Eight tips for safe pet costumes

Including your pet in this year’s Halloween festivities? Check out these tips for finding the right costume for your dog or cat

Make sure your dog is comfortable with their Halloween costume

We agree — there’s nothing cuter than a dog dressed as a pumpkin or a cat with a little hat. But sometimes the costumes we find adorable are actually uncomfortable, even hazardous, for our pets. Make sure Halloween is enjoyable for your furry friend with these tips:

  1. The costume must be safe, comfortable and not limit movement. Your animal should be able to walk, bark, meow, see, and hear clearly.

  2. Make sure the costume is made of non-toxic materials.
  3. Avoid small, dangling accessories on the costume that can get chewed and swallowed.
  4. If your costume has a mask or shoes, limit usage.
  5. Get your animal used to the costume before the big day! Offer tons of treats while your pet wears the costume for “practice,” and associate the costume with positive experiences.
  6. Allow your dog or cat to sniff the costume first and pet it with the costume so it smells like them.
  7. Cats and dogs communicate through body language, and costumes can mask that. If you’re going to an event with other animals, make sure you’re paying especially close attention to your pet’s body language.
  8. If your pet freezes when you put on the costume, coax it with treats or a feather toy so they know they can move while wearing the outfit.
Make sure your cat is comfortable with their Halloween costume

Don’t force it — costume alternatives

For some animals, wearing a costume is downright miserable. Only dress up your pet if you’re sure they’re comfortable and not stressed while wearing their outfit. If your pet’s not having fun, you won’t either.

Still want to bring them to a Halloween event? Try these alternatives:

  • Get fancy! A Halloween-themed bandana, collar, or bow tie will look stylish on your best friend.
  • If you have a small dog or a cat, decorate their stroller and let them ride in style.

What you wear matters, too

Finally, don’t forget your costume can be scary to your pet. When you are acclimating your animal to their costume, wear yours around them as well. It’s very easy to overwhelm and stress out a cat or dog that sees people dressed in weird outfits. The key is to making sure your four-legged friend feels safe, comfortable, and relaxed during this spooky season.

Once you get their costume sorted out, read these tips to make sure your dog is ready for Halloween festivities or trick-or-treaters. 

For caring, compassionate advice and resources to address all your animal concerns.

Contact the Pet Helpline