Halloween pet costumes: Where to find them, how to keep your pets safe and comfortable

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pet Halloween costumes on store shelves

(Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 10 seconds.)

Most pet and other stores are already displaying their Halloween merchandise and the best selection is now available before everything gets picked through.

PetSmart has their racks of costumes up and there is a lot of cute stuff to be found.

But, even non-pet stores, like Michaels craft store is getting in on the pet outfit action. We especially like the shark costume and the SCUBA diver costume, which we think would be great paired if you have two small dogs.

dog shark costume and dog SCUBA diver costume

If you plan on dressing up your dog for Halloween just for the fun of it or to take your pets out to local pet costume contests or other pet costume events, here are a couple of tips to keep in mind:

1) Avoid impulse buys of cute costumes before you are sure they will fit. Oftentimes, it’s difficult to tell in the store or by looking at a picture online whether you have the right size. A costume that is too big can twist around and spook a pet or constantly fall off, while a too tight costume can cause a pet discomfort, or simply not fit and end up being a waste of money.

Before you start looking for a pet costume, to help find the right fit, take some measurements with a tape measure of your dog’s (or other pet’s) length in the following ways:

•from neck to tail,

•width at broadest point around stomach,

•and circumference of arms at the shoulder and at the “wrist” before where paw is (in case the costume has sleeves).

And, also weigh your pet because some costumes are categorized simply by pet weight.

2) Take your pet’s temperament into account. Some pets don’t mind being dressed up. Others hate it. Most are somewhere in between. If your dog, or other pet, is in the first category, you have a wider variety of costumes to choose from.

For pets who don’t so much like to play dress-up, keep it simple. There are a lot of costumes that are only one piece that are still really cute. We bought this doggie cheerleader costume from Amazon a couple years ago. As you can see, it’s simple but still definitely says “cheerleader” without a lot of extras. It can also be dressed up a bit, however. The pompoms that slip on the legs are optional.

Doggie cheerleader costume with pompoms for a medium-size dog.

3) Use special caution when it comes to the animal’s head. We’ve seen a lot of costumes involving hats, hoods or headbands with attachments.

If your animal is used to wearing hats, a costume with one should be no problem. But, you might quickly find that a dog or cat that has never had a hat or headband on it before isn’t going to start on Halloween.

Most animals instinctively prefer to have their eyes and ears unobstructed in the event of any dangerous or interesting new sights and sounds.

Repeated attempts to position a headband or hat met with paw swipes at the offending adornment may end up causing stress to you and your pet.

If your pet seems annoyed or scared, it’s probably a good idea to forego the headpiece and let your pet enjoy the festivities in partial costume.

That’s another reason we like the shark and SCUBA costumes shown above. The shark costume lets you fold the head back if your pet doesn’t want it on, so people can still see how the costume is meant to look. Similarly, the SCUBA diver goggles and and snorkel appear to go around the dog’s neck instead of over the face.

For more on Halloween safety for pets, here’s a list of general tips from the ASPCA.

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