Table of contents
- Take the dog out before dark.
- Feed your dog before any fireworks begin.
- Provide a safe and comfortable place at home on Halloween.
- Put on the radio or TV.
- Ensure that your dog is not left alone in the garden
- Take care when opening doors, so your dog doesn’t escape
- Don’t force your dog to wear a costume
- Identification at all times
- Don’t allow your dog near pumpkin or swede lanterns
- Keep sweetie treats and chocolates away from your dog
- Don’t force your dog to meet any new children
- Think twice before you take your dog out trick or treating
- Halloween Decorations
One of the most exciting nights of the year is October 31st – Halloween when spirits and ghoulies roam the earth and the neighbourhood kids in strange costumes come knocking on your door requesting treats. Halloween is great fun for humans but not necessarily so for our dogs. As a professional dog walker, many of my clients ask me how to help their dog survive Halloween.
Below are some of my top tips for making Halloween less scary for your pet. It is important that all family members consider the following points to ensure your dog’s safety during this spooky time…
Take the dog out before dark.
Trick and Treat can start as early as around 4 pm with the little kids going out with parents after school, but the majority of the spook’s come out after dark, so try and walk your dog early. If this is not possible due to work, consider asking a friend, neighbour or professional dog walker.
It is important they are on a lead or long line just in case they get scared and bolt. Also, beware of people in strange-looking costumes and sudden noises that may spook your dog, causing them to sprint and run away.
Related article: Nightime and Dog Walks
Feed your dog before any fireworks begin.
Like walking your dog, try and feed them early. This then allows them to settle in their den for the night and possibly snooze.
Provide a safe and comfortable place at home on Halloween.
Many pets don’t like Halloween, so the best thing you can do is keep them well out of harm’s way. Make a “hideaway” or den in a room far away from the windows and doors. This could be their crate with some blankets on top and maybe a nice smelly jumper or pair of socks of yours as a comforter.
Put on the radio or TV.
Halloween usually brings fireworks of some sort which can be scary to the dog. Try and put the TV on at a slightly louder volume than normal to drown the noise. If you have Alexa, there is a skill called “calm my dog” worth looking into. Similarly, if you have amazon prime, you get “Through a dog ear” to help.
Ensure that your dog is not left alone in the garden
Trick or treaters have been known to tease dogs when out walking the streets at Halloween. Other vicious acts have included injuries to pets and even thefts of precious dogs. Make sure that your pets are kept safely indoors, especially during the hours of darkness.
Take care when opening doors so your dog doesn’t escape.
It’s a fact that on Halloween evening, you will be greeting visitors who come to your door for trick or treating. You will be opening your door quite frequently, and most likely, strangers dressed in weird and sometimes scary costumes will be standing on your doorstep. It’s no wonder that our dogs can sometimes be worried and aggressive and make an attempt to escape. Try to place your dog in another room or a secure crate away from the door to reduce stress. The last thing you want to be doing is searching for a lost dog.
Don’t force your dog to wear a costume.
If you need to dress up your dog, please ensure that the costume doesn’t annoy him. The costume shouldn’t restrict any movement, the ability to breathe, hear or see. Always supervise your dog when he is wearing any outfit. Introduce the Halloween outfit to him before the big event allowing him to wear it for very short intervals. Offer plenty of treats and praise to make it a positive experience. If at any time your dog shows any distress, remove the costume immediately. You can buy many alternatives to dress up your pet, so perhaps consider a decorated bandana instead.
Identification at all times
It goes without saying that should your dog bolt out of the open doorway, if he has correct identification and is microchipped, the greater the chance of him being safely returned.
Don’t allow your dog near pumpkin or swede lanterns.
Although small amounts of uncooked vegetables shouldn’t cause your pet too much harm, any carved lanterns that have been standing around may have begun to go mouldy. A stomach upset can result if your dog eats a large amount of something they aren’t used to. Take care if using candles to illuminate your Halloween lantern and keep well away from your dog, to prevent the risk of fire or burns.
Keep sweetie treats and chocolates away from your dog.
All types of chocolate, dark and baking varieties, in particular, can be lethal if your dog eats even tiny quantities. Poisoning by eating chocolate may bring on various symptoms, such as seizures, breathing rapidly, diarrhoea, vomiting, and increased heart rate. Halloween sweet treats may contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that can result in a vast drop in blood sugar. Keep all sweet treats well out of your dog’s reach.
Don’t force your dog to meet any new children.
At Halloween especially, it’s likely that many new children will come into contact with your pet. Be prepared that a child may reach out unwittingly to stroke your dog. This can be especially stressful to your dog if the child is in a costume and excited. Kiddies often wear masks to cover their faces with costumes that have bat-like ears. A dog can see this as a threat, become very worried and easily agitated when their normal routine is interrupted.
Think twice before you take your dog out trick or treating
Loud noises, screaming children, scary outfits and buzzing doorbells are all inevitable at Halloween. It’s in your dog’s best interests to keep him away from these spooky situations as much as you can. A lost dog or a bite can very quickly spoil the evening. Don’t terrify your pet unnecessarily.
If you have kids or like to decorate the house and garden for Halloween, make sure you take care. Consider where you place the decorations and what will be left on display. Anything within easy reach of your dog, such as candles and sweets, can easily be eaten or knocked over.
With more than 9 million dogs in the UK, they are highly likely to be involved in the family’s Halloween celebrations. As responsible dog owners, we must do everything we can to make sure our pets are kept safe, happy, and healthy at all times.