St. Petersburg, Florida -- Many of us won't be forgetting our four-legged friends this Halloween. They're getting in on the costume action in a big way.
Photo Gallery:Pics of your pets in costume!
Pet parents are getting their fur kids ready for trick or treat. The National Retail Federation says pet owners are expected to spend $370 million to dress up Fido and Fluffy this year. That's $40 million more than 2011.
"I've seen Halloween as a season grow every year," One Lucky Dog Boutique Owner Jaime Calderbank said. "This is our sixth Halloween in business."
They boutique is stocked with tanks, tees, and costumes ranging from $18.99 to the mid $50's. Some even have LED lights, so you can see your pet in the dark. Most also have a metal D-ring on the back of the outfit allowing you to clip your leash with ease.
The costumes that are expected to be the cat's meow this year are pumpkins and devils. While costumes can be cute, make sure they're comfortable and not covering their eyes or ears -- crucial senses for dogs.
And when kids in costume come by for candy, make sure you're pet prepared.
"Dogs are in a way like kids, and they scare easy. So it's nice to be able to have them close to you and that keeps them safe. If you have a leash on them -- and you really should if you're out trick or treating with your dog -- you definitely should have a leash and keep them close by, because they do frighten easy," Calderbank said.
You can cordon off your furry friend so he or she won't be so intuned with the doorbell or even keep a leash on them in the house, so you can keep your pooch by your side and not lunging for the candy bags.
Experts point out five Halloween hazards for your pets:
- Chocolate because of its toxicity.
- Lit pumpkins, which can be knocked over by a tail or during play.
- Pranksters -- especially if you have black cats.
- Halloween décor which could upset your pet's stomach if digested.
- While costumes can be fun, make sure they don't constrict a pet's hearing, breathing, or movement. Make sure you don't leave your little guy alone in the costume, giving opportunity to chew it up. If your pet seems distressed, it maybe better to try a bandana or letting them go au naturale.