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Before dressing up your dog for a holiday, whether it’s HalloweenFourth of July, or their birthday, there are several important factors to consider. To ensure that your canine companion is comfortable and happy, here are some things to think about prior to party time.

1. Avoid any toxic ingredients.

Glitter is pretty, but it (among other things, like dye) is not exactly a dog’s best friend. Check with your veterinarian if you have any concerns about certain accessories you’re trying to incorporate into your dog’s costume. When in doubt, leave it out.

2. Beware of choking hazards.

Smaller parts of costumes can present a serious threat. Be careful of items that feature buttons, gemstones, or anything else your pup could potentially swallow and choke on.

3. Keep it simple.

A little bit goes a long way — especially in terms of dressing up your dog. You can easily find a festive bandana that can slip over your pup’s collar or a leash that’s in the spirit of the holiday you’re celebrating. Your dog will thank you for keeping things low-key. However, bandanas can be dangerous if they get caught on something, like an air vent, so only put one on your canine companion when you can monitor his whereabouts.

4. Never leave your dog unattended.

It goes without saying that as a responsible dog owner, you’re constantly supervising your furry friend. But it’s important to note that he needs extra attention if you’re putting unfamiliar items on him, especially if they could be pulled or chewed off.

5. Comfort is key.

Avoid things that are too tight, that obstruct your dog’s vision, or just generally irritate him. Keep in mind that all the party guests and the change in routine may already be overwhelming him.

Rottweiler wearing a lion's mane costume.

6. Consider a test run.

Don’t assume that your pup will take kindly to a costume right off the bat. Especially if it’s his first time wearing something, you may want to try it out before the big day. Remember to have a lot of patience and give your dog positive reinforcement with some high-value treats.

7. Take the temperature into consideration.

If you’re dressing up your canine companion for Fourth of July, it can get hot, and you may be spending a lot of time outside. Regardless of how adorable something is, putting clothes on a dog when temperatures are high can be dangerous. Keep this in mind before you pick out a costume.

8. Don’t go overboard.

Your dog’s safety and comfort take precedent over your fashion sense. Maybe stick to one holiday-themed accessory rather than putting together an entire ensemble. If you do decide to go with a crazy outfit, leave it on your canine companion only long enough to snap a few quick pictures.

9. Keep photoshoots short.

Obviously, you want to capture the perfect Instagram-worthy shot, but remember that your dog isn’t a professional model and may get annoyed sitting for an extended period of time in a ridiculous costume. Try to take pictures early on, then let him relax a little.

10. If your dog looks uncomfortable or if he’s in danger, ditch the costume.

Your pup’s comfort is paramount. If he’s showing signs of disliking an outfit or if it’s restricting him in any way, it’s time to take it off.

Remember: if you have any concerns about a potential costume for your canine companion, consult your trainer and/or veterinarian beforehand.

Related article: Your Ultimate Dog Halloween Costume Guide
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