Downeast Dog News

Halloween Costumes

By Judith K. Herman DVM, CVH | Oct 01, 2019


Q. I am dressing up my Labradoodle for Halloween. Is there anything I should be aware of when I make his costume? He is very rambunctious.

A. It is so much fun to dress up your dog as long as your dog enjoys it too. Many dogs tolerate dress up.

There are many places that you can purchase ready-made costumes that are safe and fun, such as pet shops, box stores, and online. If you are making the costume, there are some things to consider.

When you design your creation, be sure you measure your dog correctly. Measure around the lower part of the neck . Next measure from the neck down the back to the top of the tail. Measure his girth around the chest just behind the front legs. Finally measure from the lower neck to the end of the ribs if your dog is a boy or to the back legs if you have a girl. These measurements give you the amount of material to buy for a comfortable fit. You don’t want a costume so loose that the dog gets tangled up in it or too tight so it is uncomfortable and could create sores by rubbing sensitive spots or trouble breathing.

To fasten the body of the costume to your dog, the safest fastener is Velcro. If you use ties, drawstrings, snaps, there is a risk swallowing these parts or getting caught up in the ties.

Elaborate costumes with towering figures, flowers, and other objects are fun, but be aware of the weight of these adornments and how they will affect your dog’s balance and pressure on his back. If there are leggings, be sure Fido won’t get hung up on things in the environment or the leggings being so wide or long he could trip himself or catch a toenail. Decorations made from buttons and bangles can cause a problem if swallowed, such as an intestinal blockage that could mean surgery.

Make sure the costume does not obscure your dog’s vision. This can be scary for the dog and dangerous.

If you plan on painting on the costume, make sure the paint is nontoxic. Any paint that is deemed safe for children is safe for your dog.

Lastly, make sure your dog wants to be in a costume. You may think it is fun, but it could be extremely stressful for Fido. You can test out the idea of dress up by putting a tee shirt on your dog and seeing the reaction. If your dog acts comfortable with the idea, then go ahead with the costume.

Remember to leave a hole for the leash. With all the scary ghosts and goblins around, your dog can easily be spooked.

Have a fun and safe Halloween.


Judith K. Herman DVM, CVH

Animal Wellness Center

Augusta, Maine