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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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Becky

I wouldn't exactly call putting a soft little outfit on my Chi torture. His fur is soooo thin it is like skin and he often gets cold in cooler temps. I do agree with everyone about safety and comfort but people whom "show" animals I think make them far more uncomfortable.

Alfie

I have a mini schnauzer who will pick his sweater or jacket from his bin and bring it to me to put on, and I comply. He doesn't do this all the time, sometimes he'll do it before bed and sometimes he'll do it in the middle of the day. It's his choice. He does favor a flannel t-shirt so he has several. He'll also come to me and motion to take it off by biting and pulling on the side and I take it off. His clothes are not bulky or confining. He does not like the raincoat so we just use a golf umbrella if it's raining. He's 13 now and still pretty active (and smart).

Maria

I disagree. My dogs want to be dressed when it is raining, or cold. They have sweaters, jackets, house coats etc. & let me know when they want them off after they warm up by the fireplace. They are total hams when they are dressed and after a grooming. Costumes are ok so long as they are comfortable for our furry babies. Our Grand-puppies love it when I arrive with new dudes for them too. How do I know? They help open the packages and help me dress them by standing in front of me sideways and lifting their paws for each sleeve. They are a Chihuahua, English Springer, Hound, Minnie Weenie, and Mediums sized mixed breed.

Brooke

Don't assume a dogs role in all this is merely that of "victim". Yes, there are animals who hate to be dressed up and there are plenty who will tolerate it. There are also a great many dogs that LOVE to be dressed up. I have a dog that gets super over the moon excited when I pull out any of her clothes.

Mirawyn

My best friend's cat is an exception: she LOVES costumes, especially hats. Really loves them. She shoves her head under hats to try to put them on. Sulks if you take her costume off.

Basically, she's a little freak! :) Never met another cat like that . . .

Barbee Joy

The costume contest was started by the West Highland Society of Connecticut over 10 years ago. Since being a costume designer I had entered my westie in all the constume contests and always won 1st place. Of course I make sure he is comfortable. This group is run by professional adults that many of them do not
have children. He is only in the costume for 20 minutes to an half hour at the most
and I take it off him. This group has bi-Laws and dues attached. We meet about 4-5 times a year.

Betty Blatt

I have a Border Terrier Mix & she says NO to clothes. A scarf maybe! Jiggle bells for the Christmas Parade in town are okay but booties would not stay on one minute! I love her as I would my child but she sure is a furry dog! Ha!

Julie

If your pet is comfortable in his costume and not freaked out by it I say it's fine once maybe twice a year. What drives me crazy is those people who have their little foo foo dog dressed up 365 days a year. They don't let it walk anywhere, they push it in a baby stroller or other confining thing. it needs to be a dog first!!! Dogs need to walk.

Vanessa

I think a lot of these comments are putting too many dogs into one category. My dog LOVES to dress up. I literally ask him, "You want to put on some clothes?" and he gets all perky and runs into the bedroom. I grab a shirt and he shoves his head in it and becomes all warm and happy. He's a Chihuahua, don't know if that has much to do with it. I also live in Canada and he needs a snowsuit to go outside in the winter, nothing on him is uncomfortable, trust me I would know, he would be biting it and fidgeting around.

I think it just depends on the dog honestly. Some feel safe and secure, others feel restricted and annoyed. Forcing an animal who hates clothes to wear them is rather mean though, but other than that I think it's fine as along as the animal does not get hurt or is not upset/annoyed.

Also one little side note, I do dress him more for warmth, but it doesn't hurt to look cute too. xD

Michele

I don't have any children either, but I don't think that makes it ok to dress up my 3 dogs for Halloween! Come on, most of us know that animals are not comfortable in costumes or sweaters or anything that us as humans would wear. It is in their instinct not to have "clothes" on, so why would we want to make them miserable just to get some laughs and comments from others! I say no, let them be comfortable in their own fur coats given to them by God!!!

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