The time for trick-or-treating is almost upon us! The weather is cooling down, the leaves are starting to change, and the spooky season is starting to settle in. Whether you plan on making the rounds of your neighborhood with your kids, hosting a ghoulish dinner party, or handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, there are a few things to keep in mind so that your dog's night can be just as fun as yours. Here are our tips to help make sure this Halloween is all treats and no tricks for your pup!
Save the Candy for the Kids
Kids love eating candy on Halloween, but as much as your dog tries to sneak a taste of the treats, don't let him have any. It goes without saying that candy is not great for dogs to eat, and candies like chocolate can even be poisonous. With Halloween night typically flying by in a whirlwind, it's important to keep an eye on fido as well as children. Well-meaning trick-or-treaters may try to share some of their candy with a dog, so it's best to watch them carefully. When the night is all said and done, make sure you are storing any leftover candy in a place where your dog cannot access it. If you want your dog to get in on the action with treats, you can always pick up a special bag of dog treats from the store. To make it extra festive, see if you can find treats made with pumpkin—a staple of Halloween and a healthy food for your furry friend!
Take Caution with Costumes
We've all seen cute pictures of dogs in costumes on Halloween—dachshunds dressed like hotdogs, bulldogs in bumblebee outfits. If your dog loves wearing costumes, that's great! If not, don't force your dog to wear something he is clearly uncomfortable wearing. It's always best to try the costume on before the big day, and if your pup looks unsure of his new outfit, no big deal—there are plenty of other options to get him in the festive mood. A dog sweater with a festive design may be more tolerable for some dogs, and even a festive collar, bandana, or bowtie can be good options for a dog whose favorite costume is her own fur. If your dog enjoys wearing costumes, make sure whatever costume you choose is free from any small parts that could easily fall off or be chewed off and pose a choking hazard.
Minimize Stress for Anxious Pets
Not every pet is down for the action on Halloween, and for a lot of pets, having strangers constantly ringing the doorbell can actually be pretty stressful. If this sounds like your dog, make sure he can stay in a room with a closed door for the night so that he's not seeing all the action at the front door, and there's no chance of him escaping either. Create a relaxing atmosphere by setting up your dog with a favorite toy, some pillows or blankets to lie down on, and a fully loaded treat toy that can keep him occupied throughout the night. If your pet is particularly anxious, you can play some soft, calming music in the background to cover up the noises of trick-or-treating. For dogs that are set off by the sound of a doorbell, consider sitting on your front steps with your bowl of candy, which will eliminate any doorbell ringing and door opening.
Don't Forget About the Décor
Halloween decorations are some of the most fun and festive decorations, often a mix of spooky with skeletons, ghosts, and spiders, and cozy with pumpkins, warm oranges and reds, and the soft glow of candles. When decorating, remember that your dog will be seeing all these decorations as well. Scary decorations that move or jump may cause your dog's fight or flight response to kick in, and unfortunately for your decorations, a dog will almost always win against an animatronic skeleton. Moving decorations that look like animals, for instance, spiders, may trick your dog, and again you may be left with some destroyed décor. With candles as popular Halloween decorations, you should also be careful to place any candles in a place where a curious dog cannot accidentally knock them over. Halloween is also notorious for knick knacks like glowsticks, fake eyeballs, slime, fake cobwebs, and more. These fun toys can be choking or poison hazards to dogs, so just make sure your dog is staying away from them.
Remember Your Street Smarts
If you're planning on taking fido along for trick-or-treating, there are some tips to make the trip safer. To help stay visible, it's a good idea to wear a piece of reflective clothing or something that lights up. Also, make sure your dog's leash is sturdy and that your dog is wearing his collar with proper identification in the event of a mishap. If possible, make sure your dog is microchipped and that the information linked to it is up to date. That way, even if your dog's collar somehow comes off, he'll still be able to find his way back home. When walking around, keep in mind that your dog doesn't realize that what he's seeing are people in costumes, so a person dressed as a scary monster just looks like a literal scary monster to your dog. Fear may cause your dog to try running away, so keep a good grip on his leash and try to steer clear of any super spooky costumes. Make sure you are also on the lookout for any dropped candy that your dog might try to eat along the way.
Follow these tips and you'll be sure to have the happiest of Halloweens with your furry friend!