A dog in a Halloween pet costume sits alongside a pile of pumpkins

Halloween Dog Costumes, Tricks, Treats and More

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Dog Halloween costumes can totally break the cuteness radar (who said Halloween had to be scary). But are they safe and do dogs like them? If you’re all about Halloween pet fun, making sure your pet is actually having fun is key.

In this article, PD Insurance shares how to tail-or spooky celebrations to your furkid.

A dog wears a Halloween costume and is surrounded by jack-o-lanterns

Should dogs wear Halloween costumes?

Dog Halloween costumes are hugely popular. Wherever you look on the internet you’ll find spooky poses with pets in costumes however, as joyful as dress-ups can be, they can be risky.

It’s important to do it right and we’ll help you with that. Make sure Halloween outfits for dogs aren’t scary for them (only for the camera) by following these safety tips.

#1 Dog Halloween costumes mustn’t restrict movement

Dogs love action – they’re all about running, jumping and playing. Halloween outfits for dogs should cater to that, which means no restricted movements.

Even though you (along with everyone else) may love looking at the ‘cuteness’ of social media pics of dogs in elaborate outfits, if it hinders movement then it’s a no-go.

Anything that covers most of your dog’s body could be too much. Anything that fastens too tightly and makes them hold a pose isn’t good either. Try out the outfit in advance to see whether pooch can do things normally in and around the house.

#2 Beware of Halloween pet choking hazards

To avoid choking hazards, choose a dog Halloween costume that fastens with velcro. Steer clear of Halloween pet outfits that use strings, elastic or any other dangly bits as these could pose a danger.

While you might think long dangly things like tassels, drawstrings, buttons etc are obvious choking dangers, you could be wondering “why not elastic?”.

Your dog could easily get an elastic neck band hooked on a gate, tree branch, door handle or something else and end up pulling so hard they get into a sticky situation. On the other hand, velcro won’t hold under pressure, making it the safer option.

A little dog gets dressed up for Halloween pet fun

#3 Keep a check on their temperature

Careful of dog Halloween costumes that could raise your pet’s temperature. Remember you or I can take our jacket off when we get hot under the collar, but pets can’t. Not without your help.

Make sure you know how to tell if your dog is hot. Dog overheating can be a serious health hazard. Aim for light cover (don’t cover lots of fur) and breathable material. And if you’re planning on taking photos of your pet in costume consider removing the outfit once you’ve taken your snaps.

Remember, a dog Halloween outfit is great, but dogs don’t wear clothes for a reason. They’ve already got a fur coat. Anything extra is like you or I wearing another outfit over and above a fur coat, so keep a constant check on your pup’s temperature.

#4 Don’t force your dog to wear a Halloween costume

We may love seeing them dolled up to the nines but pets don’t always like dressing up. If your dog shows the slightest hint they don’t like being dressed up, don’t force them to.

They’ll just be uncomfortable and unhappy and potentially learn fearful behaviours if you make them dress up and they’re not keen on it. Worse still, Halloween outfits could pose a physical danger for dogs who are scared and act out of the ordinary. They could bolt or get themselves tangled up.

dog wears a Halloween outfit

#5 ‘Eyes on’ to supervise your Halloween pet

Like we said, pets normally don’t wear clothes. If you dress up your pet, always supervise them. Keep a close eye on your pet if they’re rocking some garb or other – whether decked in their Halloween finest, Easter costumes for dogs or dog jackets

Neither they nor you might know about dog Halloween outfit dangers until they happen. A costume mishap-prompted vet visit isn’t how anyone should spend this fun-filled celebration. If you’re there and you’ve got eyes on, you can react quickly to untangle, unhook, undo, etc.

#6 Practice makes perfect at Halloween time

When it comes to Halloween pet outfits, get your pooch used to wearing the outfit beforehand, slowly. Let them wear only part of it or let them wear the whole outfit for a few minutes then take it off again. Give them the chance to get used to their dog Halloween outfit over a few days, or even weeks beforehand.

#7 Take care when striking a pose

Dog Halloween outfits don’t actually have to be worn on Halloween. Nor do they have to be worn for the full trick-or-treat period. Think about it – could you get all the cuteness value from your dog Halloween costumes for simply as long as it takes to get good photos?

Again, this depends on how comfy or not your pooch feels wearing the outfit. If you put it on them when they’re happy, calm and exercised and have someone help you take a few pics, you can savour the memory furever. Read our pet photography tips to get the perfect pet portrait.

