Battersea Dogs and Cats Home has urged pet owners not to dress their dogs up for Halloween because it is âcruel.â
While social media is flooded with pictures of dressed-up pets, with owners proudly showing off their costumes, the charity has warned that some costumes can cause extreme stress.
Chloe Jackson, Canine and Behaviour Training Manager at Battersea, said: âWe certainly donât want to spoil the fun of Halloween for anyone and we want to make sure pets enjoy the day too. Not every dog is comfortable with a lot of handling and some will become very stressed if you try to put them in a costume â particularly if dressing them up involves forcing their legs into sleeves or putting something on their head.
âOnce theyâre dressed, even the most confident dog can be scared if the outfit is constricting their movement or covering their face.â
She added that the costumes can limit their natural movement, causing distress.
Ms Jackson explained that a festive bandanna or a collar can be a good alternative to a full on dog costume.
The dog trainer said: âDogs use body language, particularly their ears and tails, to express their feelings â so putting them in extravagant costumes can limit their natural behaviour and they could end up looking confusing or frightening to other dogs.
âIf you do want to get your dog in the Halloween spirit, wearing a festive collar or bandana is an option. Many dogs will also be comfortable in a dog coat, provided itâs been designed with their comfort in mind, is easy to put on and doesnât involve putting their legs into sleeves.â
The charity also warned that trick-or-treat sweets should be kept out of reach of pets, as they can be poisonous to animals.