Look, I know what you’re going to say.
“But my labradoodle looks so cute in his Pope costume.”
“Uh, the girl who dressed her giant wolf dog up as Garth from Wayne’s World got so many likes.”
“How will I subtly communicate my detached, ironic sense of humor and encyclopedic knowledge of memes if I don’t dress my dog as Ken Bone?”
I get it! I do. Dogs in costumes can be cute as hell. But forcing a dog to imprison his body in uncomfortable fabric in order to celebrate a holiday that is about collecting candy that could literally kill him is not just cruel, it’s humiliating. He’s a dog! He wants to grab a piece of chicken from your plate when you’re not looking and go take a nap. He doesn’t want to have his paws forced into baby Vans so he can be “Damn Daniel.”
Because dogs don’t like being forced to wear clothes. Sure, perhaps they will temporarily enjoy the attention you heap on them as they helplessly struggle out of a banana suit you bought at Petco. But as Barnard canine-cognition professor Alexandra Horowitz wrote in The New Yorker a few years ago:
To a dog, a costume, fitting tight around the dog’s midriff and back, might well reproduce that ancestral feeling [of being scolded by a more powerful dog]. So the principal experience of wearing a costume would not be the experience of festivity; rather, the costume produces the discomfiting feeling that someone higher ranking is nearby. This interpretation is borne out by many dogs’ behavior when getting dressed in a costume: they may freeze in place as if they are being “dominated”— and soon try to dislodge the garments by shaking, pawing, or rolling in something so foul that it necessitates immediate disrobing.
Do you want your dog to rub the elaborate monster from Stranger Things getup you bought him into a pile of POOP? Didn’t think so.
The only time you should put clothes on your pet is if it’s freezing outside, he has a medical condition that causes a chronically low temperature, or maybe, MAYBE, if it’s his birthday and he’d look cute in a party hat eating his special dog cake.
Do not dress your dog up for Halloween.