How to Keep Your Dog Safe On Halloween
Photo by Sam Lion
Halloween is just around the corner and so many of us are looking forward to dressing up in our best costumes and going trick-or-treating with our loved ones. We especially love to do everything with our dogs, including celebrating Halloween. Although it’s fun to show off our furry friends in their cute dog costumes, it might be best to let them sit out on one of the spookiest and loudest nights of the year.
We asked veterinarians, certified dog trainers, and pet professionals to provide Dogdrop their best Halloween safety tips for dogs. These tips will help you to safely celebrate Halloween with your dog if you choose to take them out. We’ve also gathered the best practices when staying home with your dog on Halloween.
Halloween Safety Tips for Dogs
Photo by Charles Parker
Keep Halloween candy away from your Dog: Be extremely careful with Halloween candy. Sweets can contain xylitol and chocolate, which can be extremely toxic to dogs. Instead, have your dog join the fun by getting them sweet dog treats like Bocce’s Nutty Mummies Biscuits!
Keep dogs away from hazardous decorations: Halloween decorations are certainly fun, but pets don’t necessarily understand what they are. It's difficult to predict whether they would be fearful or curious. If they are not fearful, they may think of them as toys. Jack O'Lanterns, extension cords, color sprays, and other decorations pose real dangers to animals if left unattended. The last thing you want is for them to injure themselves by chewing on electronics and plastic.
Make sure your dog is wearing their ID: A fear response may cause your dog to run away. If you’re going to be outside, keep your dog leashed. Whether staying indoors or going out, always make sure your dog wears their ID. An ID tag or a GPS dog tracker like Fi will ensure your dog can always make their way back home in the case of an emergency.
Dr. Sarah Wooten, veterinarian at Pumpkin Pet Insurance, provided her expert insight.
“Before you take your dog trick or treating, consider if it will be as fun for your dog as it will be for you. People in costumes and yard decorations may be frightening for your dog and cause undue stress that will impact both of you. Only take your dog if they have been adequately socialized and appear comfortable around trick or treaters. Signs of fear in dogs include panting, barking, leash lunging, hiding, shaking, dilated pupils, raised hackles, tail between legs, trying to get away, drooling, and loss of appetite.”
It is important to take dogs into consideration when it comes to humans dressing up for Halloween as well. Canine Journal suggests keeping our costumes minimal as dogs can be frightened by them. It can become hard for our dogs to recognize us when our costumes include scary masks and oversized accessories. For some dogs, this may invoke a fear response that results in them fleeing and hiding. This can also involve aggression in more serious cases.
How to Dress Your Dog for Halloween
Tips from Wet Nose Escapades
Photo by Karolina Grabowska
Choose a costume with care: Humans LOVE dressing up for Halloween, but that doesn't mean animals love it (or even like it) too. They are probably not as eager as you are to dress up like a pumpkin or Simba from the Lion King. Sure, humans are easily in awe with cute costumes for their dogs and cats, but please recognize that most animals wouldn't dress up if they had a choice (especially cats).
Have them try on multiple costumes: Make sure that they try on at least three costumes before you make the final selection. Observe their behavior and mannerisms in each costume for at least 3 to 5 mins. Choose wisely with your furry companion in mind as cuteness is NOT everything.
Check for movement restriction: Anything tight or heavy is torture for animals.
Questions to ask yourself: Can they move freely in the costume? Can they sit, walk, run, stretch, and lay down like they normally do?
Check for comfort: Do they appear comfortable or confident? Is their tail upright to exemplify confidence? Are they trying to get out of the costume? If so, that is a sure sign that they are NOT comfortable.
Observe their breathing: Tightness and heaviness can be torture; make sure the costume is loose enough so it doesn't hinder their ability to breathe naturally.
Monitor their costume wear at all times: NEVER leave your dog or cat in any costume unattended (no matter how comfortable they may look). Please watch them closely in case they're struggling to get out of the costume due to discomfort.
Take off the costume after a few hours: Animals should NOT be wearing costumes for more than a few hours. The longer they are in them, the more uncomfortable they could become. Set an alarm to remember to take the costume off of them.
Try This Simple Yet Cute Dog Costume Idea!
Walkee Paws combines dog boots and leggings and now they serve as a dog Halloween costume too! Use your Walkee Paws leggings to dress up your pup for Halloween, then use them all winter long to keep him warm and protected in the cutest way possible. To create simple yet cute dog costumes, add a fluffy tutu or a glittery princess skirt to the Ballerina leggings or make your pup a pirate and fearless against the cold with the Skulls leggings.
Photo by Walkee Paws
Whether it’s some fall fun or braving the winter weather, Walkee Paws is the perfect solution for all seasons to keep your pet safe, stylish and protected from all the ruff stuff outside.
How to Keep Your Dog Safe and Calm Indoors
Tips from Bark & Birch
Photo by Vlada Karpovich
Take a walk before sundown: Try and walk your dog before it gets too dark, and if you don't have the time to walk them earlier in the day think of mentally stimulating and enriching games and activities you can do at home like snuffle mats with treats or fun dog games. These enriching activities can calm and settle your dog and keep them occupied to reduce anxiety.
Plan ahead: When you know your doorbell will be ringing more than usual, stick to your dog's routine but preempt the knocks on the door. Try separating them from the entrance hall or get them settled and cozy in another room with the TV or radio on as a distraction. You could also use a gate to stop them from running to the door and getting overly hyper and anxious.
Treat your pup with rewards: When your pup behaves calm and settled, reassure them with lots of love and attention. If your dog is acting up, remember that they are nervous and afraid as Halloween is not like any normal evening. Reward them for being calm and don't punish them for misbehaving – instead try and course correct the behavior.
Bonus Tips from the Dogdrop Team!
Photo by Juan Vargas
Notice your dog is nervous or anxious? Whether they’re inside or outside, try feeding them Calming Peanut Butter CBD Dog Treats from Dope Dog. They’re proven to relieve the anxiety and aggression that comes in busy times like Halloween.
Staying in on Halloween? That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! There are many fun activities you can do to entertain and distract your dog indoors. Here are some tips from EJ from the PR team at Dogdrop.
Put on some music and have a dance off: The music will help distract your dog from anxiety inducing outside noises.
Play tag! Running after each other is fun and makes for good cardio. After a few laps. your pup’s energy will be out and they’ll sleep like a baby.
Have a movie night: Put on your favorite movie and cuddle up with your furry companion. Plan ahead with dog snacks, so they don’t try to take yours!
Have leftover pumpkin? Alex, Marketing & Sales at Dogdrop, loves to use pumpkin as a superfood for his dog. When fed in moderation, the micronutrients and fiber in pumpkin can help with constipation and diarrhea. It makes for a tasty treat to mix into kibble too!