Three Tips for Dressing Up Your Pet for Halloween

Thursday, October 24, 2013 - 11:15am
Dog Wearing a Halloween Costume

Are you ready? Halloween is just a week away. As most pet parents scramble to put the finishing touches on their own costumes, some are scrounging for the cutest or scariest attire they can find for their pets, too. But hold on—are Halloween costumes really okay for our furry friends?

It depends, say experts. Our vets and behaviorists weighed in and said putting your pet in costume is okay as long as you’re certain he’s comfortable in his holiday gear.

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

Your pet’s Halloween garb shouldn’t constrict his movement or hearing, or impede his ability to breathe, bark or meow. Be sure to try on costumes well in advance—and if your furry friend seems distressed, try switching to his birthday suit.

Dog Wearing a Halloween CostumeExamine 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.

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, tags or a microchip can be a lifesaver.

Are you planning to dress up your pet for Halloween? Let us know in the comment—and be sure to tag us @ASPCA if you upload any pics of your festive friend to Twitter or Instagram.

For more holiday advice, check out our expert Halloween Safety Tips.

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When one dresses up their dog or cat or any other animal it is abuse! Never, never dress up your dog or cat for your own or others amusement. For shame on you!!


You assume, first of all, that dressing a pet is for someone's amusement (in some cases maybe, but not always). Second, if it doesnt upset or physically harm the animal then how the hell is it abuse?!? If you dont want to dress your own animals, fine, but dont tell others what to do with theirs.

Pets, Pets, Pets

Very few people have the ability to read their pets' body language to know if they are stressing their pets out by putting them in costume. So be on the safe side. Treat your pets with the respect they deserve and just don't dress them up. They are not dolls, made for your own amusement.


Seriously? "Very few" people? Most everyone I know knows their pets better than the back of their own hands. I and most of my friends, relatives and neighbors have their dogs and/or cats sleeping in bed with them. I know their body language and can tell a by a slight change of the look in their eyes that their emotion just changed - happy, sad, scared, curious, whatever. If you have a pet, sounds like you need to pay much more attention to him/her yourself.


Pet paint is the worst offender....there is something morally offensive and narcissist about painting an animal. As for dog costumes...a non-bulky costume that must not in any way bother the dog seems okay by me. Dogs are part of the family and they can join in on the fun. Whereas, it seems wrong to dress a cat--they always seem distressed. But, ultimately, it would be better just to groom your dog nicely and put a colorful color on him for the holidays.


Perhaps I'm a bit extreme, but, I would never put human traditions on my feline children.


No! I am personally not in favor of dressing animals up. They have nothing to say about it, and it just is something that pleases the owners. To me, it reeks of those beauty contests for little girls!


To each is their own, as long as they are being smart about it. If you don't like it, okay, but don't judge other people based off of your own ideas of what you believe is correct. Every dog isn't the same, just like people. Some people enjoy things that other's don't.


Yeah...that's just it, I have observed by sister's min pin dressed up and he actually struts!! It may be due to the secure feeling he has by the costume's Velcro closing across his chest...but who knows? I think most us are concerned that the animal is in no way exploited or uncomfortable. Personally, I hate to see my sister's kids endlessy dress up the family dog. The dog is so sweet and patient, but I think he should not be taken advantage of because of his sweet nature.


No harm in putting on a costume for a short period of time. Many dogs wear sweaters and raincoats for walks, what's the big deal? Have a little fun sometimes.