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Halloween has something for everyone. Full of decorations, costumes, candy, and scary twists, it’s a festive evening for humans of all ages. But what’s fun for us can be confusing – and even dangerous – for our pets. Here are some tips to keep your pups safe and sound on the spookiest night of the year.
On the big night, keep your dog indoors. Dogs have an instinct to protect their home and family from strangers – and Halloween means no shortage of strangers approaching the house! To prevent your pet from fleeing the backyard, even if it’s fenced, please bring your dog inside for the evening.
Reassure your dog and keep them restrained. Halloween can be confusing for dogs. Humans understand the reasons behind a parade of strangers in costumes, loud doorbell rings, and yells of “Trick or treat!”, but our pets do not. Reassure your pup by acting normally. Avoid extra attention or over-reassurance, which may convince them something is wrong. And if your pet is nervous or overexcited from the frequent visitors, it’s best to keep them in a separate room away from the front door to prevent aggression or escapes.
Keep candy away from your dog. Halloween candy (especially containing chocolate or artificial sweeteners like xylitol) is toxic to dogs, with reactions ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to death. Keep all candy – even empty wrappers – somewhere safe and inaccessible to your pooch.
Protect your dog from your decorations. Glowing Jack-o’-lanterns scream “Halloween,” but lit candles and wagging dog tails aren’t a great mix. To prevent potential danger for your pet and your home from your agitated or excited pup, put your candle decorations out of your pet’s reach or use battery-powered candles instead.
Be careful with costumes. While some dogs enjoy wearing a costume, many don’t. Experiment before the holiday to see if yours likes wearing an outfit – if they show any resistance, skip the dress-up. To avoid your dog confusing you and your family members for strangers, keep masks off while your dog is around, and allow your pup to smell any costumes before wearing them.
Think twice before taking your dog trick-or-treating with you. Trick-or-treating with our furry friends may sound like a great idea, but sudden scares, strange costumes, and other human Halloween fun could be stressful and instill an ongoing fear of strangers. If you do take your dog with you, make sure their ID tags are securely attached to their collar, keep a firm grip on their leash, and do not let strangers in costume approach your dog without your consent.
Halloween is a special night to celebrate the creepy, crawly, and spooky. With these tips, you can ensure your dog has a fun, safe Halloween night alongside you and your family!