If you are worried about keeping your dog safe over Halloween, you are not alone. While most of us know to prepare in advance for holidays like the 4th of July and New Year’s Eve, many of us don’t think too much about Halloween. Halloween, though, can be a very stressful holiday for dogs.
Think about it—Halloween is full of non-stop doorbell rings, strangers at the door, way too many treats that can be poisonous to dogs, and more. All of these stressors of Halloween are especially true if you have an overly anxious dog.
Table of Contents
- 1 Keeping your dog safe over Halloween
- 1.1 Step 1: Prepare your dogs
- 1.2 Step 2: Look into supplements
- 1.3 Step 3: Keep costumes simple or avoid them altogether
- 1.4 Step 4: Keep Halloween candy out of your dog’s reach
- 1.5 Step 5: Use flameless candles
- 1.6 Step 6: Keep wires out of dog’s reach
- 1.7 Step 7: Keep dogs in a separate area
- 1.8 Step 8: Keep ID tags on your dog
- 1.9 Step 9: Stay with your dogs
Keeping your dog safe over Halloween
With the tips that we are going to follow here, we can together learn how to keep our precious canine family members happy, safe, and most importantly healthy!
Here are some steps you can take to try and prepare your dog for these stressors.
Step 1: Prepare your dogs
Prepare your dogs for what is coming by introducing them to the stressors that they will be receiving. Doing the following things throughout the year can help your dog prepare for the night:
- Condition your dog to not react to the doorbell. Have a family member ring the doorbell and give your dog a treat when they don’t bark and when they remain calm. You want them to associate the sound with getting a reward when they are calm. Ideally, you want to train them to go to their “place” when they hear the doorbell.
- Invite guests over for visits more often in the days leading up to Halloween. Be sure to reward your dogs when they remain calm and don’t bark.
Step 2: Look into supplements
Talk to your veterinarian about any possible calming supplements that you can offer your dog to help keep them calm under these anxiety-causing circumstances. Many veterinarians offer probiotic-type calming supplements that aim to help relax your dog in times of stress.
Another option may be CBD supplements. Many people rave about the positive effects that CBD has had on their dogs, specifically as it relates to health, pain, and anxiety. We also use Bach’s Rescue Remedy which is a special calming blend of flower essences—this is also great during thunderstorms.
Step 3: Keep costumes simple or avoid them altogether
Pets rarely love costumes, so avoiding dressing them up is probably the best choice. That’s not to say you can’t do it though. If you are going to dress your dog up for Halloween this year, just make sure that the costume fits them comfortably and it does not impede their vision, hearing, or mobility.
Rainey loves dressing up in certain costumes. She loved her cowboy outfit until Dylan decided he had to save her from the mean cowboy!! So, no more costumes for Rainey.
Here are a couple of other good rules to keep in mind for pet costumes:
- Avoid costumes with elastic near the head or neck
- Choose a loose costume that pulls on and off easily
- Choose a material that won’t cause your dog to overheat
- Don’t decorate up the dog’s regular collar and leash, but instead, choose a Halloween-themed set instead.
You should also make sure to think carefully about your costume. Human costumes can be anxiety inducing for pets. If you plan to have a full-body costume that will make you unrecognizable, you have a couple of options.
You can either introduce yourself in costume to your dog during the lead up to Halloween, or you can simply separate your dog from you that evening. Many dogs can become nervous or excitable by costumes that make you unrecognizable.
Step 4: Keep Halloween candy out of your dog’s reach
Most of us understand that dogs cannot eat chocolate. Many of us don’t realize though that most candy can be toxic to dogs. Pets who eat candy can end up sick with diarrhea, lethargy, vomiting, or even poisoning. These symptoms can easily require an emergency trip to the vet’s office, and unfortunately, could even result in death. To avoid any of this happening, it is best to keep the Halloween candy out of the reach of your pet.
One thing that often gets forgotten about Halloween candy is the bags that the treats come in. These bags can easily become a suffocation hazard to curious dogs. To avoid this, be sure to cut the bags along the seams to avoid the hazard and toss them in the trash right away.
Step 5: Use flameless candles
When it comes to your Jack-o-Lanterns and other Halloween decorations, make sure to use flameless candles instead of real ones. Dogs can get curious and knock the pumpkins down. Your dog can easily get burned.
Additionally, while we all know that candles can be a fire hazard, this hazard increases around excitable dogs. At the very least, they could create a waxy mess if knocked down.
Step 6: Keep wires out of dog’s reach
With all of the different Halloween decorations that are available, be sure to keep any wires out of the reach of your dog, so they don’t chew on them. In order to do this, you can put the decorations up high or you can hide the wires under rugs in order to prevent the dog from getting to them.
Step 7: Keep dogs in a separate area
Does your dog have a specific place in your home where they feel the most comfortable and/or the most safe? There is nothing wrong with allowing your dog to stay in this separate room during the Halloween festivities. This may help prevent them from having to deal with the stimulus of people, doorbells, or whatever else gets them excited.
Step 8: Keep ID tags on your dog
If you plan to take your dog out trick or treating, be sure that they have ID tags on their collars. In the event that your dog runs off or gets lost, anyone who finds them can easily get them back home.
Step 9: Stay with your dogs
If you don’t think that the above steps have helped get your dog ready for Halloween, you might consider simply staying home and keeping the outdoor lights off to comfort them. You can still put out a bucket of candy for the trick or treaters, but if they are not constantly coming to your door, your dog may be able to avoid the angst that comes with this holiday.
Are you prepared for Halloween? What steps have you taken in the past as it relates to keeping your dog safe over Halloween?