- Light weight
- Ribbon straps for torso, soft fabric throat strap
- Velcro fasteners for adjustable fit
- Soft and padded for puppy comfort
- Comes in four (4) sizes and nine (9) fun styles
- Convenient close-able plastic storage bag
- Spot Clean Only (beware pups can get grubby!)
- Training required but no instructions provided
- Cost can be high $16 to $40
- Sizing inexact
- Large breed pups will outgrow and/or won’t fit even “Large” size
- Potentially “chew-able” for teething pups
- Polyester soft and shiny fabric
- Black and white ORCA with padded fins, tail and head
- Adjustable chest, tummy and throat straps
- Velcro fasteners for adjustable fit
- Available in 4 sizes
- Fitted based on dog’s body length, and chest/neck circumference
- Clear plastic zippered storage container
- Price ranges from $16 to $40 depending on style
Review – ORCA and BUTTERFLY Dog Costumes from Animal Planet
I wanted to like these costumes more but had some real issues with fitting and possible safety. The ORCA costume is very clever and striking, with soft and comfortable black and white polyester fabric. A stuffed tail and fins fit over the dog’s back, while a soft padded “cap” with printed eyes, gaping toothy mouth (pink flapping tongue inside!) fit over the dog’s head. However, the “large” size proved too small for my adult German shepherd and he wasn’t able to wear the costume other than the headpiece, which also was a squeeze.
The fit of a costume not only is vital for your pup’s comfort but also his safety. All of the Animal Planet costumes come in four sizes with suggested breeds for each size range. Note that measuring your puppy is the most accurate means of ascertaining a proper fit. Do not rely on the breed suggestions for sizes as there is too much variety even within breeds.
For example the suggested breeds for the Large size included Boxer, Labrador, Golden Retriever (among others) yet the ORCA costume was much too small for the chest and tummy straps to fit my adult German shepherd (the head/cap did fit).
However, the Large size of the BUTTERFLY costume’s wings attach simply with elastic loops through which the dog’s forelegs fit, held in place over the shoulders, and worked fine for my German shepherd. Wearing for long periods of time, though, may chafe the dog's armpit regions so limit the amount of wearing. The wings are striking orange on black, and move a bit up and down with the dog’s walk for a fun look, and I can imagine with smaller dogs the effect would even mimic wings flapping in the breeze.
The black with white polka dots cap includes fuzzy pipe cleaner “antennae” with white pompoms, another creative and fun touch. Care should be taken that the pompoms don’t bounce into the dog’s eyes, however. And the cap design seems fitted more for brachycephalic (pushed in nose) type dogs with distinct foreheads. Dogs with long noses like shepherds that don’t have the distinct nose break may find the cap rides low or even covers the eyes.
Therefore, take into account the design of the costume. It appears from the photo illustrations that the BAT costume fits similarly to the BUTTERFLY design with elastic shoulder straps and so may have a more flexible fit for larger pooches. The HAMMERHEAD SHARK costume design appears similar to the ORCA and may be too tight of a fit for dogs with substantial chest/tummy girth. Designs such as the ZEBRA, WOOLY MAMMOTH and TORTOISE that include sleeves through which your pet’s legs must fit may have less flexibility as to size, and also require more training for the pet to readily accept wearing the costume.
Measure at the largest portion of your dog’s body as the chest and tummy straps have no flexibility (they are ribbon material) with Velcro on the ends. The head piece throat strap is fabric which makes it more comfortable and easier to properly fit. Sizes are as follows:
- X-small is body length of 8 inches, and chest girth of 12-16 inches, and neck girth 10-12 inches.
- Size Small is a body length of 12 inches, chest girth 16-20 inches, and neck 12-14 inches.
- Medium is a body length of 16 inches, chest 20-24 inches and neck 14-16 inches.
- Large size is a body length of 20 inches, chest 24 to 28 inches and neck 16 to 20 inches.
The attention to detail in the design impressed me. Colors are bright, fabric is soft, and the head gear on the two costumes I reviewed are designed for doggy comfort. I have some concerns that headgear could block eyesight either covering the eyes or acting like side “blinders” and could cause some issues with fearful pups. Head gear also potentially can interfere with hearing, although instructions are included for placement of scissor openings through which to allow ears to flop/stand. This again may require more training for the dog to accept the odd feeling.
Puppies and dogs should be gradually introduced to wearing costumes, and conditioned to accept them. They also should not be allowed to wear costumes without supervision, since there are chew-able parts that if swallowed could cause blockage or choking. These are fun costumes perfect for photo ops and limited wear during supervision of small to medium size puppies and dogs.