Halloween Costume Safety Tips for Your Dog

We’re approaching that time of year when our little ghosts and goblins will be out parading in the night. If you decide to take your dog with you while “trick or treating” with the kids this year, there are some basic safety issues to consider.

If you want to dress your dog up, keep it simple. Your dog doesn’t necessarily have to be put in a full costume. Think about a bandanna or decorative collar. These may be just the right touch. If your dog can tolerate wearing a full costume and actually likes it, pick one that fits comfortably. If it is too tight, it could cut off circulation, restrict movement, obstruct breathing or cause sore spots. If the costume is too loose, your dog can trip or become tangled. Accessories such as strings, capes, belts, etc., can get caught on objects in your house. Your dog could also ingest parts of the costume, i.e. loose fabric or buttons, and choke. If your dog swallows the part, this could cause a blockage or irritation in the gastrointestinal tract.

When you’re outside going door to door- and it will most likely be dark - make sure the costume is reflective so that your dog can be easily seen by drivers. Reflective tape can be bought at the store, cut into strips and then applied to the costume.

If the costume is too heavy, your dog could overheat and/or become exhausted. If your dog is excessively panting or lagging behind, this should be a clue for you to remove the costume.

It’s a smart idea to get your dog used to wearing the costume you have selected. Have him wear it several times before the actual day so he’s comfortable with the new outfit.

Dogs can easily become frightened or spooked by loud or unusual sounds on Halloween night and may try to run away from you. Should this happen, having his ID tag in place will help with his return. Dogs that become stressed in new atmospheres may be more comfortable staying at home in a quiet room away from the sounds of the doorbell and trick or treaters.

These tips and advice from your veterinarian can help make your Halloween night safe and fun for all. You can also view more tips in our Halloween safety video