How to Dress Your Dog Safely For Halloween

Two dogs dressed safely for Halloween.

Our dogs mean the world to us. They are cute, loving, and loyal. That's why when the holidays come around we tend to want to show off our poochie’s cuteness to the rest of the world by dressing them up in costumes that complement their cuteness. But not all costumes are right for our curious canines. There is no better time to keep this concern in mind than the Halloween season. That bumble bee costume may make your dog look cute, but is your dog comfortable, and is that costume even safe for your pet to wear?

Do Dogs Like to Dress Up?

While we may love dressing up in nice clothes it’s important to remember that dogs are not humans. Clothes feel natural and comfortable to use but the same can’t be said for most pets and animals. There are many kinds of clothes and costumes that may make your pet feel anxious or uncomfortable. Be sure to watch your pet and make sure they are comfortable with whatever you are putting on them. Keep their feelings in mind! 

When dressing your dog, make sure its ability to move isn’t hindered or made uncomfortable. Many costumes for pets can restrict the way your pet normally moves, such as preventing them from grooming themselves, walking or running comfortably, or even using the bathroom. A general rule would be to avoid large blocky costumes that cover a lot of your pet's body.

You’ll also want to check your pet's body language and stress level after dressing them. They may not be restricted in any way but if they are stressed out or outright dislike the costume you should remove it from them immediately. You can tell if your dog is stressed by looking for the following signs-- 

  • Whining/Barking
  • Growling
  • Pacing around
  • Tucked ears or tail

Dogs will whine when they are anxious, scared, or stressed out. If your dog is whining while wearing their costume it likely means it’s stressing them out or they don’t understand what is happening and, as a result, they become scared. Barking is another response that can be triggered by similar conditions to whining. While it is true that sometimes dogs will bark and whine when they want attention, and where a cute costume would likely increase their desire for attention, you can avoid confusion by looking for the other traits of stress as well.

A sad looking doggo

This dog looks pretty sad and is an example of how your dog might look at you while you are dressing him/her up. Image courtesy of Pexels.

If your dog is growling after you’ve put their costume on or while you're putting it on they are likely trying to tell you that the costume is invading their personal space, making them uncomfortable, or is outright hurting them. If your dog begins to growl during or after the dressing process, remove the outfit immediately.

Pacing is an easy one to miss or even misunderstand. Some people may see their dog pacing around as them being excited by their cute new outfit. The more likely reason behind your pet's pacing is that they are stressed out and can’t settle down. Pay attention to your dog's other signs in combination with this one to determine their stress level.

Finally, we have the tucked ears and tail signs. These signs function as a way for your dog to relieve stress. So if their ears and tail were normal before the costume dressing, but are now tucked during or after the dressing, that is likely a sign that the outfit is stressing him/her out and he/she is trying to find a way to deal with it. Once again, if this occurs, remove the costume immediately.

What Clothes or Costumes Are Good Picks For Dogs?

Let’s first get a costume type you should avoid out of the way. Costumes that are designed to be funny or goofy should be avoided. You should treat your dog with respect just as you would want to be treated. Dogs don’t like being laughed at and dressing them up in silly or ridiculous outfits is very inconsiderate of their feelings. Put yourself in their shoes before you pick out an outfit.

So what can dogs wear? Properly fitted boots and coats are a good choice. These clothes are made specifically for dogs with the purpose of keeping them warm in mind. Considering Halloween is in the fall it might be a bit chilly out so your dog may appreciate the extra bit of warmth. You may want to dress your dog in a Hi-vis jacket while you’re out on Halloween night. These jackets will increase the visibility of your dog, making them easier to spot for you and passing cars. You can also say that your dog is working as a construction worker as its Halloween costume. Safe and cute.

Construction doggo in a Hi-vis Jacket.

This dog is wearing a Hi-vis jacket and it looks pretty comfy! Image courtesy of Pexels.

Another costume idea for your pets is to give them a colored bandana, scarf, or collar. These clothing options are relatively unrestrictive and nothing that your dog isn’t used to wearing, assuming you keep a collar on your dog. Bandanas are incredibly cute and can be customized with many different colors and patterns. The same goes for scarves and collars, though, collars have the added benefit of being more secure and can have a leash attached to them. Just make sure things aren't too tight!

A white doggy wearing a bandana

Have a look at this small dog wearing a small orange bandana around its neck. Cute, safe, and festive! Image courtesy of Puppyleaks.


These are really the only costume ideas that I believe have the smallest chance of causing your pet any discomfort. I know for some this may be hard to hear and accept. But these things are important to keep in mind as a pet owner. No matter how much joy and happiness we may get from seeing our babies dressed up in the coolest and cutest outfits imaginable, it’s not worth making them feel sad, scared, or uncomfortable, even for a second. I hope this blog gave you some ideas for making your doggo cute for the Halloween season. I also hope this blog talked you out of a potentially bad costume for your precious baby.

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