Halloween costumes for dogs
A golden Cockapoo sits on a wooden box next to a variety of different sized pumpkins.

Halloween costumes for dogs

9 October 2023

Written by Dr David Tweedle, BVetMed MRCVS Clinical Director
Reviewed by Dr Jill McMaster BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon and in-house expert at BorrowMyDoggy on 9 Oct 2023

How to keep your pup safe and stylish this October

Halloween (or Howl-oween as we like to call it) is a time for fun and celebration, but it can also be a bit scary for our pups. With all the costumes and decorations around, it's important to make sure your pooch feels safe as well as stylish this October.

Some dogs just love being involved with the festivities, but for others, they might prefer a bit of a quieter time, which is where a local, trusted borrower can help.

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In this guide, we will discuss some of the best Halloween costume options for dogs, as well as tips on how to keep them comfortable and safe during Howloween.

Let's get started!

Overview of our Halloween guide:

Do dogs mind wearing Halloween costumes

Halloween dog bandanas

Do it right!

Is your dog uncomfortable?

Matching with hoomans

Halloween treats

Do dogs mind wearing costumes?

Costumes can make some dogs very stressed and uncomfortable, and it may be best not to dress them up at all. Dr David Tweedle, My Family Pet Vet and Clinical Director at Natures Vet in Somerset, explains…

“It’s approaching that time of year where you scroll through Facebook and Instagram and are treated to pictures of your friends’ pets all dressed up for Halloween.

This may look fun, and it probably is for the humans involved, but the important question to ask is: is the dog happy?

More often than you’d think, and even in the most confident, outgoing dogs, wearing a Halloween costume can cause distress. Especially when costumes restrict breathing, obstruct vision or impair movement – as many do."

Dexter the Cockapoo wearing a pumpkin bandana on a floor full of burnt orange leaves

If you want to get your dog into the spirit, but want to avoid a costume, there are easy ways to get them involved, for example with Halloween bandanas.

Halloween bandanas for dogs

There are lots of different options out there, and a funky, scary-themed collar or bandana can achieve Halloween without making your pooch uncomfortable.

Whether your pup is big or small, Halloween bandanas can add the perfect touch of Howloween to your pooch’s look. Plus, they can help to keep your dog's fur clean. What's not to love?

Bandanas for dogs come in a variety of themed designs, from traditional pumpkins to more modern patterns.

And, if you're feeling extra festive, you can even find bandanas with built-in led lights that are sure to turn heads at the dog park.

So this Halloween, make sure your fuzzy friend is ready to celebrate with a Halloween bandana of their own.

Best places to find the perfect Halloween bandana for your pup:

There are quite a few places that offer doggie bandanas, but here’s our personal favourites:

Coco the Cocker Spaniel puppy wearing a Halloween-themed bandana sat next to a pumpkin

Some dogs will obviously be more frightened by wearing costumes than others, but it’s not just the shy, timid dogs you need to watch out for. Even the most confident canines can suffer if they’re suddenly made claustrophobic by a costume, if part of their vision is blocked or if they can’t move as naturally as normal.

If you’re going to do it, do it right…

If there is a costume you’ve got your eye on, ask yourself the following before making your dog wear it:

  • Will it cover much of their face?
  • Is it too tight around their ribs or chest?
  • Will they be too warm wearing it?
  • Are there any parts they could chew on and swallow?
  • Will they be able to see and turn their head properly?
  • Will they be in danger of tripping over it?

If the answer to any of these is YES, then it’s probably not the right thing for your dog to wear. If you do manage to find a costume your dog is comfortable in, just make sure you keep an eye on them while they’re wearing it, and if they appear visibly distressed or uncomfortable, remove the costume straight away.

How to spot if a dog is uncomfortable in their costume?

If their demeanour changes, they’re probably uncomfortable. You’ll also be able to tell by their body language. Some dogs may even try to get out of their costume by biting or scratching at it.

Remember: a lot of dogs don’t like being dressed up. Unless they’re wearing something like a coat protecting them from harsh weather conditions, or a protective t-shirt or suit acting as a barrier stopping them from damaging a wound, wearing clothes doesn’t benefit our pups.

Take your specific situation into account when deciding what to do for Halloween. If you’re having a children’s party, for example, it might not be the best idea to have your dog in a costume that youngsters might grab at.

But, you know your dog better than anyone - what they like and what they don’t, how they act when they’re happy and when they’re unhappy. Always make sure Halloween is as fun for them as it is for you.

Matching with Hoomans

One of the big trends is for us to match our dogs when it comes to costumes. As long as your dog is comfortable and happy you can enjoy being twins with your pooch.

Or why not try and create an iconic duo with your pooch? Lots of our favourite characters of television and film, have pawsome canine companions. Maybe you want to be Dorothy with Toto by your side; Shaggy and solve some mysteries with Scooby-Doo; or perhaps you want to go on an adventure in Quahog and beyond as Stewie and Brian. Just make sure your pet is ok with your costume, and doesn't get a fright because they don't recognise you!

Brian, the Labrador Retriever

Halloween treats for your pup

Halloween is a spooky time of year, and your dog deserves some special treats to celebrate the occasion! Here are a few ideas for dog-friendly Halloween snacks that will make your furry friend howl with delight.

Halloween doggie treats

So you've scooped out the pumpkin, ready to make a lantern, what are you doing to do with all that pumkiny goodness? Why not try making Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Pupcakes that your pooch is sure to love. Or you could make some Halloween shaped dog biscuits, using cookie cutters to create the desired shapes.

Halloween DIY dog toys

If you're feeling crafty, why not make one of our DIY dog toys:

Lyla the Labrador Retriever sat smiling next to a Happy Halloween sign

Halloween pumpkin dog treats

Finally, no Halloween feast would be complete without some "pup-kin" cake and treats. Here are our 3 pumpkin-based all-time favourite dog recipes:

Wondering which treats your dog can and cannot share with you this October? Check out our guide on foods your dog can eat!

Keep your Halloween sweets to yourself

Chocolate is toxic to dogs and so is xylitol – an ingredient found commonly in sugar-free treats, chewing gum and even baked goods.

When you return home from a trick-or-treating spree, make sure all of the goodies you’ve collected stay well out of your dog’s reach. Store them somewhere secure and high up – and be careful that nothing drops onto the floor.

This article is for information only, and should never replace any advice, diagnosis or treatment from your veterinary surgeon. Always contact your local vet or out of hours vet without delay if you have any concerns about your dog.

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