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