27/10/2013 16:08 GMT | Updated 27/12/2013 05:12 GMT

Halloween Costumes for Pets

Wintery nights seem to be drawing in fast, so it must be almost time for the first of many upcoming human festivals that have the potential to harm animals.

Forthcoming Halloween celebrations were once just about humans dressing up (and usually just the little ones) but nowadays of course the whole family has to get involved - especially our pets.

So are you planning to dress your dog, cat, or even hamster up in the cutest mini-sized novelty costume you can find or make?

Personally I'm not a massive fan of dressing pets up for fun as I'm not convinced all pets enjoy it; preferring that pets should look just like pets i.e. in their birthday suit or perhaps donning the odd themed neckerchief.

But making them look like pumpkins or pirates for amusement purposes only can cause unnecessary stress, even resulting in abnormal and unwanted behaviours.

However if you decide to dress your pet into any of thousands of costumes now available online, then please make sure they've tried them on before the big night; making sure breathing, movement, hearing, and ability to bark or meow aren't constricted.

Please double check there're no small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that could be swallowed or inhaled too.

It's also essential your dog or cat has proper identification underneath that outfit; if for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost, a collar and tag (legal requirement) and/or microchip can be a lifesaver.

With so many sweets in easy reach on Halloween it's important to remember chocolate - especially dark or baking chocolate - is extremely poisonous to all dogs.

Chewing gum containing artificial sweetener xylitol can also cause serious problems. If you suspect your pet's ingested something harmful then please call your vet immediately.

Carved pumpkins are certainly festive, but take care when adding candles as pets can easily knock a lit pumpkin over causing a fire, with curious kittens running the risk of getting burned or singed by naked flames.

Finally when repeatedly opening your front door to trick-or-treaters, please take care that your pet doesn't run away scared!

Have a safe Halloween folks and don't forget to sign and share the UK's biggest ever pet welfare e-petition to end cruel puppy farming click here.