Dressing Up Your Dog for Halloween

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The following entry has been brought to you by a human. Why am I allowing the humans to write on my blog? It was either that or be forced to look like this poor son-of-a-pug until Halloween…

…Yikes! You can’t lick your scrotum wearing that!

Well, before I hand it off to the humans, just a quick reminder: don’t listen to any of the human’s propaganda, always poop on the carpet, etc., etc…you know the routine. OK, that’s enough for now, there’s some fresh dry-cleaned cloths that need to get chewed up. Bye.


It’s that time of the year. Every store is having their Halloween Bash, and every one and their mothers are having contests for the cutest or most creative contest. The Internet is overflowing with cute and funny pictures of pets that are dressed up. IT IS HALLOWEEN and you would love to see your pumpkin-pie dressed to impress. The problem is, he or she wants none of that.

Pet owners love dressing up their dogs and cats for Halloween. This does not necessarily mean that your pet loves it. Bunk, our baby puppy pug, hates dressing up in general. This year we got him a Star Wars Darth Vader costume. After a couple of days of trying to put the costume on him we came to the realization that there was no way he was going to let us dress him up as Vader. It was not going to happen this year at least, while he was a baby pug and extremely hyper by nature. This was very saddening for me because I really wanted Bunk to look as adorable (if not more) as the other pets out there.


On research, I found out there are safe ways to put costumes on your pet. The ones who have it the easiest are the people who already dressing up their canine friend in clothes. If your pet is already wearing t-shirts and/or sweaters on a regular basis, Halloween costumes will be a piece of cake for you. If a dog is used to wearing clothes, costumes may not be a problem, said veterinarian Terry Marie Curtis, a clinical behaviorist for the Department of Small Animal Clinical Services at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine to the Daily Herald.

Dogs accustomed to wearing snug items designed to calm anxiety — like Thundershirts, Anxiety Wraps or Storm Defender Capes — should be able to adjust to other types of clothing, she said. But every pet is different. “Many dogs hate things on their feet,” she said. “This is true because it can alter how they perceive where they’re walking.”

Some dogs are used to bootees, though, either because they live where the ground gets very hot or cold, or they are carried most of the time. “The smaller pocket pups are more likely to have `dress up’ in their experience because that’s what mom has done since puppyhood,” Curtis said to the Daily Herald.

So far we have talked about one kind of pets. These pets come with two specific qualities. Firstly, they are accustomed to “clothing” of some sort, for whatever reason it might be. Secondly, they do not resist or resist very little when the pet parent tries to put on a costume on them. This means that they are quite calm or can be calmed by the owner.


There are still those little devils like Bunk who have been dressed up a couple of times but are very hyper and will not put on a costume. Here are a couple of different ways in which you can try to lure them into accepting the costume on their little dog bodies:

1-    For starters, try a costume that consists mostly of accessories. Pet Smart buyer Reyna Jew says that angel, fairy or bat wings, a pirate or a witch hat can work well with these guys. These are good because they are a lot simpler to put on that an entire costume. It is easier to hold your dog up and strap a one-step accessory on them than to slide an entire costume that covers their entire body.

If you are accessorizing, PetSmart reminds us to make sure to check the costume for little parts within biting or chewing distance. Remember, they’ll chew on anything they find remotely interesting, especially if they are in a nervous state.

2-    If this is still too much, you can buy your get a hair clip, necklace or a decorative collar that is again a simpler one step process. Pets are used to having a collar on so they might be a lot more easy-going on the decorative collar, such as this. Our friends at Banfield actually prefer that we keep the costume simple for safety reasons.


As you dress up your pet for Halloween, please remember that The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals warns that costumes should not limit an animal’s “movement, hearing, sight or ability to breathe, bark, eat, drink or eliminate. And watch for choking hazards.”

If you are putting a full costume on your pet, please make sure that it fits comfortably. Banfield says, if it is too tight, it could cut off circulation, restrict movement, obstruct breathing or cause sore spots. If the costume is too loose, your dog can trip or become tangled. Accessories such as strings, capes, belts, etc., can get caught on objects in your house. Your dog could also ingest parts of the costume, i.e. loose fabric or buttons, and choke. If your dog swallows the part, this could cause a blockage or irritation in the gastrointestinal tract.

PetSmart says, if your dog or cat doesn’t want to wear the costume, don’t force the issue. Try getting them comfortable with the costume first. Start early and depending on the intricacy of the disguise, start dressing them slowly and in pieces to gauge their reaction.

And, the ASPCA says, remember that chocolate is toxic for dogs, while the aluminum foil and cellophane in candy wrappers can cause serious problems for cats and dogs.

Dr. Justine Lee, associate director of veterinary services for the national Pet Poison Helpline in Minneapolis, said during Halloween week last year, calls about dogs that ingested chocolate increased by 209 percent over a typical week.

All the activity and oddly dressed people coming and going may scare your pet, Curtis said. “I’ve worked with many dogs who are deathly afraid of cameras and the flash, so if their owners are doing a lot of picture taking around this time, then that could contribute to the overall fear, too,” she said.

The ASPCA also suggests keeping pets away from doors when greeting trick-or-treaters and recommends against candles to light up pumpkins.

If you decide to take your dog trick or treating during the night, please make sure that their costume is reflective. This is so that drivers can easily see your pet. Reflective tape can be bought at the store, cut into strips and then applied to the costume.

Our favorite vets at Banfield have some more useful suggestions for us as well. If the costume is too heavy, your dog could overheat and/or become exhausted. If your dog is excessively panting or lagging behind, this should be a clue for you to remove the costume. Look closely at the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and throat of your dog or cat once they are dressed.  If you need to, make physical adjustments to the costume including cutting eye and ear holes or removing whole portions of the costume to increase their ability to see, hear and breathe.

It’s a smart idea to get your dog used to wearing the costume you have selected. Have him wear it several times before the actual day so he’s comfortable with the new outfit.

Dogs can easily become frightened or spooked by loud or unusual sounds on Halloween night and may try to run away from you. Should this happen, having his ID tag in place will help with his return. Dogs that become stressed in new atmospheres may be more comfortable staying at home in a quiet room away from the sounds of the doorbell and trick or treaters. Think about how many times you open your dog on Halloween night!

With these tips-and-tricks we hope you will have a fun and safe Halloween with your furry friend! SPOOK!

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  1. Only one week until Halloween and I need something for my dog. I want to dress him in Robin because I’ll be Batman. Last year we were Smurfs, little blue people. I’m a little confused from what site to order dog clothing for this year’s event, but anything that I’ll choose will be a great choice, as long as I have my companion with me.

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