Some pets enjoy dressing up just as much as we humans do! Many dogs enjoy the attention they get while wearing a costume, and will eagerly stand to be dressed for Halloween, knowing they will get a great reaction from every kid who visits. If your dog is a Howl-oween fanatic (or if you want to find out if he is), here are some tips to help you find the right costume:
Start by understanding the basic ingredients to the perfect costume. Avoid any parts that are toxic or made of irritating materials, and remove choking hazards that your dog can reach and swallow. If your pet has never worn a costume before, keep it simple the first time you play dress up – hats and extra pieces can be upsetting to dogs, so for your first costume, try something that is one piece, like a t-shirt or a vest.
Keep your dog’s anatomy and comfort in mind at all times. Costumes that restrict your pet’s mobility or make it difficult for her to breathe should not be used. You will also want to make sure that she is not too hot or too cold, and choose materials that are durable.
Consider taking your dog out for a test run in the costume before the big day. You may need to make adjustments or even try a different costume. Alternatively, you may find that your pet doesn’t mind extras like hats, scarves, and other accessories, giving you more freedom to try a more elaborate costume.
Of course you’re going to want to take pictures! Keep your photo shoots short and fun, and don’t frustrate your dog with lots of poses. You want your dog to enjoy wearing a costume. Make sure that when your pet starts to look uncomfortable or starts fiddling with the costume that you remove it and give a reward for being so patient with you.
No matter how much your dog enjoys wearing his costume, never leave him unattended in the outfit, especially if it is a complicated design. Costumes can snag and get caught on things, potentially putting your dog at risk for injury. When you must leave your dog alone, remove the costume first.
Most of all let your dog determine what is or is not okay. Some dogs would prefer not to be social, and others don’t like clothes. Others may be fine with the attention and even a t-shirt, but a hat or other accessory may be distracting or uncomfortable. Remember that you want your dog to have fun, and limit your efforts to those activities that she enjoys.
For more ideas about fun and functional costumes, visit the AKC Halloween Costume guide! Happy Howl-o-ween!