Pets on Parade

About 7 percent of dog owners say they have purchased a Halloween costume for their pet &

up from 4 percent in 2004, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association.

If you plan to be part of that trend, beware of the hazards of costumes for our furry friends. Be sure that straps aren't buckled too tightly, because they might constrict air passages and cause choking. Make sure, too, that the costume lets the animal move comfortably and does not restrict vision or hearing. Don't let your pet chew on his costume; it may contain dangerous dyes and other chemicals. Make sure no part of the costume is flammable.

If you do dress up your dog, get him used to the costume a few days before the holiday, and on Halloween night don't have him wear the costume for too long. A reflective costume provides an added measure of safety after dark, and always keep dogs on a leash, as there are lots of distractions around.

And one final warning: Don't let dogs or other animals get close to a candle-lighted jack-o-lantern. It could be dangerous for the animal and become a fire hazard.

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