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Dog Halloween Costume

Dog Halloween Costumes: How to read their body language

Halloween – or shall we say Howl-o-ween – is an exciting event for many. It’s full of spooky movie marathons, clever costumes, and tons of sweets! If you like dressing up and want to know if it's safe for your dog to join in, this is for you.


More than 66% of owners buy dog Halloween costumes . While some dogs will enjoy being dressed up, a Rover study found that costumes can affect your furry pal’s physical and emotional state. That’s why it’s important to look at your beloved canine’s body language when you introduce  a dog halloween costume. 


In this article, we'll cover Dog Halloween Costumes and important body language cues to watch out for. This way you can ensure your pup has a safe and Happy Halloween!

Dog Halloween Costume
Veronica via Pexels

How do dogs feel about wearing Halloween costumes?

Deciding if your dog should wear a Halloween costume depends on their comfort and the costume you choose. You should only dress up your dog if you think they will enjoy it! If your dog dislikes wearing a winter coat or doesn't enjoy being handled, they probably won't like wearing a dog Halloween costume either.


If your pup enjoys wearing costumes, make sure you pick a safe dog Halloween costume for them. We recommend going for Velcro fastenings and avoid Halloween costumes with elastic, drawstrings, or buttons. It’s also important to avoid costumes with anything dangling from them in case your dog swallows it. 


The dog Halloween costume should also not restrict your pup’s movement in any way as this can cause them stress. Even the most confident dog will feel anxious if their Halloween outfit  is restricting their movement or covering their face. Some other aspects to look out for include:


  • The material of the dog Halloween costume: An itchy jumper isn’t comfy for you and won’t be for your furry friend either! If the material is uncomfortable and itchy, your dog may develop a negative impression of clothing and resist wearing any again.

  • Check the sizing of the dog Halloween costume: When purchasing the dog Halloween costume, it’s important you have the sizing correct. A costume that is too loose for your dog could cause an accident or injury. Similarly, a costume that is too tight will feel restrictive. Always take time to measure your pup’s body and adjust their costume so it fits them accurately.

  • Avoid beads, plastics, sequins, and anything sharp: Dogs are curious and love nothing more than to chew objects! Anything dangling on the costume could be really tempting for your dog to gnaw on, which could lead to a choking risk. It’s best to opt for a simple dog Halloween costume with no fancy bits that could fall off.

  • Do not cover your pup’s eyes, mouth, and nose: A safe dog Halloween costume will not cover your pup’s eyes, mouth and nose. This could prevent them from seeing, hearing, or being able to eat and drink. Very stressful for your poor pup!


Additionally, some dogs are prone to heat exhaustion. Especially those with thick fur, short noses, or certain medical conditions. Some known dog breeds that are prone to heat stroke include English Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Pugs and Boxers.

Dog Ghost Costume
Paige Cody via Unsplash

What are the signs that a dog Halloween costume is making your pup stressed?

Your dog may look cute in their Halloween costume, but it's important to pay attention to how they're acting. Putting your pup in a costume can cause them stress, particularly if it involves putting the clothing over their head or trying to lift their legs through sleeves. 


A dog behaviourist explained in the Daily Echo that there are four F’s to look out for: fight, flight, freeze, or fidget. Here are signs to show your furry friend  is distressed in their dog Halloween costume:


  • If your dog is rolling around and trying to get free 

  • If they pull at the costume with their teeth or paws

  • Their tail and ears are down and eyes wide

  • Shaking as if they have just got wet

  • If they are refusing to move or are frozen in fear: An important one to look out for. This is extremely common in dogs wearing costumes as they emotionally shutdown as they feel they can’t get away.

You should never ignore these signs as sometimes a dog can become aggressive if you don't notice their subtle warning signals. These signals can include:


  • Licking their nose or lips

  • Yawning

  • Turning their head or body away or trying to walk away from the situation.

What are the signs my pup is happy with their dog Halloween costume?

Dogs communicate how they feel through their body. If your dog is happy and comfortable in their new dog Halloween costume they will have relaxed body muscles, loose lips or open mouth panting happily. 

Dog Halloween Costume
Sam Lion via Pexels

How to introduce your dog to their Halloween costume

We recommend purchasing the dog Halloween costume at least two weeks before the event. This way you can introduce your dog to their costume slowly. You can achieve this by first showing them the costume and giving them some tasty dog treats. 


After a couple of days, try putting the costume over their back, making sure to give them some more encouraging treats. A few days later, try to put them in their costume and have more tasty treats on hand. By giving your pup dog treats, they will associate their new dog Halloween costume as a positive. 


However, If your dog appears uncomfortable or stressed, it's best to ditch the costume. There are other ways you can include your dog into the fun! For example, you can purchase them a Halloween bandana, or maybe a fun spooky dog toy for them to enjoy. 


To ensure your dog enjoys Halloween in a safe way without restrictions, check out some of our fun dog Halloween products below. Including adorable Halloween bandanas in various styles and cute interactive toys that will get your pup into the spooky spirit!

Dog Halloween Costumes thoughts from WOOOF

There's no harm in having your dog join the Halloween fun if they're willing! It really depends on your fur baby and what they are comfortable with. Make sure to look for signs of stress and choose a well-fitting dog Halloween costume that allows for easy movement. 


With that being said, we hope you and your furry friend have a Happy Howl-o-ween!

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