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Pet Halloween Costumes: Cute or Scary?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 - 12:00pm

With Halloween just around the corner, you might be tempted to make your cat or dog a star by dressing him up in the cutest mini-sized costume you can find. But wait—is trick-or-treat apparel really safe for your furry friends?

Our experts suggest putting your pet in a costume only if you’re sure he will enjoy it. Some pets love the limelight: wearing a costume and posing for pictures is a blast! Others prefer to stick to their birthday suits for all occasions, and being dressed like a pumpkin for their pet parents’ amusement can cause unnecessary stress.

If you decide to have your pet wear a costume, here are some helpful safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Your pet’s Halloween garb should not constrict his movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Be sure to try on costumes in advance—and if your furry friend seems distressed, you’ll want to ditch the mini-pirate hat and vest.

  • Examine your pet’s costume and make sure it doesn’t have any small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that he could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get caught on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.

  • IDs, please! Make sure your dog or cat has proper identification on underneath that cute costume. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost during Halloween festivities, a collar and tags and/or a microchip can be a lifesaver.

For a complete list of animal safety guidelines for this spooky holiday, check out our expert Halloween Safety Tips for pet parents.

Tell us: Are you planning to dress up your pet for Halloween?

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Karen Ardila

As a responsible pet parent I wouldn't put my dog or cat in a costume if they feel annoyed while wearing it. That said, not all dogs or cats have the same personality and some do enjoy the extra attention or just don't mind wearing something. Just like people...

Against the argument of animals not needing clothing, this would be true if dogs hadn't been genetically manipulated for human convenience for thousands of years. Dogs are no longer wild animals, they depend on humans and human comforts to thrive and some of them do need clothing. I know my doggie will need a sweater for sure for her walks during the winter.

Liz

Why not take the money you were going to spend on a pet costume this year and donate it to a local shelter instead.

nandini

I have two cats that will promptly shred any clothing that I put on them so I know that they will hate being dressed up. No halloween costumes. My puppy (yep 5 years old puppy :)) will wear clothing depending on the weather but he prefers commando :D. I'll dress up myself and let my babies amuse themselves with their silly mom :D

Jackie

We've always chosen a festive collar or bandana over the costumes. Our dog doesn't mind them and I feel better knowing she is totally comfortable.

Jaime

My kitties have orange, black or white fur so they are already dressed for Halloween =) Plus they would not enjoy wearing a costume so no costumes for them.

Robin Pasholk

None of our family critters are into trick-or-treating, but kitty Midnight dresses up like a scary black cat for the occasion--she's normally a cuddly black cat with the softest black velvet fur you've ever petted! ;) PS: for some reason Midnight likes it when I speak French to her--maybe she's channeling Morticia Addams?

Geri Eaker

This is very much a cultural thing, not surprisingly, where else would a nation be prepared to spend, as projected, $370 million on pet costumes but the US?? It's obscene!!.....especially when you consider the thousands of animals that are being euthanized every day due to lack of funds and education. Yet another example of consumerism at it's worst.

Dana

And they should have the opportunity to look as dorky as me. Of course the common sense clause is applicable here, nothing constricting, unsafe, etc. My German Shepherd and Rottweiler enjoy the attention. The GSD prefers his Superman costume over any others; guessing it's natural for the breed and he's always looking out for me. Also, people tend to be fearful of larger dogs; dress up is a perfect opportunity for those folks to see the less intimidating, playful side & maybe open their minds. When my sweet, gentle Rottie wears a pink tutu, she's all the rage at the girls' soccer game!

Jennifer

My two little ones will be a witch and a vampire!Adorable!

Julia

I was looking for bat wings that would be the correct size for my new pomeranian now 4 months old. She doesn't tolerate a harness even as they are too big for her--she wiggles right out. I left the stores without anything--I wasn't going to make her tolerate things that would not be right for her. I settled on a bow that blinks and has Happy Halloween written on it. I attached it to her harness--now she wears the harness that is now seemingly fitting better. She's totally happy and is not at all bothered by the bow. I can't tolerate people who torture their fur babies for their own amusement to force it into a costume or clothing if it won't tolerate it and isn't totally happy. You know within seconds whether its right for them.

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