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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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joanne dension

I find it very amusing that the ASPCA and HSUS, etc. worry about pet costumes, which are really fun and inocolous, are no where near the problem compared with mega pet food producers that put every piece of the worst meats and junk in pet foods and there is no great hue and outcry. Pet foods now come from china and are largely unregulated and filled with junk a pet does not need and is not species appropriate. Pet owners are swayed with "contains natural veggies and fruits" when those items are not species appropriate and cause health problems but are put in there because grains are cheap and filling. Like eating potato chips.
I'm going to dress my cat and dog as cheap dried kibble in protest of the horrid pet food out there that no one does anything about and kills thousands and thousands of pets per year.

joanne denison

and attention is the most desired treat for a pet.
Halloween costumes, especially for dogs is truly a win win situation you don't want to pass up. Let them be cute and get tons and tons of pets and attention.

Liza

For all the people who think it is inhumane and degrading to dress up a pet for Halloween, do you also feel that way about coats and sweaters when it's really cold outside? I only dress my cats for a few minutes for photos in a comfortable costume and they really don't mind. As soon as we're done with the pictures, the costumes are gone and they get some treats. I would never distress or force them to do anything for my enjoyment. My beloved JRT, Toby... now he was a ham! He loved his coats, sweaters and costumes. He loved the attention and also loved to take photos! The little guy was quite the photo bomber! People need to lighten up with their assumptions, not every animal dislikes getting dressed up. I'm a responsible pet parent, and love my babies as much as those you who are opposed to costumes love your own, so the judgements and criticisms are not necessary.

crystal

I only put sweaters on my doxie in the winter when he goes outside. He wouldn't tolerate anything like a costume. Every pet is different. He will beg and go nuts to put on his sweater but once he's back inside it's time for it to come off. If your pet enjoys it go ahead but I hate seeing those pets who are so uncomfortable in costumes and their owners have no clue. How would you like someone making you wear stuff you hate all the time?

Hilary

My cat would kill me in my sleep if I put her in a costume. However, she is a black cat, so she's naturally prepared for Halloween.

laurie pence

I have a puggle who is now almost 6yrs old. When she was a tiny puppy I tried to put a doggie coat on her, it was 4 below that day. She managed to get it off before we even made it to the door. That was the last attempt to dress her in anything. She did however love to hang out in my coat head sticking out the top of the zipper. She would probably still stay there if not so heavy. She does love her jingles. A red velvet elastic collar with bells. She gets to wear those to go running in the snow. You jingle and she comes running. But she can get them off herself plenty loose enough! Halloween can be loud and scary for animals, they should be at home safe, warm and cozy!!!

John Thomas

ANYBODY who engages in ANY 'Halloween' related activities is totally brainwashed, and can't think for themselves. Mindless drones going along with it, because 'everybody else is doing it'. I see shops full of stupid Halloween stuff every year, more and more of it, whole aisles in the supermarkets devoted to this nonsense. It just shows how sad and empty people's lives are if this a highpoint of their year, it's pathetic. And no, I wouldn't dress up any of my pets, I don't want them to look like pathetic idiots either.

Joanne

Yes, I dress up my Shih Tzu, Chloe, and she is fine with it. She loves people (she's a Registered Therapy Dog)
and loves the attention. She is a Gypsy Fortune Teller this year riding in a wagon float I made up to look like a gypsy wagon with crystal ball, Tarot cards, candle and tambourine props. She definitely turns heads! I started dressing up my dogs YEARS sgo before everyone was doing it and before they spld so many costumes in stores and online. I usually see my iwn costumes. If my dogs didn't like it, I wouldn't do it. We've won a number of BEST COSTUME awards. We have a ball being together.

Jane

How are "costumes" different than winter booties and jackets? I live waaay north and my pooches need booties to protect their paws and one needs a jacket. Neither one likes them but it's better than frost bite and better than keeping them locked up indoors all winter. I personally don't like fluffy,cute stuff even for myself let alone my dogs but that's a personal preference. Know your pet, see signs of stress, if you must put them in a pumpkin suit, train them slowly to enjoy it or at least not hate it and panic! Just like teaching them to like the groomer.

Alyssa

Costumes is for the human. if your pet likes it, it's because you tried it in the first place. they have fur, they don't need to wear clothes or costumes. i don't even find it cute. my kittens and dog look better without some silly human thing. i don't een have my pets dressed up in the sims and don't understand why people use their pets. yes, they are part of the family, but they are not your playthings. As it is, too many kids hurt their pets and see them as inferior.

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