Are you planning to enjoy some Halloween fun with your dog? Make sure it’s a treat for him by observing these Halloween costume safety tips. Whether that fun means an afternoon of costumed photos, a pet parade, or an evening of trick or treating, it’s important to make sure your dog is safe and comfortable in his or her Halloween costume.
Not all dogs appreciate or accept costumes. Our dogs will tolerate costumes for a few minutes but, in general, they don’t like to wear clothing (other than coats when it’s really cold) so we never keep them costumed longer than a few minutes for photos.
Choosing a Pet Costume
If your dog is wearing a costume longer than it takes to snap a few photos, be sure to keep these tips in mind:
- Pass on costumes that are too tight or in any way restrictive.
- Select a costume that’s appropriate for your weather. It’s still very warm here in October so we’d never select a heavy costume.
- Even if it’s not hot where you live, watch your dog for signs of heat exhaustion.
- Avoid costumes that are too long and put your dog at risk for tripping.
- Avoid costumes that have attachments that he could pull off and choke on or chew.
- Skip costumes with head gear that interferes with his vision.
Helping Your Dog Feel Comfortable in a Halloween Costume
Once you’ve selected the costume, it’s time to put it to use!
- Use extra high value treats which can easily be broken into bite-sized bits to encourage your dog as you’re costuming him. (We also use them along with the “watch me” command to capture a photo looking at the camera!)
- Once the costume is on, get your dog moving to distract him.
- If you plan to trick or treat with your dog or attend a dog-friendly Halloween event, have a trial run with the pet costume first to allow your dog to get accustomed to it.
- Select costumes that have a reflective strip if you’ll be out at night or consider adding a lighted collar and/or a lighted dog leash.
My Dog Won’t Wear a Costume!
Can’t get your dog to wear a costume but still want to have some Halloween dress-up fun? The answer might lie in accessories:
- Buy a Halloween-themed dog collar and/or leash.
- Tie a Halloween-themed bandana around your dog’s neck.
- Decorate your dog’s harness. Attachments like these wings on our Irie’s harness usually don’t distract your dog.
- Buy your dog a Halloween-themed toy to carry.
Make sure Halloween is a TREAT for both you and your dog by ensuring that your dog is comfortable in whatever costume he might be wearing!