How to Make Halloween Fun – And Safe – For Your Dog

Lion DogHalloween is a festive time of year, and many humans have a great time decorating and dressing up. Your dog can also participate in the Halloween festivities, but there are several considerations to keep in mind when you are dressing up and enjoying the day. By taking the proper precautions, you and your best friend can have a safe and enjoyable Halloween together.

Costumes

Super Dog
There are many great pet costumes on the market, and numerous ideas for costumes that you can make on your own. Make sure that the costume you choose for your dog fits properly. Ensure that his vision and breathing are not obstructed by his costume. And most importantly, check that the costume does not hinder the safe operation of your pet’s leash and his harness or collar. Dogs can easily become frightened and slip out of their collar, so it’s extremely critical that your dog’s restraints are secure. A harness that goes around the chest or stomach is a great choice to keep your dog from slipping away. Also, if you will be out after dark, add some reflective tape to your dog’s costume or leash for added visibility.

Candy and Other Hazards

a chihuahua with a toothbrush in his mouth

Human candy is a no-no for pets. We all know that chocolate is bad for dogs, and can lead to vomiting, seizures and even death. Dark chocolate is especially toxic. But, did you know that the large majority of candy is bad for your dog? These candies are made with sugar, which contributes to canine obesity and other health problems, or artificial sweeteners which can lead to seizures or death. Opt for homemade, healthy, dog-specific treats. You can find many recipes for these delicious snacks from your vet or by doing a quick online search. Just be sure to choose recipes from reputable websites. And if you have human children, make sure you keep their treats and candy safely out of reach of your pet; as we all know, dogs have an uncanny ability to sneak into things and run off with goodies when we turn our backs for even a second. Also, keep in mind that face paints, glow sticks, candles and jack o’lanterns can all pose hazards to your dog, so it’s important to keep these items out of reach.

Events

All-long-day

A great way to enjoy the holiday together is to dress your pooch up and take him out into the neighborhood to go trick-or-treating. This is a great idea, but make sure you do it safely. First, even the most gentle and loving dog can become stressed out by all the noise and activity, or startled by a well-meaning child. This can lead to an accidental snap or bite. You don’t have to stay home; your dog can go trick-or-treating, too. Just keep your dog close to you at all times and remove him from the situation if he becomes over-stimulated. You can also check out your local newspaper or pet-friendly stores to see what dog-friendly activities are happening for Halloween. Many pet daycares and pet supply stores have Halloween costume contests and doggie trick-or-treating events, along with free pet pictures. These are great opportunities to show off your dog’s Halloween costume and “big boy manners,” as well as getting in some socialization for you and your dog.

Trick Or Treating

As we stated above, there are special precautions to take when you take your dog out into the neighborhood with the trick-or-treaters. If you decide to stay home and pass out candy, keep your dog in a bedroom or other area away from the front door. The noise and activity can upset your dog and lead to an unfortunate event with a child, so it’s best to keep your dog away from the flurry of activity.

Other Safety Concerns

The newspapers and media are full of stories about the bad things that can happen to pets on Halloween. Teenagers (and adults) who are up to no good look for unsupervised pets to be the target of their mischief. Keep your pet supervised at all times, and don’t leave them outside alone. Nearly all dogs just want to be inside the house resting at their master’s feet, so keep your dog inside with you where he is safe from any chance of harm. This will also eliminate any fear for your dog that could come from fireworks or strangers passing by your home.

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