To Accessorize or Not to Accessorize Pooch for Holidays and Beyond

If you’ve been a pet parent for any length of time you may have considered, or at least been tempted to consider, whether or not to add a little bling to Fido or Fiona. By bling I mean anything from a little sparkle or spike on their collar to an all-out canine apparel makeover.

Surely there are contests and pageants, maybe even local to Hartford, Lowell, Springfield and Worcester, MA, for this sort of thing that way overstate what a more reserved pooch (and her or his human) may have in mind. But is even a little bling too much for a self-respecting pup to withstand?

Not necessarily if done right, say a few experts on the matter.

“As pet parents who choose to accessorize our dogs, you get a lot of flack from people who just don’t get it. Many say that it’s silly, a waste of money. But to us, that’s not the case. It’s a way to show the world what we see every day – a one-of-a-kind personality that deserves to stand out,” writes Amy Tokic in the article The Urge to Accessorize Our Dogs found at

Halloween and winter weather tend to bring pet accessorizing to the forefront every year. But keep in mind that not all pooches (or felines) are eager to don a cute costume or swanky jacket just so their humans can get into the true spirit of the season.

An online Herald Tribune article from 2011 on the matter addressed how to handle a reluctant pup’s desire to wear a costume or foot gear. In Dog Doesn’t Like Halloween Costume? Accessorize found at Associated Press writers turned to a pet expert for direction.

“If a dog is used to wearing clothes, costumes may not be a problem, says veterinarian Terry Marie Curtis, a clinical behaviorist for the Department of Small Animal Clinical Services at the University of  Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. 

Dogs accustomed to wearing snug items designed to calm anxiety — like Thundershirts, Anxiety Wraps or Storm Defender Capes — should be able to adjust to other types of clothing, she said.” 

“But every pet is different. ‘Many dogs hate things on their feet,’ she says. ‘This is true because it can alter how they perceive where they’re walking.’”

PetSmart Accessory Buyer Reyna Jew recommended starting out small with your pet with accessories rather than full costumes.

“Try angel, fairy or bat wings, a pirate or witch hat. If that’s still too much, there are bows that clip in the pet’s hair, necklaces and decorative collars or bandannas made of Halloween-themed fabric.”

In 2011, the most popular costume at PetSmart was the bumblebee, followed by the pumpkin and dragon, according to Jew. While bat wings, hot dogs and a sheriff were reportedly Target’s best-sellers at that time. 

And if your pup has recently had surgery or is sporting a ‘Cone of Shame’ for any reason at all, he or she is not necessarily out of the game! Check out the gallery of dogs that accessorized their cones with everything from flowers to the Star Wars Death Star at or

If you do decide to join the ranks of the doting pet parent who chooses to accessorize or garb pooch in costumes remember to do so safely and to keep it fun for both you and your four-legged companions.

If behavioral issues are something you have questions about contact your local Hartford, Lowell, Springfield and Worcester, MA Off Leash K9 Training professional. He or she has the expertise to address canine obedience, canine food aggression, dog aggression, potty-training and much more!

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