Halloween is one of the most fun holidays to celebrate with a pet—dressing our four-legged family members up in costumes brings us hours of laughter and joy. But a spooky celebration can quickly turn into a nightmare if you don’t take steps to keep your dog safe this Halloween. Here’s how to maximize the festive fun while keeping your dog out of danger on Halloween.
Halloween Dog Costumes
You probably spent hours poring over costumes for your dog—if you need inspiration and amusement, check out our dog costume contest winners from past years—before settling on a few dog costume options for your furry friend. When choosing a costume, make sure the fit is correct so your pup won’t trip over it or it won’t be too tight and uncomfortable for them to wear. Practice a few trial runs of putting the dog costume on so you can get your dog used to it and notice if they try to bite it off, eat part of it, or it hinders their ability to see—and walk! Dog Halloween costumes should bring some mutual enjoyment so make sure your pup is willing to tolerate the outfit—and that it doesn’t have any components they could eat or choke on.
When decorating your home for Halloween, try to keep decorations out of reach from your dog and check that there aren’t any dangling bits they can bite or anything that falls on the floor, like tinsel. Make sure lights and wires are out of reach and turned off—or on a timer—when you aren’t home. If you suspect your dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have, call your vet.
You know that chocolate is toxic for dogs and wouldn’t dream of letting them have any on this candy-infused holiday, but try to be aware of any Halloween candy or treats lying around your home or left out in a bowl to give trick-or-treaters. A curious dog can easily find some new chocolate snacks that is dangerous to their health. Remind children at home that their candy could make the dog sick so they shouldn’t eat candy where the dog could potentially access any crumbs. Put your Halloween candy for trick-or-treaters in a dish that’s out of reach from your pup. Let any guests know to be extra careful about chocolate consumption—or any candy for that matter—where your dog could get to it.
All of those ghosts, goblins, and creepy costumes might be a delight for you to see but imagine what they look like to your dog! If you take your dog out with you on Halloween, make sure she is on a leash and wearing reflective gear so she can be seen—even at dusk. If walking around the neighborhood and being faced with costumed people and kids seems to be stressing her out, take them back home where they feel safe.
If you’re giving out candy at home and your dog tends to bark or freak out when someone knocks at your door, be prepared for a long night ahead. You might want to crate your pup if that makes them feel more comfortable or have someone in the family be responsible for holding them back when costumed kids show up at your door all night long. Make sure they have their collar and identification tags on at all times just in case they run out the door.
Halloween Party Prep
Hosting a Halloween party? Make sure any potentially harmful foods are out of your dog’s reach and remind party guests that some foods aren’t safe for your dog to eat—so they should pick up that appetizer they dropped on the floor! Again, you might want to crate your dog in another room if you’ll have guests arriving at your home all night in costume.
Put yourself in your pup’s place—not only are there a bunch of new people showing up in their space, but they are dressed strangely in costume and could seem like a threat. You might want to pick up a new toy that will keep them busy or a special bone they’ll be preoccupied by so they are distracted and less interested in the party. Add Old Mother Hubbard Creepy Crunchers to a puzzle toy and reward them throughout the holiday with praise and treats about their good behavior.
Simply follow these Halloween safety tips and you and your dog can have a great Halloween season! Feel free to tag us in your Halloween photos on Instagram so we can see your dog’s Halloween costume.