The RSPCA has advised against dressing pets up for Halloween as costumes can increase stress in animals and cause them to "overheat and struggle to breathe properly."

The warning comes after a spike in social media content featuring pictures and videos of dogs, cats and other pets dressed up as spiders, pumpkins and ghosts, ahead of Halloween.

The British Vet Association (BVA) released a statement saying pets are "not fashion accessories" while the RSPCA told BBC News that some pets find the experience of dressing up "worrying and even scary."

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The RSPCA made the following comment ahead of Halloween: "It's really important that pet owners think about how dressing up pets can make them feel, as whilst some animals may not mind being dressed up, other pets may find this worrying and even scary."

BVA Senior Vice President Justine Shotton told Sky News: "Most owners consider pets a part of the family, which is great, but it's important to remember that pets are not fashion accessories.

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"Dressing up animals or otherwise unnaturally changing their appearance is not only unnecessary and potentially harmful, but in some cases can also prevent pets from expressing their natural behaviours and from using their body language to communicate."

Justine went on to explain how dressing your dog up could prevent them from regulating their body temperature and breathing freely.

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She said: "It can cause them to get stressed, get too hot and struggle to breathe properly. This can be a serious problem for dogs like pugs and French bulldogs, who can already have breathing problems because of their flat faces and squishy noses."

Shotton added that pet owners should focus on keeping their fury friends "calm and reassured" rather an adding to their Halloween "anxiety".

She said: "Halloween is already quite a stressful time for some pets, with excited children, familiar people looking different in costumes and masks, and lots of unfamiliar people coming to the door too.

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"It's always best to try to keep pets calm and reassured, rather than to add to any anxiety and discomfort by dressing them up too. If in doubt, ask yourself whether dressing your pet up is really going to deliver any tangible benefits for them."

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