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Halloween Costumes

Shih Tzu Halloween Costumes

& Halloween Fun and Safety Tips

Excited about getting a costume for your Shih Tzu? 
Precious Joanna, photo courtesy of Debra Albright


In the U.S., Halloween always falls on October 31st. This super fun holiday is also celebrated in other countries, including Switzerland, Germany, Bosnia, Ireland, Canada and Australia and it's become very popular in Japan.

In America, the tradition of dressing up and asking for candy dates back to 1911 when it was referred to as 'guising'.

It's always fun to celebrate holidays with your Shih Tzu, and this one is especially nice since many dogs enjoy the extra attention that they receive. 

Halloween typically means both costumes and candy; while you'll want to bypass giving candy to your Shih Tzu (aside from a bit of a few safe ones, as discussed ahead), you can definitely include him or her in the costume part!
Here, we'll talk about some helpful tips for both taking your Shih Tzu out trick or treating and staying at home to give out candy and have a look at some great costume ideas.

Taking Your Shih Tzu Out on Halloween Night

It's a good idea to plan ahead to make sure that the day/night is both fun and safe.

1) If you are heading out at dusk or later, bring a flashlight. 

2) If your Shih Tzu will be on leash, apply reflective tape to either his collar/harness or if he is in costume, to the fabric on either side of him. 
3) As always, we do recommend a harness as opposed to a collar, since this is the safest way to walk this toy breed dog while helping to avoid potential neck injury. If your Shih Tzu will be wearing a costume while on leash, you can cut a small hole for the harness clip.

4) If you plan on doing a lot of walking and/or expect to be alongside crowds of children, you may want to consider having your Shih Tzu in a carry bag, sling or even a canine stroller. This is particularly relevant for puppies or dogs that would tend to feel overwhelmed in these situations. 

In this way, he can still be part of the fun but will feel safer off of the ground. 

5) Since chocolate is toxic to canines, keep a close eye on your Shih Tzu. Simply trying to be friendly, a child who was not aware of this danger could quickly slip a candy to your dog. 

6) With their heightened senses, dogs can get just as spooked as humans (if not more) at scarecrows popping out, loud moaning noises and/or crazy flashing lights. So, if you see a house that appears to be really going all out, you may want to skip that one. 
Check out this slideshow of Shih Tzu in awesome costumes!
- Halloween 2016 -
  • Slide Title

    Ralphie, 7 years old, dressed as a Cowboy
    Photo courtesy of Melanie Gutowski

  • Slide Title

    Shadow, as a Football Player and Tub Tub, as a Cheerleader
    Photo courtesy of Staci Neidlinger

  • Slide Title

    Lilly, at 1 year old, as a Prisoner; Photo courtesy of Dianne Smith

  • Slide Title

    Lilly, at 2 years old, as a Mouse, pictured with granddaughter Abby
    Photo courtesy of The Smith Family

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    Stanley, 14 yrs old, as Oscar the Grouch
    Won 1st Place in the March of the Dogs Halloween Contest 2015 in TN
    Photo courtesy of The Smith Family

  • Slide Title

    Schatz (14) and Buffy (10) in a Bathtub of Bubbles
    2nd Place Winners, March of the Dogs Halloween Contest, TN
    Photo courtesy of Dianne Smith

  • Slide Title

    Butterscotch, as a Pumpkin Princess
    Photo courtesy of Barbara Perkins

  • Slide Title

    Gracie, as an Ewok from 'Return of the Jedi'Photo courtesy of Steve & Carol Tamerius

  • Slide Title

    Ricco, as a Pumpkin
    Photo courtesy of Morena

  • Slide Title

    Miss Panda Gizmo Mai-Li in her Halloween costume
    Photo courtesy of Joyce Grant


Staying in with Your Shih Tzu on Halloween

If you've decided to man the door on Halloween, here are some helpful tips:

1) First, you'll have to decide if your Shih Tzu would be happier staying with you to greet the trick or treaters or be away from the hustle and bustle of this task. And there is no right or wrong answer; some dogs get happy and excited at seeing and being able to say hello to all the children... but for others, it is just a bit too overwhelming.

