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Costumes For Dogs: Yea or Nay?

Gina Batman

In recent years, dogs have become part of our families. There is a wealth of good information readily available about their health and behaviors, they often sleep with us, we take them on our vacations and we might even call ourselves pet parents. But, unlike our human children, they don’t understand the concept of Halloween or dressing in costumes to pretend they are someone else.

Catwoman & Batman at 2014 Cynosport Costume Contest

Some dogs (and even less cats) can tolerate wearing costumes. Others may even enjoy the extra attention if their costume is comfortable. But, many can’t. They don’t like their paws being touched and put through sleeves, don’t like hats on their head and aren’t comfortable with anything that restricts their natural movement.

Bumblebee Family
My Bumblebee Family

Even so, I have to admit, I do dress my dogs, Sanchez and Gina, in costume every Halloween. I wouldn’t say the enjoy it, but they tolerate it just fine. I make sure they are very well paid with yummy treats when I am dressing them and while they stay in costume (usually for less than 10 minutes). And Gina gets her favorite activity afterwards, a game of tug with me.

Don't limit vision, including peripheral
Don’t limit vision, including peripheral

If you do dress your pets, make sure:

  • You allow your dog to sniff and investigate the costume before putting it on
  • All costumers are loose fitting and comfortable
  • There are no chewable accessories or buttons
  • Nothing is covering their eyes that limit their vision
  • They are able to get out of their costume if showing signs of stress
  • Your pet is extremely well paid

As you can see in the video below, Sanchez and Gina, are quite enjoying their payment for wearing their bumblebee costumes.

If your dogs are in costume and you are in the vicinity of other dogs, be careful that your dog’s costume doesn’t obscure body behavior other dogs need to read to understand your dog. If your dog is dressed in a big dinosaur suit, another dog may barely recognize him as a dog and can’t observe his natural body language.

Do you dress up your pets for Halloween? If so, how do they respond? Thanks for sharing your stories in a comment below. And feel to include pictures of your dogs on Facebook.


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3 thoughts on “Costumes For Dogs: Yea or Nay?

  1. I am completely opposed to the practice of dressing up dogs or any other animals in costumes.

    This practice is an insult to the animal’s dignity and reflective of the discredited use of animals as curiosities, playthings, or anthropomorphism for the entertainment of human beings.

    It is not clever. It is not funny. It is demeaning to both the animals and their carers.

    Animals deserve to be respected. They are beautiful creatures in their own right – we don’t need to demean them by dressing them up like cartoon characters or caricatures of themselves or ourselves.

    This is a practice that no thoughtful and truly respectful animal owner would countenance. It should stop. It should stop NOW.

  2. My dogs enjoy wearing costumes. Gabby, in particular! She is a social butterfly and she LOOOOVES the attention! This year she was a rodeo queen with her accomplice as THE BLUE-EYED BANDIT.. ie BUSTER the boston as a HORSE! We were going for 5 yrs in a row WIN but we LOST! it wasn’t right! We were 2nd to LAST place… we were the ONLY ones there on time… a Target(?) costume (it was manufactured) was 2nd place… and First Place: 2 dogs in tutus–really cute but i have TONS of tutus at my house.. but that is too common… i put real effort in designing the outfits i put together. It happens… we may try a different contest next year!

  3. Our little pets- chihuahuas in particular look cute dressed up, however in extreme outfits I think there is a limit to “cute & adorable”

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