Pet Tips, Pet Products

How to Choose a Halloween Costume for Your Dog

October 19, 2021

Halloween is right around the corner, and what’s cuter this time of year than an already adorable dog dressed up in a cute or silly Halloween costume?  Dressing up our pets can be a fun way to involve them in our Halloween festivities, even if they can’t be involved in other holiday traditions such as trick-or-treating and eating candy.  However, it’s important to remember that Halloween costumes should be comfortable and safe for our furry friends!  Nobody wants to spend their holiday being uncomfortable, or worse in the emergency room, our pets included!  So if you are planning on dressing your pet(s) up this Halloween, have fun, but remember to stay safe as well!  Here are some tips to follow when picking out a costume for your furry friend…

dog halloween costumes

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Avoid hot costumes:

dog halloween costumes

I’m not talking about hot dog costumes, necessarily, but costumes that are too hot for your pet.  Keep in mind that pets can’t sweat to keep cool like we can,  and most of them already have a fur coat to keep them warm.  Try to avoid costumes that are too thick, because they may make your pet too hot, especially if he/she is planning on attending a crowded Halloween party.  Look for costumes that are made of thin, breathable materials, or ones that don’t cover large portions of your pet’s body.

Watch out for choking hazards:

Pets, dogs especially, like to chew.  Fancy pet costumes that contain attachments such as beads or other small pieces may pose a choking hazard to curious pets.  Costumes that have bits that may be annoying for pets to wear, such as hats or shoes, may encourage pets to chew on the costume in an attempt to remove it.  Keep this in mind when choosing a costume, and try to avoid small or annoying parts that your pet could chew and/or possibly choke on.

Don’t compromise your pet’s senses for the sake of cute:

Eye patches, hats, funny glasses, and silly masks may sound like they’d make cool costumes, but don’t dress your pet in anything that will compromise his/her senses.  Blocking your pet’s eyes, mouth, nose, or ears will be uncomfortable and could be a frightening experience for your pet.

Choose non-confining costumes:

Your pet should be able to move around freely and naturally while wearing his/her costume.  Confining costumes can frighten and even hurt pets.  Make sure your pet can move around freely in his/her costume, and also that the costume does not block your pet from being able to use the bathroom normally.  Make sure to measure your pet and choose a correctly sized costume, as outfits that are too loose or too tight may restrict normal movement and be uncomfortable.

dog halloween costumes

Sometimes simple is better:

Sometimes something as simple as a festive bandana or leash can be enough to give our pets some holiday flair without making them uncomfortable.  Remember that holidays are suppose to be fun!  If your pet doesn’t enjoy wearing his/her costume, it’s unfair to make them wear it for long periods of time.  Maybe use that fancy costume to snap a few pictures, then replace it with a holiday themed collar, leash, bandana, harness, etc. to allow your pet to keep to the holiday theme while still being comfortable.

Listen to your pet:

Most importantly, listen to your pet.  Keep an eye on him and if he appears uncomfortable in his costume, remove it.  Most owners should find it easy to tell when their pet has had enough.  Don’t overdo it.  Wearing a costume for a short amount of time may not phase your pet, while costumes left on for too long may start to get annoying and uncomfortable.  Don’t force your pet to wear anything that he/she isn’t comfortable with.  After all, we want our pets to enjoy holidays with us, not suffer through them.

Are there any other factors you take into account when selecting a costume for your pet (if you bother dressing them up in the first place)?  My dogs, Kitsune and Fenrir, have been used to wearing things like harnesses and sweaters/jackets since they were pups.  I think that’s probably why they’re so tolerant of silly Halloween costumes!  The pictures of them dressed as hot dogs are actually from last Halloween.  This year I got them cute “costume” hoodies (this bear one for Kit and a moose for Fen) thinking that they’d be cute for Halloween, but the boys can also wear them to stay warm on cold winter days.

Since we moved out of the city, our last couple of Halloweens have been super low key.  We don’t get any trick-or-treats to our rural home, but we still try to celebrate and have some fun.  We’ll still be carving pumpkins, watching Halloween movies, baking treats, and, of course, we’ll have an adorable little ‘bear’ and a ‘moose’ running around the house.  If you normally celebrate Halloween, are you doing anything fun to keep the spirit of the holiday alive despite the pandemic?

