10 Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe at Halloween

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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 clients ask me how to help their dogs survive Halloween.

Below are some tips for making Halloween less scary for your pet. All family members must 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 most spooks come out after dark, so try to walk your dog early. If this is not possible due to work, consider asking a friend, neighbour or professional dog walker.

Feed your dog before any fireworks begin. 

Like walking your dog, try and feed them early. This 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 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 lovely 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 usual 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 while walking the streets on Halloween. Other vicious acts have included injuries to pets and even thefts of precious dogs. Ensure 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 you will be greeting visitors who come to your door for trick or treating on Halloween evening. You will be opening your door frequently, and strangers dressed in weird and sometimes scary costumes will most likely be standing on your doorstep. It’s no wonder our dogs can sometimes be worried and aggressive and 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 do is search 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 movement or 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 your dog is distressed at any time, remove the costume immediately. You can buy many alternatives to dress up your pet, so perhaps consider a decorated bandana instead.

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Identification at all times

That should your dog bolt out of the open doorway, if he has the 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.

We all know that chocolate is dangerous for dogs due to the fact that it contains theobromine and caffeine. It is, therefore, important to keep them out of reach on a high shelf. This is the same with many other sweats as they often contain Xylitol.

Sweat wrappers

As well as the actual sweats being harmful to your dog, the wrappers are as well. They can cause a choking hazard and the possibility of internal blockage, which could result in needing surgery to remove it.

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 incredibly stressful to your dog if the child is in a costume and excited. Kiddies often wear masks to cover their faces with outfits that have bat-like ears. A dog can see this as a threat and become very worried and easily agitated when its 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.

Halloween Decorations

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 dogs, 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 ensure our pets are kept safe, happy, and healthy.

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