Halloween is approaching, and your dog doesn’t have a costume! What do you do to get them spooky ready? In this blog post, we have five tips to help you pick out the best outfit for your dog.
Once you have the perfect costume, we have some safety tips for you and your dog in our latest Halloween video on CKC’s YouTube channel and a costume contest for you to enter a photo of your perfectly dressed-up pooch!
1. Size Matters
Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and their costumes do as well. For example, you wouldn't, and shouldn't, put a vest the size of a Shih Tzu on a Great Dane. Look at recommended sizes for outfits on the packages. If your dog is wearing something too big, it may trip over the extra material. Likewise, something too small or blocking their face could leave your dog feeling constricted and panicked. Steer clear of "one size fits all" type costumes as well because they don't most of the time. Measure your dog and double-check when putting it on them – earlier than the day of Halloween. Getting a costume is supposed to be a fun activity, not something to cause distress, so if it doesn't fit right, don't make them wear it.
2. Costume Comfort
Some dogs don't even like to wear a collar, so a costume could be overwhelming. Most dogs aren't used to wearing pieces of clothing like us since they have fur to protect them from the weather and temperature of their environment. So, if you try to put something on a dog and it resists or shows signs of discomfort, don't laugh when they may "act funny." When we put on something we don't like, we want it off, and they do too. What you can try are alternatives to get them in the Halloween spirit. Incorporate them with the costume you will be wearing in little ways and keep it simple with a fancy collar or bandana if they are comfortable with that. Costumes don't always have to be elaborate, and most dogs will thank you.
Be warned, though, that even if you can get your dog into a costume, don't be surprised if it doesn't stay on as you hoped. Just like a small girl with a large bow in her hair she didn't ask for, dogs can get tired of wearing things too and take matters into their paws. Get a few cute pictures and enjoy it while it lasts.
3. Getting the Perfect Costume
For the more creatively inclined people out there, this part is easy. Channel your DIY energy into making the perfect costume for your dog – and maybe even a matching one for yourself. Making it yourself will give your dog the ideal fit, mobility, and fun. Keep in mind to use light materials that won't overheat your pet if they have a lot of hair, and don't use any small pieces that could be a choking hazard.
For those not as good with material and glue or sewing, there’s a solution for you too! Your local pet store or costume store is sure to have a good selection as well as sites on the Internet, but the same cautions apply to buyers when picking out a costume. Make sure you get the right size and pet-friendly quality for your dog to look and feel the best for that Halloween party or when trick-or-treating.
4. Pet Halloween Prep
This step shouldn't be too difficult if your dog has already worn things before, like during winter or rain. If not, it may take a little more time. Like any other new experience, most dogs like to take things slow, and wearing a Halloween costume is no exception. What you can do to help this process is take baby steps. Before even putting the dog in the ensemble, let them see it, sniff it, and be rewarded for positive interactions with it so that they see it as a good thing. Next, you can try to put it on them, but only for short periods. If they react well, they can wear it for a little longer and go for a test run around the neighborhood or park with you to ensure that they don't mind it and can still move like normal. Doing this step will help with more shy dogs as well. Now, don't force them, but slowly introducing them to it and giving treats will help desensitize them and prepare them for Halloween.
Going for a walk could also give you the chance to do more prep for your pup. Use it as an opportunity to: map out where you plan on going, get them used to any Halloween decorations that people may already have in their yards (like giant blowup lawn characters that could scare your dog), see how long they can last to know if they need to be brought back home after a certain amount of time or when to take the costume off, get items together that will be necessary (like food and water), and make sure their identification information is up to date in case they accidentally run off during the night, or there will be a party at home, etc.
5. Make Memories!
The whole point of Halloween and getting dressed up is a night of fun and laughs, so make sure you make the most of it with your pet – whether they join in on the costume fun or not. They will enjoy family time, exercise, and seeing new things or people for the night. And the best way to do that is with plenty of prep, mindfulness, and a positive attitude for yourself and your dog. Overall, get some great pictures and use this time to bond.
Have a safe and fun Halloween!