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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P. Brodie

Dogs have beautiful fur coats. Why hide them?


As a matter of fact I am. This will be my first time dressing him up for Halloween or anything like that. Brody has worn a coat before and he loves it. He would rather wear a coat than the Collars. I do not understand why he will wear clothing but not a Collar. Can yall give me some ideas or tricks about this.


My dogs love to wear their costumes because they love to make me happy. They look happy and warm in the costumes. I can't use the butterfly antenna hat though because my little maltipoo puppy will keep chewing on it on my yorkie's head!


I have 2 cats and yes, they are my kids, however I also realize that they are cats. Some cats wouldn't mind being dressed up a little but my cat's wouldn't stand for it-so I don't do it. Besides, they are beautiful just the way they are!!
Oh, I once had a small pair of purple sunglasses that I put on a cat I had years ago, she left them on long enough for me to get her picture then that was the end of the glasses.


I have two dogs. I do put costumes and clothes on them (sometimes for fun, sometimes for a legit reason like providing sunscreen, keeping bugs away, or keeping them warm in winter). I always believed, like the behaviorists say here, that if the dog enjoys it, there's no harm. My first dog loves it and loves the attention that goes with it. I'm not just saying that, because when I got my second dog, I realized she did not enjoy it. So for a year, I never put anything on her. She did not enjoy it, and there's no fun in making her miserable. However, in time, she became jealous of all the attention the first dog was getting, when she was dressed up. So a little more than a year later, I tried an outfit on her again (for Halloween). She LOVED it and was so proud of the reactions she got from neighbor kids. So I guess my point is, sometimes the dogs think it's just as fun as we do. It depends on the dog, of course, but mine just eat up being the center of attention. They don't really understand why putting on clothes does that, but they are more than happy to go along with it. It's not torture for them, it's exciting. They get excited when their outfits come out, because in our house, that usually means it's a special day of some kind.


Dogs (and I assume cats though I have never had one) will let you know if they're not happy, so what's the difference? If the costume fits them and doesn't bother them, I say go for it, if the pet is obviously uncomfortable take it off. One of my dogs gets cold in the winter so we have some sweaters for him, I know they don't bother him because on a cold day if I pull one out he will run over to me and sit quietly while I put it on. And then he will wear it around without noticing. He knows it keeps him warm. So if he isn't bothered by sweaters. So what is the difference if, come Halloween time, I get him a costume that also doesn't bother him and maybe even keeps him warm?


I love dressing up my pets during holidays, especially halloween they look so cute but i always look forward on their safeness. Well I enjoy this blog! thanks for sharing.


Until recently, my older Shih Tzu was never cut. Now that she has some arthritus, she is not as happy about being brushed, and I've had her cut. She shivered, and would burry herself under the covers. I have gotten little doggie dresses and t-shirts for her, and she no longer appears to be cold. So, in this case, I guess her "clothes" take the place of the long hair she no longer has.


My dachshund Venice has been a "ham" since he was a puppy. He absolutely loves showing off and having people admire him. He's earned his Canine Good Citizen title, and mingles wonderfully in all sorts of crowds at various local events. When he wears an "outfit" of any kind (or even something as simple as a bandanna), he seems to have even more of a "strut" in his walk. One of my previous senior rescues, a blind mini dachshund named Maggie Mae, enjoyed appearing in an annual canine fashion show that was a fundraiser for a local shelter. She wore a little string of pearls every day, and would do her "happy dance" whenever she heard them rattling as I took them off their hook. I stick to costumes that are simple, like t-shirts, dresses, etc., and stay away from the dangling "arms" and other embellishments. I'd say if your dogs are acting happy when wearing an "outfit" and the outfit itself doesn't restrict any movement or have dangerous parts, go for it! "Costume" events can be fun for dogs and owners alike!


A big NO for pet costumes!
We love them but our furry friends really dont like them at all!!