With Halloween right around the corner, it’s estimated that over half of all Americans will celebrate the popular holiday this year. Many of them will spend months planning in advance. Although Halloween is a fun night for children and adults, it can be scary and confusing time for our pets. With some extra love and consideration, you can ensure your dog has a fun, safe Halloween from the comfort of your own home.
As tempting as it might be, don’t bring your dog trick-or-treating with your family. Instead, keep your dog inside the house or secured in the backyard during trick-or-treat hours. If possible, try to have an adult family member remain home with your dog while trick-or-treaters are stopping by.
It’s important to consider how your dog might react to trick-or-treaters. The constant ringing of the doorbell and the sounds of people outside might make him anxious. There might be loud noises or scary costumes that could add to his stress level.
Some dogs, especially those who are prone to anxiety or aggression, might try to escape the commotion by running out the front door or jumping the fence. Try to prevent this from happening by safely securing Fido before trick-or-treating begins. A few options might include your bedroom, your dog’s crate, or a backyard with a tall, sturdy fence.
Keeping your dog in a separate location might be better for the kids, too. Your home will be visited by many children of all ages throughout the night, and there’s a good chance that some of them might be shy or afraid of dogs.
Separating your dog from the trick-or-treaters also reduces your dog’s access to Halloween candy. Human candy (and candy wrappers) can be bad for dogs. Chocolate is particularly dangerous.
Fortunately, this doesn’t mean your dog can’t enjoy a little “treat” for his “tricks.” Offer him some of his favorite dog treats, bones, and toys… or create some homemade Halloween treats just for your favorite canine.
Here are a few of dog-approved Halloween recipes to try:
- Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Dog Treats. Nothing says “Halloween” like pumpkin! Here’s an easy recipe for these decadent doggie treats.
- Cranberry Pumpkin Cookies. For an extra spooky touch, use an inexpensive Halloween-themed cookie cutter to cut these cookies into fun shapes.
- Izzy’s Apple-Cheddar Dog Biscuits. If it’s featured by Martha Stewart, you know it must be the perfect autumn recipe for your dog!
One final question many dog owners ask on Halloween is: should I dress my dog up in costume? This really depends upon your dog. Not all dogs enjoy wearing costumes, although some certainly do. If your dog doesn’t mind dressing in costume, there’s nothing wrong with getting into the spirit. Just make sure the costume fits properly and won’t cause the dog any trips, slips, or injuries.
On the other hand, if your dog dislikes dressing up in clothing on other days of the year, don’t expect Halloween to be any different. If your dog is already prone to anxiety or seems stressed by the activities on Halloween night, dressing him up in a Halloween costume might add to the stress and confusion. In that case, it might be best to forgo the costume altogether. Consider a Halloween-themed collar or bandana if you want to be festive without subjecting your dog to wearing a costume.
Of course, even when we try to plan ahead, unexpected situations can (and do) occur. Just to be safe, have a number for a 24-hour emergency vet handy on Halloween night. Costume or not, make sure your dog is microchipped and wearing a collar with an ID tag displaying your contact information. Although there’s no 100% guaranteed way to prevent emergencies, these steps will increase the chances that your dog will remain safe and healthy on Halloween.