4 min read

Halloween Safety Tips for Pet Costumes


Written by Adam Lee-Smith

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 10/05/2023, edited: 11/16/2023


From Baby Yoda to Beetlejuice, there’s no shortage of adorable Halloween costumes for dogs. Dressing up pets for Halloween is big business, with Americans spending approximately $500 million on pet-friendly costumes each year.

While dressing up your feline or canine is good fun, consider your pet's safety before putting them in an elaborate outfit. Some pets aren't comfortable with being dressed up, and some costumes might be too restrictive and potentially dangerous. Dress your fur-baby for success on Halloween 2021 with these pet safety tips for costumes!

orange cat with a lion costume on - Halloween Safety Tips for Pet Costumes

Keep your pet's costume simple

Often, pet parents will want to dress their pets up in a big, complicated outfit on Halloween to take the "pawfect" pic for social media and wow their friends. However, dressing your dog or cat in a restrictive costume could put them at risk. 

While wearing their costume, your pet should be able to do everything they normally can. You'll want to ensure any costume you pick doesn't restrict your pet's movement and their ability to see or hear. 

You'll also need to make sure the outfit isn't too tight around your pet's neck, as it could be a choking hazard. Costumes that cover your pet's eyes or ears may stress out your fur-baby and cause them to lash out.

If you're buying a costume from a pet store, check the size. Getting the wrong size could mean the outfit is too tight or too loose, which could hurt your pet.

Do a test run to check your pet is comfortable in costumes

So, how do you check if your dog or cat is happy being dressed up? Try doing a test run a week or two before Halloween to see if your pet is happy in a costume. 

Get an old t-shirt and try to put it on your pet. Choose an area they're comfortable in and familiar with, like your living room or backyard. To create a positive association, have some of your fur-baby's favorite treats handy. If your pet shows signs of distress or tries to remove the clothing, they may not be ready for a Halloween costume.

While it might take a few tries to train your dog or cat to wear clothes, you also don't want to cause your pet unnecessary stress. Never force your fur-child to wear clothes or a costume, and keep training sessions short.

French Bulldog in a devil costume

Watch your pet's body language for signs of stress and pain

"Unfurtunately", our pets can't tell us an outfit is causing them discomfort, so we have to watch their body language instead. Your pet's body language, particularly their eyes and tail, will indicate if they're anxious or uncomfortable.

Trembling, whining, heavy breathing, and limping are all signs your Halloween hound is in pain. Being able to see the whites of a dog's eyes is another clear sign they're in distress. If your cat is in pain or in distress, they may yowl, hide, breath rapidly, and become aggressive. 

If your pet is showing signs of discomfort or stress, remove their costume. Leaving the costume on could cause them injury, or they may lash out and hurt someone else due to stress.

Avoid choking hazards on costumes

Some pets, especially our canine compadres, can't resist chewing on something — it's part of their nature! To keep your pet safe, choose an outfit that doesn't have any choking hazards or small pieces they can rip off and eat. These could get stuck in their intestines, possibly requiring surgery.

Don't leave your dressed-up pet unsupervised

Once Halloween rolls around, it's easy to become distracted and leave your pet alone in their costume. To keep your pet as safe as possible, don't leave them unsupervised on Halloween. Not only can this ensure your pet is comfortable in their costume, but it also means they won't be able to sneakily scoff some harmful Halloween treats.

Related: 13 Halloween Treats Your Pet Can Eat

West Highland Terrier dog in a vampire costume

Check for dangerous chemicals in Halloween cosmetics

Nowadays, pet parents don't need to worry as much about toxic chemicals in Halloween costumes and cosmetics. Most materials in Halloween costumes are non-toxic to pets. That said, you'll want to avoid putting fake blood or glow-in-the-dark makeup on your dog's outfit, as your pet could lick it off. 

Unless cosmetics state they're safe for pets, they could be poisonous. And even if a cosmetic is pet-friendly, it could upset your pet's stomach or cause an allergic reaction. Use caution and consult your vet before using cosmetics on your dog or their Halloween costume.

Fun and safe Halloween costume ideas for pets

Can't think of any fun and safe Halloween costumes for pets? Here are a few cute and comfy costume ideas you can dress your pet in this Halloween.

  • Halloween bow tie or bandana: If your pet doesn't like playing dress-up, then start shopping for a Halloweeny bandana or bow tie. This accessory is simple and stylish, and it won't harm your pet.
  • Matching outfits: By planning a matching costume with your pet, you can do all the heavy lifting while they wear a matching collar or sweater.
  • Spooky stroller or crate: If you have a pint-sized pet, like a rabbit, cat, or small dog, deck out their stroller or carrier in Halloween decorations. This way, your pet is both scary and safe.
  • Midriff costumes: The safest costumes tend only to cover your pet's midriff. Dress your ginger cat up as a pumpkin or your Dachshund as a hot dog. Both are simple and unlikely to harm your pet.

Find your dog's pawsome Halloween look with the Best Halloween Costumes for Dogs 2023!

Your dog Fido's Halloween Costume this year

Comments (1)

Adiestramiento canino a domicilio Guadalajara


Pet costumes and clothes should be comfortable. It is actually very important. Without proper attention, it can cause harm to your pet. <a href="https://en.modestdogmx.com/university">Adiestramiento canino a domicilio Guadalajara</a>

Leave a comment

Your name




Add photo(s) of your petoptional