It may be hard to believe, but Halloween is already upon us! And you pet parents know what that means – dreaming up new ways to enjoy the holiday with your four-legged children! While there are some great premade costumes and dog treats out there, crafting your own can be a fantastic fun way to celebrate. We have some DIY ideas for you that are simple, fun, and guaranteed to get a smile from you and a tail wag from your furry friend.
Do-It-Yourself Pet Costumes
DIY costumes are always great fun to make (and show off to your friends). They can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like - the only limit on what you can do is your own imagination.
The easiest costumes are those made with everyday items around your home. Put a necktie on your dog and he transforms into Corporate Pooch. Fasten an old pillowcase, scarf or baby blanket to his collar, and he’s Superdog. You can use the old sheet-with-the-eyes-cut-out trick for a retro-inspired ghost costume, or raid your first aid kit for some bandages and turn your dog from a puppy to a mummy.
If you’re up for creating something a little more elaborate, try starting out with a child-sized hoodie. These make a great base for pet costumes, as you can add almost anything to them and the hood creates support for creative head gear.
Use fabric paint to turn your hoodie into the base for a zebra, cow, Bumblebee, pumpkin, ballerina – or any costume, really. The possibilities are endless. Add fabric, buttons, beads, and accessories to create things like superhero capes, princess skirts and sheriff vests. For details like cow ears, flower petals or witch hats, use a sturdy felt. Pipe cleaners make great spider legs. You can also browse the local costume store for ready-made hats, wings, wigs, or other accessories to attach to your costume.
If you need some inspiration and instructions, check out these easy ideas from Pets Lady, and these awesome options from Pet MD (the ghost dog is our favorite). Always the consummate craftswoman, Martha Stewart has amazing DIY costume ideas. We especially love this DIY Spider Dog, sported by her own bulldog, Francesca. Once your pet is donned in his new costume, be sure to enter him in the Martha Stewart Pet Halloween Contest!
Making Healthful Treats
What’s Halloween without the goodies? Just another day in a costume! Providing your pet with delicious treats is a fun way to get him into the spirit. While your kitty may be delighted if you toss a few extra Greenies her way, your pup will love snacking on fun gluten-free Halloween treats.
Homemade dog treats are simpler than you may think (definitely easier than making people cookies!), and you can make them using ingredients that are either in your pantry already or easily found in your local grocery store.
Just like people cookies, dog treats require a mixture of wet and dry ingredients. Gluten-free flour is an obvious choice for a dry ingredient, but you can use 100 percent potato flakes. Milk, eggs, broth and water can be used as wet ingredients. Eggs aren’t always necessary, but they will help bind everything together, which is especially helpful if you’re using ingredients with larger particles potato flakes or oats. You may have to play with the ingredients a bit to get the ratios just right.
To give your treats flavor and nutrition, you can add in pretty much any dog-appropriate food your pet loves. Pureed liver or chicken, shredded cheese, chopped apples or blueberries, and pureed pumpkin are some great choices. Mix these items with your wet ingredients, then stir in the dry ingredients until a dough forms. Roll out the dough, then use a cookie cutter to cut it into spooky shapes. Bake the treats, let them cool, and voila! Have them at your Halloween get together, or pass them out to any dogs who come trick-or-treating.
You can whip up any recipe you like, but we found some recipe ideas we really love, like this pumpkin treat recipe and this unbelievably simple recipe for gluten free peanut butter dog treats. And we’re super excited about these…wait for it…Pumpkin, Peanut Butter and BACON gluten-free treats!
Keeping Your Pet Safe this Halloween
Halloween is a fun time for everyone, but real dangers lurk about for your pets. Always follow these safety tips:
1. Ensure that your pet’s costume contains no toxic glues, materials, or paints
2. To avoid potentially dangerous entanglements, your pet’s costume should be snug, but not tight. Make sure that headpieces are on properly, and that cords, ribbons and collars fit loosely around the neck
3. Ensure that all small pieces, such as buttons or ornaments, are secured tightly to costumes
4. Keep all chocolate candy out of reach of dogs at all times. Chocolate – especially dark chocolate – has a chemical that is dangerous to dogs and cats when ingested
5. Be cautious with all Halloween candy. Raisins, macadamia nuts, and gums and candies containing the artificial sweetner xylitol can all be toxic to both dogs and cats
6. If your dog is nervous around children, gets overly excited during periods of commotion, or is defensive of you or your property, it may be best to put him somewhere quiet and out-of-the-way during parties or trick-or-treating, and celebrate together later when things have died down.
With a little imagination, a dash of creativity, and a lot of heart, you can create a Halloween celebration that’s howl-er-iffic for people and pets alike. We’re off to make our own doggie costumes and treats...so Happy Halloween from TripsWithPets.com!