Halloween can be a fun time of year for us humans, but it can be a nightmare for our dogs. The strange sights and sounds of the holiday can spook even the calmest canine. These tips can help make Halloween stress-free.
- Costumes that change the appearance of their favorite humans can be frightening to dogs. Work on familiarizing your dog with Halloween accessories now. Let him sniff the costumes and watch your kids put on and remove their masks so he knows who those masked people are on Halloween. This is especially important if your dog is overprotective or extremely fearful.
- Resist the temptation to dress up your dog, unless you are absolutely sure he won’t find it distressing. If you do dress your dog in a costume, never leave him unsupervised. Make sure that all elastics are loose fitting and accounted for. A dog that chews on his costume can end up with bowel obstructions and could possibly choke on any small parts. A costume can also get tangled in trees and bushes.
- If you worry about your dog bolting out the door when trick-or-treaters show up, practice this ritual with him now. Teach him that even if the door is open, he is not to run out. Use a leash at first and practice at times of day when there are distractions outside. If you’re still nervous come Halloween, confine him to a room or his crate with a favorite toy during trick-or-treating hours.
- Keep your dog on a leash if you enjoy sitting on your porch while waiting for trick-or-treaters. Also, be sure to keep your dog safe by not leaving him outside in your yard unsupervised when trick-or-treaters are on the prowl.
- Keep the candy bowl out of your dog’s reach. Remember that chocolate is toxic to dogs. Make sure your kids keep their Halloween loot where the pooch can’t get to it.
Above all, remember your dog doesn’t grasp that Halloween is a holiday and may find the commotion of witches, ghosts, and goblins genuinely frightening. Be sensitive to your dog’s stress level and safety—and have a Happy Halloween!