Halloween — it’s mostly good, clean fun. For your dog, however, the sights and smells of Halloween can make it a terrifying experience. It can even be dangerous for him without proper supervision, but by taking suitable precautions, you can assure fun times are had by everyone — including your dog.
You might love the idea of dressing your dog in the latest costume du jour, but chances are your dog doesn’t really enjoy getting dressed up. Avoid anything that limits your dog’s vision or could potentially inhibit breathing, such as a mask.
The Humane Society recommends removing a costume if your dog presents obvious signs of discomfort, such as folding back ears, tucking his tail under, hunching over and looking sideways. Never remove your dog’s identification tag in place of a costume. If he escapes during the festivities, he may need help returning home.
Stick With Dog Treats
Chocolates and candies might look delicious to you, but they can be lethal for your pet. Chocolate, especially, is extremely toxic for dogs. Caffeinated foods are also toxic, as are those with grapes or raisins.
Also, avoid giving your dog any treat that contains the artificial sweetener xylitol. Xylitol causes gastric upset in dogs and sometimes in humans, too.
If you’re throwing a party, never leave your dog alone with bowls of candy or with children who might try to share candy with him. Innocent mistakes such as these are big reasons why veterinary offices are so busy during the Halloween season.
Make a Quiet Place for Your Dog to Relax
Ringing doorbells, loud laughter and strangers in mysterious costumes add up to a stressful evening for your dog. If you suspect the activity will be too much for your best furry friend, keep him in a safe, comfortable and quiet room for the duration of the evening.
Put on soothing music, keep the blinds or curtains closed, and give your dog a comfortable blanket or bed so he’ll feel more relaxed. Check in during the course of the evening and reward calm behavior with yummy treats.
Things to Avoid
Halloween safety is more about the don’ts than the dos. You can assure your dog’s safety by keeping him away from lighted pumpkins, which your dog could inadvertently tip over and cause a fire. Don’t put your dog near Halloween decorations that might look appealing for chewing, especially if the decorations feature electric wires.
Definitely keep your dog at home when trick-or-treating. Not only can frenetic activity frighten your dog, the costumes could also scare him into exhibiting aggressive behavior such as biting. Never allow a costumed child near your dog if you are unsure how he will respond. Even a calm, well-behaved dog will defend himself if he feels threatened — or if he believes you are being threatened.
When your neighborhood ghosts and goblins have retired for the evening, give your dog a healthy dose of attention and yummy treats. Reinforcing safe behavior is always a good idea, and it lets your dog know you have his best interests at heart.