← Back to Guidelines

Costumes, Makeup, Rigging and Props

4-1 Costuming and/or props for animals shall be made available to American Humane for inspection prior to filming. 

a. Animals shall be adequately conditioned and trained to wear or use all costumes or props. 

b. Costuming and/or props shall be comfortable, shall provide ease of movement, and shall not restrict the animal’s breathing or cause the animal to overheat. Consideration should be given to how easily the costume can be removed in case of emergency. 

4-2 Props used in stunts, such as spurs, sabers, swords, spears, barbed wire or fences, should be made of rubber, balsa wood or other non-injurious material. 

4-2.1 Care must be taken when using props that will come in contact with an animal’s mouth (e.g., painted objects such as toys, bones or other props that will be held in an animal’s mouth). Production and animal handlers shall ensure that any such objects are non-toxic and that any paint used on such objects shall also be non-toxic. Upon request, this documentation shall be provided to American Humane prior to filming or use of the object in rehearsals or prep.

4-3 All animal rigging and equipment must be in good condition and appropriate for the body type, weight and size of the animal, as determined or agreed to by the animal handler, the property master and American Humane. 

4-4 Tie-downs, waist ties and hobbles shall not be used on animals not properly trained to wear them. Animals shall not be tied or hobbled any longer than is necessary to accomplish the shot. 

4-5 Any colors, dyes, makeup or adhesives used on animals must be toxin-free and approved by the animal handler and American Humane prior to filming. These products must be applied in a well-ventilated area. The animal handler shall provide American Humane with the product’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) or equivalent. Although a product may be toxin-free, it can still produce a severe adverse reaction when applied to animals. Spot tests shall be performed by production 24 hours or more prior to filming to guard against allergic reactions. 

4-5.1 Special attention shall be given when an animal is required to lick any surface where makeup or other toxins may be present. Animal handlers and production shall ensure that any makeup used is non-toxic to the species of animal by contacting the manufacturer. Upon request, this documentation shall be provided to American Humane prior to filming.

4-6 Before using adhesives, consideration must be given to their safe and painless removal. Appropriate tests, subject to approval by the American Humane Certified Animal Safety Representative, shall be performed by production prior to filming. 

* Notes a federal, state or local animal welfare statue, code or permit consideration.