Give Your Dog The Best Howliday EVER With These Halloween Costume Safety Tips

To dress your dog up or not to dress your dog up, that is the question many pet owners ponder on Halloween. Some pooch moms and dads say “no way,” while others go all out, and were proud to share their pictures with I Love My Dog!

From going all Jurassic Park

To channeling the force within

Or being the cutest criminal on the block!

Or just adding a simple touch…

All the pups had a spooky-good time!

But unless your dog has a built-in look…

Playing dress-up is the perfect way for your dog to express his or her adorable personality!


Experts say before you dress your dog, establish some ground rules. It’s supposed to be a spooky time of year, but you don’t want to make it scary for your doggo.

First, pet owners should evaluate their pet’s demeanor. Is your dog even a candidate to wear a costume?

Will your pup be comfortable wearing a hitchhiker on his back?


Or transformed into a crime-fighting hero?


“Just like people, every dog has its own comfort level with costumes and wearing outfits in general,” Lori Teller, DMV, and spokesperson for the American Veterinary Medical Association, told I Love My Dog. “It’s all about knowing your dog. Some love the attention they get and don’t mind the costume if it fits well and doesn’t cause anxiety, and other dogs may be uncomfortable or seem embarrassed. Know your dog’s personality and work with what is in its comfort zone.”

Teller warns special occasion festivities aren’t for every pooch. “Some dogs just do not tolerate costumes or the noise and activity associated with Halloween,” Teller said. “If this is your dog, don’t force him to be somebody he’s not. Find a quiet place away from the commotion and excitement, and let him be.”

If your dog wants to be the life of the party

Or is proud as a peacock to get dressed up, make sure you do so safely!

Dr. Teller has tips for pet owners on how to have a doggone safe Halloween:


  • Costumes should fit well

  • Make sure there are no loose pieces that can get caught in bushes or that could catch fire if your dog walks too close to a Jack-o’-lantern or other candles

  • Ensure that your pet won’t trip over pieces that may drag on the ground

  • Avoid small, loose pieces that your dog may chew off and swallow or that may present a choking hazard

  • Make sure your dog can breathe, hear, see, smell, drink and eat in their costume

  • Never leave your dog unattended in their outfit

Remember, Halloween is all about having a monster-good time!

Here’s a tip: Get your dog accustomed to wearing the costume before Halloween. You want them to feel magical when the day comes.

Teller adds, if you’re going to dress up your dog, always make it a positive experience: “Start in your dog’s normal environment and reward positive acceptance of the costume with a favorite treat, not a piece of Halloween candy. Make sure your dog has permanent identification: collar with tag, microchip. In the craziness of Halloween, your dog may slip loose.”

The AVMA has more tips on how to keep your pet safe this Howliday season!

And remember to have a SUPER fun Halloween!

By: Mary Schwager aka “Watchdog Mary”

WatchdogMary TV and print journalist now watchdogging for animals is honored to have won 14 Emmy, 7 Edward R. Murrow and Associated Press awards for investigative reporting & writing. To send Mary story ideas, please contact her on her Facebook page.