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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what happened to "to each their own"? why are all of you commenters so judgmental?


The only use I have for them is to make "bully" breeds or large dogs, particularly black ones, look less intimidating in the shelter photos I use to try and get them placed into rescues or adoptions.


It definitely is great for shelter dogs! It catches people's eyes, especially in shelters with bad lighting where black dogs aren't seen well. When I first got one of my three pups, it was the day after Halloween and the dogs in the shelter were all still dressed up. Mine was wearing a dinosaur costume and was as happy as can be. He still LOVES to wear sweaters (though I only let him when it's COLD), I wish I could post a video of the 'sweater dance' he does.


My baby gets cold, he wears soft t-shirts, no costumes . My baby shakes 4th of July, Halloween etc. he has ways of telling me what and when he wants. He will put his head into his shirts when he wants, but if he don't 50 people couldn't put them on him. He is never left alone, I watch carefully what he eats, etc. he is my baby and my responsibility to protect him.

Mariea Gill

No costumes on pets EVER! I consider it to be animal cruelty and selfish human stupidity and inhumanity!


That's very extreme. Of all the awful, disgusting things that humans do to animals... you're grouping animals wearing clothes (even if the dog WANTS to wear it) in with that? This is really animal abuse? Inhumanity? I think it's very gross that you would use these terms about something that doesn't affect you, doesn't affect the animals unless they hate them... and just might not be your thing... but to group this in with actual animal abuse (seriously, think about the things that animal abuse embodies)... wow.


I agree, that's over the top.


Wow. Have you ever even had a dog? Or was is just such a mean unpleasant one that didn't know how to have fun? I guess with you as the owner, that's what kind of dog it would be. How very sad.

Susan G.

Well, then you're the only one because the ASPCA doesn't think it is cruelty, they just want it to be safe for your pets. That is why they gave you the 3 simple rules. Have you even ever had an animal in your family? Or was it that you "owned" an animal?


Wow, I think there are some pretentious and uptight people on here! Sheesh! What the hell ever happened to having fun??? People have a problem with EVERYTHING these days, its so ridiculous!!
Certainly, if a dog is not happy, comfortable or embarrassed by being in a costume then its not appropriate. However, some dogs like it, such as my Staffie. She LOVES the attention she gets from people when she is in a costume for an event. Its not about me, I'm not the one getting the attention! She is an ambassador for the breed and it shows people how great these dogs can be!
Sure, a pet owner needs to be responsible in their choice and decisions regarding costumes for pets. If the dog likes to do it and is having fun, I see nothing wrong with it. If the dog doesn't like it, then don't force it. I don't think a dog should be constantly dressed but I don't see anything wrong with it for certain occasions.