Let’s face it – people enjoy Halloween costumes more than dogs. Although I love seeing dogs dressed up as goblins, ghosts, celebrities, and hot dogs, I also accept that costumes are not for all dogs and no amount of treats will make them have fun.
Our first dog LOVED dressing up. He would actually dance in circles at the sight of a new outfit or costume. While our current dog enjoys sweaters and coats, anything else like skirts, hats, boots, costumes really stress her out. As much as I would love to dress her up like a Hollywood starlet (she’s blond), I know it would be more for me than her and that’s just not fair.
Quite simply, if your dog is stressed by costumes (or things that go boo in the night), don’t force them. If they are tolerant of dressing up, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Never force the issue. If they are open to costumes, great. If not, find another way to celebrate.
- Less really is more. Complicated costumes with lots of parts, strings, wigs, hats, shoes, capes can be scary (and not in a fun way). The right Halloween-themed t-shirt or bandana is just as adorable and fun.
- Comfort is king (or queen). Say no to scratchy, itchy, floppy, tight-fitting costumes that irritate your dog’s skin or inhibit their movement.
- Bright colors are best. If you are out at night, make sure your dog is visible to cars as well as other people.
- Keep your dog’s face and ears costume free. Make sure they can see and hear.
- Beware of choking hazards. Ribbons, buttons, beads, chains, or any loose items around your dog’s neck or head, can be dangerous.
- Make sure they can still do doggie things. Costumes should never limit your dog’s movement or diminish their senses. Dogs should always be able to move, walk, bark, eat, see, hear and breathe.
General Halloween Safety for Dogs
- Don’t ever force your dog to wear a costume.
- Don’t leave your dog home alone in their costume.
- Keep a close eye on your dog during parades, parties and trick-or-treating.
- As always, make sure your dog’s identification tags are current and visible.
Have fun, stay safe, and don’t forget to take lots of photos!
Kristin Avery is a writer and photographer with an extensive background in philanthropy and a life-long passion for animal welfare. Her blog, The Daily Pip, is an award-winning, lifestyle pet blog providing resources, support, and humor for rescue families. She was recently honored with two BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Social Media Awards this year: Best Cause Blog and Best Written Blog Post.
Kristin received her MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she studied creative writing as well as installation and visual arts. After graduation, she was a founding member of Red Door Animal Shelter, a no-kill shelter for cats, dogs, and rabbits in Chicago. She enjoys working with local Chicago shelters and also recently spent several days at Best Friends Animal Society volunteering at Quincy House with cats with severe special needs including paralysis. Through her blog and volunteer work, she encourages and advocates for rescue and adoption, especially for those animals considered less adoptable. She currently shares her home with one dog, one rabbit, two cats, a husband and 10-year-old daughter.