This Halloween, make sure it’s all treats for your dog, and no scares! Check out the following tips to have a safe and fun Halloween with your dog.
Costumes can be scary, even if they’re not intentionally scary.
While we enjoy seeing all the different costumes kids (and adults!) come up with, your dog may become scared and confused. Some dogs can react with fear, and sometimes with aggression, when presented with something outside of their normal experience.
Greeting trick or treaters:
Make sure to keep Halloween safe and fun for everyone involved, and keep your dog away from the front door when giving out candy. You can set up a barrier (a baby gate in the front hall, or an exercise pen set up around the front door are great options) and keep your dog occupied with stuffed kongs, marrow bones, or other similar busy toys.
Hosting a party:
If you are hosting a Halloween gathering with guests coming fully costumed, consider setting up a “safe room” for your dog, or if your dog is crate trained, crating your dog in an off-limits room. As usual when crating or confining, make sure that you have met all your dog’s needs first (have they been fed, do they have access to water, have they recently eliminated, have they had sufficient mental and physical exercise?) and give them something fun for a boredom buster.
When to go for walks:
Schedule your dog’s relief walks for during early afternoon and late evening to avoid seeing a lot of people in costume. Wear a treat pouch fully stocked with high value treats in case you do run into any one in a costume. Start giving your dog treats to help them remain calm, or use them to lure your dog away if they seem stressed.
Keep human treats out of reach
Dogs can be very curious and that curiosity can get them in trouble. Make sure that all candy is kept out of your dog’s reach. Keep all candy up high and away from the edges of tables and counters. Chocolate can be toxic to dogs, and at the very least ingesting large quantities of candy can make your dog very sick. If you have purchased non-edible treats to give out on Halloween, make sure to be extra cautious and keep them out of reach of your dog as well!
If your dog does eat any candy, or anything they should not have, contact your veterinarian immediately.
To costume, or not to costume?
Some dogs really enjoy wearing clothing, and are not phased when their owners put costumes on them. Other dogs become very stressed or uncomfortable and either freeze or constantly try to rub off the costume. If your dog is not used to wearing clothing and you’ve gotten them a costume to wear, make sure to try it on before and condition them to wearing it by pairing it with their favorite treats or games. Consider having them wear just a Halloween bandana if they are too stressed by their costume.
Who are you?
Make sure that your dog is wearing identification on the off chance they do spook and run out of the house, or if they somehow get off leash when you’re walking them. Make sure it has their name, and your address and phone number! If your dog does spook and take off, do not chase them! Chasing can prompt even dogs who are not scared to run faster. Instead, follow slowly at a distance and approach your pet in a non-direct fashion to avoid prompting them to flee again.