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Before dressing up your dog for a holiday, whether it’s Halloween, the Fourth of July, or their birthday, there are several important factors to consider. If you have any concerns about your choice in dog costumes, consult your trainer and/or veterinarian beforehand.

To ensure that your canine companion is comfortable and happy, here are some things to think about before party time.

1. Avoid Toxic Ingredients

Glitter is pretty. But things like glitter and dye are 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.

Dachshund in a bee costume biting a faux flower pot on a white background.
Nadezhda Kulagina/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

3. Keep Things 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 their whereabouts.

4. Never Leave Your Dog Unattended

It goes without saying that as a responsible dog owner, you’re constantly supervising your dog. But it’s important to note that they will need extra attention if you’re putting unfamiliar items on them, especially if those items 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 them. Keep in mind that all the party guests and the change in routine may already be overwhelming.

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 their 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 dog treats.

7. Take the Temperature Into Consideration

If you’re dressing up your canine companion for a summer holiday, 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 so your pet doesn’t overheat.

ace66/Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

8. Don’t Go Overboard

Your dog’s safety and comfort should always precedence 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 unique 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 costume. Try to take pictures early on, then let them relax a little.

10. Know When to Ditch the Costume

If your dog looks uncomfortable or if they are in danger, ditch the costume. Your pup’s comfort and safety are paramount. If they’re showing signs of disliking an outfit or if it’s restricting them in any way, it’s time to take it off.

Related article: Your Ultimate Dog Halloween Costume Guide
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