7 Simple Halloween Safety Tips for Your Dog
My dog doesn’t like Halloween, and she’s not alone. Many dog experience extra anxiety and stress on Halloween with all the extra commotion and chaos. Follow these 7 Halloween safety tips for your dog to make it safer and more comfortable for your canine this year.
Not all dogs love Halloween, in fact many find it an extremely stressful event. All the strangers yelling and coming up to your door in scary costumes and weird masks can cause a lot of anxiety for our pets. Are you going to be passing out candy this year or hosting a Halloween party? You know your pet best; will all the extra festivities make them anxious? Plan ahead on how you’re going manage the situation for your dog.
7 Simple Halloween Safety Tips For Your Dog
Halloween is usually quite loud and chaotic, much different from any other “normal” day. Be aware that all the fun activities we enjoy might be less enjoyable for your dog. Make sure you keep your them safe and comfortable on Halloween by following a few safety tips and precautions.
Costume Safety Tips for Your Dog
Pet costumes have risen in popularity over the past decade – Americans will spend an estimated $350 million this year on costumes for their pets which is a 40% increase from 2 years ago. If you’re planning on dressing up your dog this year keep in mind some basic safety precautions.
In 2013 22 million people dressed up their pets for Halloween -National Retail Federation
- Be aware of signs of stress and anxiety in your dog – If your dog doesn’t like their costume don’t make them wear it.
- Check for loose ends and parts – ribbons, buttons and beads are all potential choking hazards for your dog
- Ensure the sizing is correct – dog costumes as any other dog clothing can be tricky when it comes to proper sizing. Make sure it fits loosely and that your dog seems comfortable.
- Avoid masks – don’t choose a costume that will limit your dogs vision or hearing.
- Don’t choose a costume that is too heavy or large – avoid costumes that will hinder their ability to urinate, defecate, eat, drink, and move freely.
- Avoid overheating or exhaustion by sticking to lightweight costumes.
- If you’re going to go outside with your dog on Halloween make sure their costume is bright or reflective for better visibility.
If your dog doesn’t enjoy wearing costumes a simple bandana or Halloween themed collar can look just as festive.
Halloween Candy & Treats Can Be Toxic to Pets
Make sure your Halloween candy is out of reach from your dog at all times. Be careful when it comes to eating candy not to leave any wrappers behind; we all know how great dogs can be when it comes to picking up things off the floor.
Chocolate is toxic to dogs and xylitol, which is found in many artificially sweetened candies, is also extremely toxic for canines. If you suspect your dog may have ingested anything toxic call your veterinarian or local animal emergency clinic.
The ingestion of xylitol or xylitol-containing products causes a rapid release of the hormone insulin, causing a sudden decrease in the dog’s blood glucose. -Petmd
Trick or Treaters Can Cause Stress for Pets
Unless you have an extremely sociable dog it’s widely suggested to keep your pets confined during the trick or treat hours. Many dogs will become overly stressed out and anxious by the constant knocking and door bell ringing.
Dogs may become fearful of people in costumes, especially masks. All of the extra noise can cause a lot of extra stress on your dog during the peak Halloween hours. If you’re handing our candy by opening your door it creates the risk of your dog slipping out and escaping.
Is your dog isn’t comfortable around visitors, strangers, masks, and loud noises it’s recommended to keep them confined to another part of your home. If you choose to confine your dog you can either put them in a separate room or use a baby gate to keep them away from the front door and remember to give them access to food and water.
If you have an overly anxious or fearful dog you might want to consult your veterinarian about the possibility of using an anti anxiety medication for Halloween.
Pet Halloween Decoration Safety Tips
Dogs have a tendency to investigate anything new that enters your home. Many Halloween decorations have a potential fire or electrical hazard.
- Make sure your dog doesn’t have access to pumpkins while unsupervised. Although they’re not toxic to dogs they can cause gastrointestinal issues if ingested whole.
- Keep candles and jack-0-lanterns out of reach – make sure they’re not placed where they can be knocked over.
- Try to keep electrical cords away from places where your dog can bump into or trip over them.
- If you have a dog that loves to chew (especially puppies) don’t leave them unsupervised while you have your decorations plugged in to avoid electric shock.
- Avoid other chewing hazards by keeping your extra Halloween decorations out of reach.
- Keep glow sticks away from your dog – they’re not highly toxic but the liquid inside of them dibutyl phtalate can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and salivary glands leading to excessive drooling.
- Watch those tails – if your dog is anything like mine their wagging tail can knock over just about anything including candles or decorations.
Outdoor Hazards for Pets
Do not leave your dog out in the yard on Halloween – it’s going to be a stressful evening for most dogs left alone in the backyard during all the commotion. People will be running all around the neighborhood and might approach your dog without you knowing. Dogs tied up or on fenced in may become territorial if approached by strangers.
Before the trick or treating begins make sure to let your dog go outside to do it’s business. Although black cats are widely known for being targeted by cruel pranks during Halloween any pet can be at risk.
Tips for Safe Trick or Treating With Your Dog
- Make sure an adult comes along – don’t leave your dog with your children while they go door to door.
- Only take your dog along if they’re extremely well socialized and friendly around strangers and other animals.
- Is your dog OK around kids? Be aware that many children will likely run up to your dog quickly on Halloween.
- Make sure your dog has a good “leave it” command because they’re likely to come across candy or wrappers on the ground.
- Don’t forget your poop bags – don’t ruin someones Halloween by letting them step in your dogs mess.
- Keep your dog on leash at all times and make sure they have proper ID with your current information.
- Increase your visibility with reflective wear or LED leashes, collars, or harnesses.
- Don’t forget to bring along water for your dog.
- If your dog is going to be wearing a costume try it on a few times before to make sure they’re comfortable.
- Be aware of your surroundings and consider bringing another adult along – one to watch the kids and one to watch the dog.
If you have any doubts as to whether you should bring your dog along for trick or treating it’s best to leave them at home. Most dogs stay indoors for Halloween because it is a stressful time with all the extra commotion.
Halloween Events for Dogs
If you’d like to celebrate Halloween with your dog but don’t want to take them out that evening check to see if there’s any local Halloween events that are pet friendly. There are many Halloween parades and fests held throughout North America each year.
- Halloween pet events by care.com – 9 U.S. Parades and fests from
- Dog-Friendly Events by sidewalkdog.com
- Dog-Friendly Events by dogtrekker.com
- Petsmart is holding their Freight & Delight event Oct. 25 & 26 at any of their store
Many other events are held locally – check in your favorite search engine to see what’s going on in your neighborhood.
With some common sense and caution you can follow these Halloween safety tips and the whole family can enjoy a safe and fun holiday – even your four legged family members. Don’t force your dog to dress up or participate if they’re not comfortable – many dogs spend Halloween at home away from all the noise and there’s nothing wrong with that.
What Are You & Your Dog Doing This Halloween?
What are you doing with your dog this Halloween? Do you dress them in costumes or do you take them out trick or treating? Have you been to a Halloween parade with your dog and if so did they enjoy it? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.