2) If your Shih Tzu would prefer to be away from the commotion on Halloween, well before the doorbell rings for the first time, have him in his area (gated off area or canine playpen, or in another room) along with a human for company if possible.  If he will be alone, offer a new toy if you can, for distraction purposes.
3) If your dog is bothered by the doorbell, you may find it best to be prepared well before Halloween trick or treating begins by having your door open (if you have both a screen and storm door) and standing at the ready or by setting up things outside on your front porch.

4) If your Shih Tzu will be your helper for doling out treats, you may find that a carry sling is helpful so that he can be at a level high enough to see all the action while you can keep your hands free to give out candy. 

5) Don't feel guilty about calling it a night by shutting off your front light if your Shih Tzu reaches his tolerance level. 

Types of Halloween Candy that a Shih Tzu Can Eat & Cannot Eat

Which are toxic candies: Absolutely anything with chocolate is toxic to canines. Chocolate is toxic to dogs due to the theobromine in it. And toy breeds like the Shih Tzu do not need a lot. For example, both a KitKat bar (48.7 mg of theobromine) or a Mounds bar (53 mg) are considered dangerous levels for dogs. 

Additionally, anything made with the sugar substitute of Xylitol is toxic to dogs. And any chocolate covered raisin candies are super poisonous, since both raisins and chocolate are dangerous for dogs to ingest.

Not technically toxic, but not a good idea:A dog would need to eat a huge amount of white chocolate to be poisoned since it is not made with any cocoa solids, but this can cause an upset stomach

Any large amounts of sugar can also cause issues, such as a 'sugar rush' which would cause a temporary phase of hyperactivity. Eating a lot of sugar can also cause a bad case of diarrhea.

Candies a Shih Tzu can eat:There are very few. However, if you want to give your Shih Tzu a special treat on Halloween you can give a jelly bean or two. In fact, this is prevention method for motion sickness when traveling
A dog can also eat 1 or 2 candy corn candies and be just fine. Just don't give more than this.

Another great alternative is to buy a special dog treat that you reserve just for Halloween night. 

Shih Tzu Costume Tips 

Just about the funnest thing to do on Halloween with a dog is to dress him up in a costume. But, you'll want to follow a couple tips:

1) Many dogs love to be dressed up because it leads to all sorts of attention: smiles, extra pats, picture taking, etc. And a Shih Tzu may soak this all in, enjoying every moment. However, some dogs do not like to wear clothing or a costume. So, if your Shih Tzu never wore a costume before, do test this out before you head out on Halloween or have him somewhere that removing it may not be easy.

2) Proper fit is important. If the costume hangs too loose a dog can trip over it and if it is too tight it can impede natural movement. Do test this out before walking your Shih Tzu while in costume. 

3) Certain fabrics can cause some static to the coat, so before you slip it on, lightly spritz the coat with a quality leave-in spray. As always, a leave-in is recommended to protect from hot summer sun, dry winter air, contact friction and to help prevent split ends. A spritz will also help keep a Shih Tzu smelling nice and clean. One of our favorites is The Stuff Conditioner & Detangler Coat Spray.

Super Cute Costumes for Shih Tzu

Here are some of the cutest & most popular Halloween costumes, available in sizes (extra small & small) that fit both puppies and adult Shih Tzu dogs.
Costumes for Female Shih Tzu
Costumes for Male Shih Tzu
Halloween Costumes for Both Boy and Girl Shih Tzu Dogs
Do you have a super cute pic of your Shih Tzu in costume? We'd love to see it & may place it here on this site. Please email us the photo(s) to and be sure to let us know: Your Shih Tzu's name, age & your name (first, first & last or family name). 
You may also like:

Shih Tzu Medical Alert Dogs - See the amazing things that these dogs can do.
Shih Tzu Therapy Dogs - How these adorable dogs are helping in a wide variety of settings and steps to take if you think your own Shih Tzu might be good at this.
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