Is your dog’s birthday right around the corner? Consider throwing a puppy party to make your pooch feel extra special on the big day! Now that you’re onboard, what party is complete without dog birthday clothes, right?

Remember, though, while an adorable pet costume makes for great photo ops, it needs to be safe and comfortable, too. While you’re searching for the perfect birthday ensemble for your pooch, consider these do’s and don’ts of doggy dress up. The most important thing is that your canine is content on their birthday!

Dog Birthday Clothing Basics

We’ve all seen the awww-inducing photos on social media. It’s impossible to deny the cuteness of a dog in costume. Unfortunately, though, many dogs feel uncomfortable or even distressed when forced into funny get-ups. 

Before we get into the do’s and don’ts of how to select safe dog birthday clothing, let’s review some red-flag behavior in your pup.

Signs of Distress in Dogs Include: 

  • Lowered head and flattened ears
  • Frequent lip licking
  • Wide eyes
  • Flat whiskers
  • Skittish behavior 
  • Panting or whining
  • Shaking

If you notice any of these signs in your dog after putting them in costume, consider it a sign to start over. While your intentions are playful, your dog may feel differently. This behavior can also turn aggressive or defensive in some dogs – if they feel restricted or their senses are hindered.

The key to introducing a costume to your dog is to take things slow, follow their lead, and consider the following tips. 

Consider Your Dog’s Temperament

Some dogs tend to be more easy-going when it comes to dog birthday clothes, while others generally can’t stand costumes. If you know your dog doesn’t tolerate much more than their collar, choose simple accessories such as a bowtie or party-themed bandana.

Also, if you have an older dog or puppy, your pet might be more likely to struggle with their mobility while wearing an entire costume. Senior dogs can often experience joint pain, while puppies are still developing coordination. Simple is usually better when it comes to costumes for both types of dog.

Safety First

The most important consideration after your pet’s preferences is safety. Be sure the costume and accessories you select are made of non-toxic materials, free of glitters, scent, or loose choking pieces. You also want not flammable materials. 

Additionally, any costume parts that cover your dog’s eyes or ears are a safety hazard. 

Comfort is Key

When selecting a costume, consider factors like sizing, temperature, and the fabric used. A too-big or too-small costume can be uncomfortable and unsafe for your pup. 

If it’s going to be hot outside, you’ll want something with breathable fabric. Keep in mind that if the fabric feels scratchy or itchy to you, it probably will to your dog as well! 

Make sure your pet can do all the things in costume they would normally do otherwise: eat, drink, pant, urinate, etc. 

Don’t Leave Your Pet Unattended

Even if you’ve selected a simple and safe costume your dog enjoys, be sure to keep an eye on your pet, at all times. Dogs aren’t accustomed to wearing clothing like humans. They could get caught on something – or worse, stuck or strangled with fabric accidentally. 

When in doubt, just have them wear the costume for a few photo ops or during the highlight of the birthday party. Then, they can run around afterwards without any risk of entanglement.

Let Your Pet Warm Up to It 

Once you’ve selected the perfect party outfit for your pup, ease them into it. Let them sniff and explore before trying it on them. Consider a few test runs of wearing it around the house. This way they can get used to it, and you can check for safety without distractions. 

They may end up really loving it, in which case they’ll feel special in their dog birthday clothes! If they don’t, don’t feel shy about ditching it for one or two simple items instead. Remember, your dog is pretty perfect just as they are. 

First Things First

With the right costume or a few stylish accessories, your dog will be dressed to impress on the big day. But don’t forget that the best thing you can do for your pet is prioritize their health

Make sure your pet’s preventative care is current. Essentials PetCare clinics, located at select Walmarts, offer high-quality care at affordable prices.

Essential Tip: Join our newsletter for more fun and helpful tips like these, as well as to stay on top of your local clinic’s updates, new locations, and more to keep your pet healthy and happy all year long.