Halloween’s right around the corner, and it’s time to start shopping around for ghoulish costumes for the kids (or maybe even yourself). But what about costumes for pets? Should you dress up your pet, and what precautions should you take to be sure that your pet’s costume is safe and comfortable?
Basic Pet Costume Considerations
Don’t Stress Out Your Pet.You know your pet best, so you probably already know what they will (and won’t) tolerate. Here are a couple questions to consider initially:
Is your pet okay with being clothed? Some pets (especially dogs) enjoy the extra attention of a fashion makeover, while others are vehemently opposed to wearing any garments at all.
When in the costume, does your pet show signs of being stressed? (Examples: panting, shivering, whining, or chewing the garment.) If so, they may not be a good candidate for dress-up.
Avoid Common Hazards. Halloween should be a fun time for the whole family. If you choose to include your pet in the festivities, you should be aware of some common hazards to avoid:
Be sure the materials used in the garment are pet-safe and flame retardant. If store-bought, check the label for any special precautions. If you’re making your pet’s costume yourself, be sure the materials you’re using offer the same safety protections as a store-bought costume.
Check for any potential choking hazards and parts that could either be swallowed or become wrapped around your pet’s throat.
Check the size and weight limits of the costume to be sure it will fit. Premade costumes range in size from extra-small to extra-large, so take a moment to choose the proper size for your pet). Be sure the garment fits loosely enough to allow comfort and mobility. The ideal costume should also allow your pet to take a bathroom break while trick-or-treating.
Tips for Dressing Up Your Pet
If you’re planning to dress your pet for Halloween but aren’t sure how they’ll react, there are a few things you can do to help your pet get acclimated to the idea:
Buy or make your costume well before the holiday.
Let your pet be curious without trying on the costume.
Try dressing your pet in the costume a few times before the big night.
If there are costume elements (like booties) that your pet absolutely refuses to wear, don’t force the issue.
Be prepared to adjust the costume to ensure that your pet can breathe, move, and relieve itself comfortably.
Any headgear should allow your pet to see and hear comfortably without becoming stressed.
Take a practice walk through the neighborhood in full costume so your pet will know what to expect.
If you plan to be out after dark with your pet in costume, be sure the garment is reflective enough for motorists to see your pet.
Be sure your pet is wearing an ID tag in case you become separated.
You’ll likely be sharing the street with lots of other trick-or-treaters, so your pet’s people skills will be put to the test. If your pet easily becomes anxious or aggressive around strangers, it may be best to let them sit out the walk.
Halloween is a great time to dress up and have fun. If you’re planning to include your pet in the ghoulish festivities, the tips outlined above should help make the evening a safe and enjoyable occasion for all.
Editor’s Note: Looking for spooky fun for the whole family—including your pup? These pet Halloween tips can help you keep your pup safe and included in the holiday festivities!
Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.