Are Halloween Costumes OK for Pets?

What are you going to be for Halloween? A witch, a goblin or a ghost? Or something altogether different and original such as the government shutdown, 50 Shades of Grey or a cereal killer?

What about your pet? Do you plan on dressing him or her up as well? I have seen some pretty cute pet costumes such as hot dogs for doggies and a bird for a cat.  But, I admittedly have mixed feelings about dressing up our furry friends in frills, hats, horns, wings and wigs. Especially wigs.


So many of the dogs I see in costume look absolutely humiliated such as the boxer dressed as a carrot bunch below. He seems to be thinking, please, oh please, do not let any of my buddies see me – and God forbid, PLEASE do not let my photo go viral on the internet! (Sorry, too late.)



The cats I have seen dressed up also generally look displeased, but more irritated than humiliated, and I have the distinct impression that those costumes will be off and/or shredded in mere minutes!

I recently wrote a post about a cat fashion show where cats were forced into ridiculous costumes and then thrust upon a stage with bright lights, lots of people, noise and flashing cameras. That to me, was over the top and borderline abusive in some cases.

To be fair, I have seen some dogs and even cats, ferrets and parrots that do not seem to mind the theatrical entanglements imposed upon them by their beloved humans. And if the animal clearly does not mind, that seems okay with me.

I also met a lovely dog owner yesterday who had her pup dressed up as a bumblebee. I told her about the post I was writing and she responded, explaining that her dog loves wearing a costume as he associates putting on clothing (especially in the snowy winter) with going out for a walk. His tail starts wagging very enthusiastically when his costume or any of his clothing items come out. He also loves the extra attention he gets with the bumblebee ensemble.

Pet experts have, of course, weighed in on the subject of whether pet costumes are okay or not and this is what they say: it depends on the pet and the costume. In general, the pet experts say costumes are okay as long as you are certain that your pet is comfortable and safe in his/her holiday gear.


Next page:  ASPCA guidelines for pet costumes, plus photos of pets in costume

The ASPCA does offer a list of guidelines that you should follow if you decide to dress your pet for the holidays:

Your pet’s Halloween garb should not constrict his or her movement, hearing or ability to breathe, bark or meow. Be sure to try on costumes well in advance and if your furry friend seems distressed, please switch back to the classic birthday suit.

Examine your pet’s costume and make sure it does not have any small, dangling or easily chewed-off pieces that she could choke on. Also, ill-fitting outfits can get caught on external objects or your pet, leading to injury.

Make sure your dog or cat has proper identification on underneath that cute costume. If for any reason your pet escapes and becomes lost during Halloween festivities, tags or a microchip can be a lifesaver.

I would also add to those guidelines that the length of time the pet is costumed should be minimal and that pets will inevitably feel safer wearing a costume in their own home or familiar place than they will in an unfamiliar place.

A festive alternative to actual clothing, wigs, wings etc, consider taking your pet to the groomer and having a special haircut and/or dye job. Your pet could be transformed like Charles the Monarch and not even know it. Click here to see a zebra-dog, a panda-chow, a tiger-lab and a peacock-poddle.

Below are photos of some of the costumes people have chosen for their pets. Do not miss the expressions on each animal’s face. What do you think they are thinking or feeling? And finally, what is your opinion about dressing our furry companion animals up for the holidays?


Irritated? Displeased? Bemused? About to shred the human hands that put this on?




Feeling hip? Naughty? Tough? Hot to trot?



Bored? Deeply displeased? Or just warmer?


Confused? Intrigued? Or couldn’t care less?


Bewitched? Bewildered? Befuddled?




Humiliated? Bemused? Trying to remain dignified?



Resigned? Bored? Shy?


Feeling French? Enjoying the attention? Frisky?


Feeling sexy? Hip? Annoyed?

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Christine Jones
Christine Jones6 months ago


Carrie-Anne Brown
Carrie-Anne Brownabout a year ago

thanks for sharing

Jenna Brennan
Jennifer B.2 years ago

In my opinion it depends on the animal. Some are easy going and don't mind dressing up to please their owners. Others are clearly bothered by it. Treat your pet like you would a friend and don't force them to do anything that makes them uncomfortable.

Roxane Connor
Roxane Connor2 years ago

Saw the ultimate in humiliation for a dog............. a squirrel costume.

Connie T.
con t.2 years ago

There's really something wrong with people who insist on humiliating animals.

Helen Krummenacker

Heh. The witch cat doesn't mind, but is thinking about the unusual feeling of it.

Laura T.
Laura T.2 years ago

costumes are great but only if they are able to remove them&actually enjoy wearing them. some pets just dig dressing up others dont

Vicky Baker
Vicky B.2 years ago

They do look cute if they are willing to wear it but they shouldn't be forced, it's not natural after all.

Crafty Mugs
Past Member 2 years ago

depends on the pet and costume : )

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne Rogers2 years ago