Is it ok to dress my pet?

Author picture Jessica

Halloween is frighteningly close and it’s time to get your costumes and candy ready! But what about your pet….can they join in the festivities too?

You have probably noticed the trend of pet costumes on social media and the news – it seems that everywhere we turn there’s a dog or cat dressed as a pumpkin, fairy, sushi roll and everything else in between.  

While we don’t deny this can be super cute, it’s important to ask whether this is ok or fair for your pet.

Some pets may seem to be totally fine with a level of being ‘dressed’, but some pets find the experience really stressful and overwhelming. First and foremost, it’s important to think of what is best for your fur-kid. 

When is it good to dress your pet?

It can be helpful to get your pet used to the feeling of wearing pet clothes from a young age if, for example, you live in a cold climate, or own a short-haired breed that suffers from chilly weather. Pet coats in winter and snow boots are sometimes an absolute necessity!

Pets with white coats or very thin fur can also wear sun-proof shirts during warmer days, which can prevent a world of painful sunburn and potential skin cancer.

Additionally, some cats and dogs might feel snug and safe wrapped up in a garment, for example, a ‘thunder shirt’ to wrap them in during fireworks or stormy weather.

Harnesses are also a great item of pet clothing for your fur-kid to get used to from an early age (it’s much easier to do this when they are learning to go walkies than introducing one later in life!). Make sure your pet is correctly fitted and be sure to purchase a good quality, supportive harness to avoid grazing and discomfort.

When should you think twice

At Pawshake, our philosophy is to allow pets to be pets in all their furry, playful, relaxed glory! If putting a costume on a pet hinders their movement or causes stress by putting them in the centre of attention, then please think twice.

We absolutely advise against anything that could cause a choking hazard, constriction, suffocation, discomfort or loss of balance. Also avoid colorful ‘pet dyes’ and sprays on your pet’s sensitive skin and fur – your pet is likely to lick their fur at some point, and no one wants to be ingesting dye! Pet safety, comfort and dignity must always come first.

That being said - if you simply can’t resist, consider something that is essentially the same as another clothing item your pet might wear. For instance, you might choose a dog coat similar to one your pooch normally wears, but with a spooky Halloween pattern or bone print. You know your pet best and what does and doesn’t make them comfortable, so respect them and their boundaries!

And if you really love your pet – perhaps you’ll skip their costume this year and instead dress up as your fluffy friend yourself. We hope to see lots of human cats and dogs prowling the street this Halloween!