another room to prevent an animal from being scared, which could lead to possible bites, she says. Owners should try to drown out the sound of the doorbell or put up a sign on the door to ask people not to ring the doorbell or knock which could agitate their pet.

Pet owners need to know that no candy, especially chocolate, is safe for a pet, Pasquinelli says. Owners should keep all candy in an area where pets can't get to it. If an animal does come in contact with candy, she says there is information on Animal Care & Control's website on what to do, including a hotline number that will allow pet owners to talk with a veterinarian. There is also an app that offers information that can be downloaded on a phone.

Animal Care & Control is having a Halloween pet parade and costume contest Saturday which encourages pet owners to dress up their animals. Pasquinelli says some owners even dress up with their pets.

“It's awesome to see how they dress up their pets.”