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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no on the costumes.


Ask yourself one question... Is the costume for the pet's benefit or for yours? How many people can say that Kitty or Spot is actually begging to dress up for Halloween? It's for YOU, and deep down you know it -- you want to dress up your fur baby for your own benefit. Honestly, that is just selfish. Most animals find costumes uncomfortable at least, and many find them frightening or restrictive. Why, if you love your pet, would you do something that causes him anxiety and could potentially endanger him? Think about it, and if you must dress up your pet, how about a simple pet t-shirt or sweater with a Halloween motif? Leave the bunny ears at home.


Honestly, you sound selfish, thinking you know it all. News for you, you don't.


I don't think pets enjoy walking around in a costume and being ridiculed.


Yeah, I suppose if they hear 'oh you are SOOO CUTE' too many times, it starts to sound like ridicule.


I've had many pets over the years, and yes, I have dressed them in costumes occasionally. But, I know/knew my pets and I could tell if they were comfortable wearing a costume. I had a beagle/basset that actually seemed to enjoy having a costume on - she appeared to smile! I remember when I was a little girl, I would dress my cats in baby dolls clothes and take them for rides in a toy baby carriage. They never tried to run away either.


What if you're not able to tell if your pet is uncomfortable in their costume - or miss noticing their discomfort at a later time? Cats and dogs can be very stoic even in the midst of extreme pain. And why is "dressing up" your pet for your personal entertainment considered by some to be spoiling them?


If you are not able to tell if you pet is uncomfortable, you need to pay much more attention to your pet than you do. If you do not know you pet well enough to tell if he/she doesn't like something, there is something seriously wrong with the relationship between you and your pet.

Susan G.

Thank you skf!


I know my pet very well and you know yours, but a lot of people don't. People who are finely tuned to their pet's feelings, often find it hard to believe others aren't. Just as some people aren't very good at reading the emotions of those people to whom they feel a strong bond, so too some people miss what their cat or dog or parrot, etc is feeling. If you recognize that your pet likes wearing clothes, great! You're sensitive to his reactions. But we all know people that have us guessing as to why they're doing something we are uncomfortable about. I just want people think about it.