Dog Safety on Halloween

Halloween Safety for Dogs

Tips to keep your dog safe on Halloween

Halloween can indeed be a scary and confusing time for dogs and therefore, for their owners. With so many people ringing the doorbell, wearing costumes, screaming “trick or treat,” and possibly behaving strangely, it is easy to understand why a canine could become frightened. I believe there are several concerns about Halloween night that make it scary for dogs, and dog owners need to be cognizant of them to keep their pet comfortable.

Trick-or-Treating (or as your dog sees it: Costumed strangers coming into your private territory). This is probably the scariest thing for dogs about Halloween. If you are staying at home with your dog, you must be prepared for how your dog views strangers coming up to your door, as this will be a very frequent occurrence on Halloween night.

Make sure that your dog is either properly trained, or safely stowed away during this time. Otherwise, your dog could rush to the door to greet (or jump all over) the trick-or-treaters, or even run out the door and into the street.

Some dogs become alarmed when the door bell rings, and on this night, many people will ring the doorbell, hollering “trick or treat.” Someone from the family should stay with the dog to comfort him, or the door should remain opened, so people don’t have to ring the door bell. Turn off the front light if it becomes clear that the dog is in distress, or if you decide to leave your dog home alone, and that should be a signal to trick or treaters that nobody is home to give out candy.

If you have your dog with you when you visit other homes to go trick or treating, be sure that they are properly trained so that they will remain seated and not give in to instinct to become aggressive towards the trick-or-treaters.

Walking around on Halloween night can be scary for the dog and also dangerous. Just like any other night, your dog still needs a walk. Give yourself and your dog enough time for your walk before costumed trick-or-treaters emerge in earnest. Not only will this be easier on your dog, it will help get rid of restless energy that could contribute to bad behavior later. Keep in mind that some people may accidentally drop candy outside, so be mindful of that on Halloween eve and the day after Halloween.

Be sure to keep all the candy (especially chocolate) safely out of reach of your dog. Consuming candy can be hazardous to their health. You need to keep track of your children’s candy bags/sacks as well as the candy you are handing out to visitors.

Make sure that your dog is wearing his or her collar and that the identification tags are on and visible. In the worst case of them getting out in the madness, they have a better chance of safely returning. Happy Halloween!

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Photo: Flickr