Seven 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:

The costume must be safe and comfortble

Your pet's costume should never restrict movement. They should be able to walk, bark, meow, see, and hear clearly.

Make sure the costume is made of non-toxic materials

Avoid painting your pet's costume with paint or cosmetics that could be harmful if ingested, and watch for any signs of allergies to the costume's material.

Avoid potential choking hazards

Avoid small, dangling accessories, like sequins of beads, on the costume that can get chewed and swallowed.

Limit usage of masks and shoes

Keeping your pet comfortable is the most important thing, and masks and shoes can be uncomfortable and restrictive. If your pet appears comfortable with wearing a mask or shoes, still limit how much time they spend wearing the accessories. 

Get your animal used to the costume before the big day

First, allow your pet to sniff the costume until they're comfortable, then offer tons of treats while your pet wears the costume for “practice.” This helps them associate the costume with positive experiences. 

If your pet freezes when you put on the costume, coax them with treats or a feather toy, so they know they can move while wearing the outfit.

Watch for signs of stress

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.

Always supervise your costumed pet

To keep your pet safe, never leave them unsupervised while they're wearing a costume. This way you can monitor your pet's behavior and intervene quickly if they're feeling uncomfortable, stressed, or in pain. 

a golden retriever wearing a bow tie at Whisker Whirl

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're 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 make 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 pet is ready for Halloween festivities or trick-or-treaters. 


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