When we celebrate the holidays, we often want to make our dogs a part of the festivities. Halloween is no exception. In fact, for some pet parents, the dog’s Halloween costume is as important as their own. However, for all the fun that may come along with this time of year, it’s not always a positive experience for dogs.
With these reminders, I hope it will be a happy and fun Halloween night for both you and your pooch:
1. Dogs are not accustomed to the excitement of Halloween.
The noise and excitement of a party, or even a door opening to reveal a frightening visage, can be just as frightening to a dog as the noise on Fourth of July (consider taking the same precautions you would for firework safety).
Your dog should have a safe place to escape if he needs to. If you do answer the door with your dog, it’s a good idea to keep him on a leash. This will prevent a fearful dog from unexpectedly darting out the door or even becoming aggressive toward the screaming creature they are confronted with.
2. Sweet treats are harmful for dogs.
We all know that “Trick or Treat” snacks are a big part of Halloween. In the case of dogs, some of the more common treats can be very dangerous. Chocolate, in even relatively small amounts, can be toxic. So can xylitol, a sweetener used to flavor any number of candies. Even raisins (from that one neighbor) can be poisonous. The best approach is to keep your dog from eating any human treats, and make sure the kids know the rule too.
3. Be careful with costumes.
Costumes for dogs are a growing trend, but watch for any signs that your dog might be uncomfortable in a costume before joining in (growling, running, hiding). (Editor’s Note: Some pets have all the patience in the world. Check out these cute dogs and cats that are willing to don costumes with adorable results.) If you are going to subject your dog to a costume, remember that the same rules for kids often apply: Make sure the costume is easily seen when your dog is outdoors by using things like reflective strips or glow sticks.
4. Keep your dog away from candles.
One traditional decoration for the evening is candles (either in a pumpkin or on a table). A curious dog can tip over these candles with potentially devastating consequences. Make sure there is no way your dogs can tip a candle and start a fire or harm themselves.
5. Keep your dog away from pranks.
In recent years, pranks like “spider dog” have gained a lot of attention. These pranks usually involve using your dog to get a good scare out of friends or even strangers. This is actually very dangerous, and if the prank is successful it could result in injury to your dog.