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  • Reply Ruth Epstein October 9, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    Layla does wear Halloween costumes as the one and only time I tried she freaked out LOL but this is a great warning post as some people do not think about it all and the hazards can be dangerous.

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack October 10, 2020 at 12:02 am

      For sure! I think my boys are more accepting of things like Halloween costumes because I got them used to wearing clothes when they were puppies. Even for dogs who are ok with clothes, like mine, it’s still so important to select safe attire.

  • Reply Rebecca Sanchez October 9, 2020 at 4:30 pm

    Love this – and it’s a wonderful reminder to try to create as normal a time as possible this Halloween season! While we won’t do the traditional ‘trick or treat,’ we will leave candy bowls out along with pictures of us in our costumes. This will include our dog – who will wear his football jacket!

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack October 10, 2020 at 12:05 am

      That’s such a cute idea! I’d consider doing something similar, but I doubt we’ll get any trick-or-treaters anyways.

  • Reply Jana Rade October 9, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    Living in the middle of nowhere, we don’t do Halloween. Though I do enjoy scary movies. But that’s about the extent of it. As for costumes, I never put any costume on my dogs for any ocassion. I think dogs are beautiful just the way they are. I don’t even buy colorful harnesses and leashes.

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack October 10, 2020 at 12:11 am

      Last year was our first year in our new house, and we didn’t get a single trick-or-treater. Our little family still likes to celebrate though. We dress the dogs up and I make them homemade treats. Kit and Fen don’t mind wearing costumes, I suspect because I got them used to wearing things like sweaters/jackets, to keep warm, when they were puppies. Of course dogs are lovely just the way they are, but as long as costumes are safe and the dog doesn’t mind wearing them, I don’t see any harm in them.

  • Reply Kamira G. October 9, 2020 at 10:40 pm

    I don’t celebrate Halloween however adore seeing little kids and their pets in their creative costumes. Although I don’t celebrate this day I love to make fun spooky designs and watching scary movies!

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack October 10, 2020 at 12:14 am

      I’ve always thought the fall/Halloween was a fun time of year. Kids and pets are especially adorable in their costumes!

  • Reply The Dash Kitten Crew October 11, 2020 at 9:49 pm

    Lots of sensible advice here for those who aim to trick or treat or celebrate Halloween (its just not done here like in the USA). Some costumes do seem to have attachments that can come off so you need to be SO careful!!

    I have enough trouble getting Toulouse into his harness, let alone a costume * sigh * I wish eh?

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack October 11, 2020 at 10:18 pm

      There are SO many cute/silly costumes available, but for sure I think many of them would be best for a quick photo shoot at most, if even that. I’ve never actually taken my puppers trick or treating (I’m a bit too old for that I suppose, lol) but, when possible, Kit loves greeting trick or treaters.

  • Reply Britt K October 11, 2020 at 10:33 pm

    We dress our pups up each year for a seasonal photoshoot in the back yard – nothing fancy, just something fun to create memories. With Indy being a more skittish dog, we usually leave it at that rather than putting him through the stress of going out on Halloween night. However, they do have Halloween bandannas that they wear any time we are heading out in or around the spooky season!

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack October 11, 2020 at 10:50 pm

      I understand that! My Fenrir is afraid of strangers so I don’t actually take him out on Halloween. Their costumes are more for us – we take pictures and give the dogs treats and that’s pretty much the extent of it.

  • Reply Beth October 12, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    I love seeing pets in appropriate Halloween costumes, like the ones you’ve described. My dogs are more likely to wear a bandana or a fun collar for Halloween.

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack October 13, 2020 at 7:14 pm

      Bandana’s seem to be popular lately! I almost bought my boys cute Halloween collars this year but talked myself out of it. Maybe next year.

  • Reply Angela Schneider October 12, 2020 at 7:28 pm

    I’ve never really wanted to do costumes. I suppose if I did, though, I would strap a doll onto Bella’s back and tell everyone she was Falcor. 😀

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack October 13, 2020 at 7:17 pm

      I don’t know why, we’ve done costumes almost every year since Kit was a pup even though we don’t take them out on Halloween or do anything too special. I mostly like them for the adorable pictures. Bella would make an adorable Falcor for sure!

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