Rottweiler wears a non restrictive dog Halloween outfit

How do I prepare my dog for Halloween?

We peeps sometimes make the mistake of thinking our fun is also pets’ fun, but this isn’t always true. For example, cats’ and dogs’ sense of smell and hearing are so good that if humans had them we’d consider ourselves to have superpowers.

Dogs’ smell is up to 40 times more sensitive than humans’ and they can hear up to four times better – so what sounds like ‘trick or treat’ to us may sound like ‘TRICK OR TREAT!!!’ to dogs.

For your pet, having such acute senses is great until they end up in a situation that results in sensory overload. Like, for example, when a bunch of smelly strangers (reads trick-or-treaters) arrive at your door and start hollering out.

With this in mind, here are five Halloween pet friendly ways to give your dog a not-so-spooky soft landing:

Halloween pet fun and safety is important

How do you keep pets safe during Halloween?

Make a safe space for your pet to enjoy during Halloween. When kids from around the neighbourhood arrive on your doorstep it can be fun for them and you, but less so for your furkid. For them, the excitement may lead to confusion, worry and panic.

Choose a room that’s as far away from the street and your front door as possible. Put your pet’s favourite toys and their bed in the ‘Halloween pet sanctuary’. Perhaps include a T-shirt you’ve just worn so they have your smell close by for comfort.

Create an even more relaxed environment by using a pheromone diffuser for pets. You can start your diffuser going a few days before Halloween so your cat or dog is well chilled by the time spooky ghouls start marching through the streets.

On the night of Halloween, consider playing some of your pet’s favourite music or nature sounds on low volume to help cancel out sounds of trick-or-treaters. Or let them watch their favourite dog or cat tv shows. Read our article on pet safety and fireworks for more ways to make your pet feel safe during human festivities.

Halloween pet dog portrait with pumpkins

Making DIY at-home trick or treats

For dogs, going out in the hustle and bustle of strangers trick or treating isn’t likely a good idea. Save them the sensory overload by doing your own twist on trick or treating.

Trick or treats can, for instance, include teaching your dog a new trick (like playing dead, since Halloween is all about that kind of thing) and making spooky pumpkin-based Halloween pet treats.

Dogs and cats can both eat pumpkin; in fact it might already be an ingredient in some of the pet food you buy them. Since it’s a Halloween staple, when carving out your jack-o-lantern as a front yard decoration you’ll get a key ingredient for your pet treats at the same time!

Explore our favourite howling Halloween dog treat recipes. And you can watch this video for an example of a DIY Halloween themed dog treats recipe:

Wearing a Halloween pet costume yourself

While Halloween dog costumes may not suit your pooch, here’s a workaround: You dress up in a pet costume. There are many marvellous ways to celebrate our pets, and dressing up as them for Halloween is a perfect one.

If you’re stumped for outfit ideas come Halloween then cat and dog costumes aren’t just the way to go, they’re great conversation starters.

A little boy with dog face paint lies on the grass alongside his trusted doggy best bud.

Keeping Halloween pet food dangers away

Halloween is all about satisfying sugar cravings – for humans anyway. Roald Dahl would have a field day writing about the weird and wonderful types of lollies we end up collecting, eating (and hiding). From pineapple lumps to peanut slabs, Halloween feasting is about eating way-too-many lollies from your basket of delights.

But for pets, this is a BIG no-no. Keep in mind that sugar, and chocolate especially, can be harmful to dogs and cats. Don’t leave any treats lying around where pets are able to gobble them down. And if you throw away empty wrappers, make sure the rubbish bin is inaccessible.

Dogs are more likely than other pets to do test tasters and end up sick, possibly needing emergency treatment. Not only is chocolate toxic to dogs but sugar-free candy can be just as deadly – read about xylitol toxicity in dogs.

Read how dog insurance helped Harvey the Schnauzer after he ate something dangerous to dogs.

Get award winning pet insurance

If your pet does happen to smuggle some candy or costume baubles down their gullet, get them to a vet for immediate attention. When you have easy and affordable online pet insurance, you won’t need to stress about the cost of getting medical treatment.

Instead you can focus your concerns on your pet’s wellbeing.

Buy a policy online with PD Insurance today and you’ll get one or more months of FREE pet insurance. Plus, you’ll be happy knowing you’re choosing multi-award winning cover. Click below to get a quote.

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