Halloween is a time for many families to have fun and be happy. Spooky costumes, the endless ringing of the doorbell by trick-or-treaters, and Halloween candy are just some of the things that make this day special.
However, for our canine companions, Halloween festivities can be stressful and scary. Some dogs get frightened to the point that they go into panic mode, while others react by hiding or running away.
The good news is that you can prevent any of these things from happening if you know how to keep your pet calm and safe. Here are 11 safety tips that will come in handy for you and your dog during the next Halloween season.
1. Exercise Your Dog Before the Party Begins
Prepare your dog for Halloween night by giving him plenty of exercise earlier that day. You can choose to go hiking, walk around the neighborhood, run, or even play in your backyard. The main aim of the exercises here is to tire him to be in a more calm and relaxed state when the party starts.
A tired dog is less likely to be bothered or threatened by the presence of strangers in odd costumes ringing your doorbell.
2. Show Your Dog Who’s Behind the Scary Costume
Because dogs get frightened by the scary costumes people wear during Halloween, it’s a good idea to let your dog be in the same room as you while changing into your costume. This gives him time to get used to your new look, which helps to ease the stress and anxiety he’s feeling.
You can also help him calm down by taking your mask off a few times while the party continues. When he sees you behind the scary mask, it will make him feel at ease; if you can convince your friends and family members to do the same, it will be better for your dog.
3. Keep a Close Eye on Your Dog During Trick-or-Treat Hours
There are lots of distractions for dog owners during trick-or-treat hours, from opening the door for bizarre-looking visitors to checking out their costumes to handing out candy. While you do all these things, your canine companion will have more than enough time to escape into the darkness.
And if by good luck he doesn’t run away, the continuous ringing of the doorbell and the loud noise made by large groups of people visiting your home will leave him feeling confused, stressed, and anxious.
So, how can you keep your dog calm and safe amidst all the chaos happening during trick-or-treat hours? One way to do so is by keeping him far away from the front door. You can either put him in his crate or lock him in a separate room that’s quiet and comfortable. Make sure he has his favorite toys and treats to keep him busy and entertained.
4. Don’t Let Your Dog Roam Freely Outside on Halloween Night
This is another safety precaution worth paying attention to. There are many cases where dogs have been teased, hurt, stolen, and even killed by vicious pranksters on Halloween night. People can prevent this if dog owners keep their dogs inside as the night goes on. Remember that there’s no safer place for your furry friend on Halloween night than inside your home.
5. Keep Trick-or-Treat Candies Far Away From Your Pet
Halloween candies may look very enticing to dogs, but it’s not a good idea to let your pet have a taste no matter how much he begs. That’s because candies contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that’s highly toxic when consumed by dogs.
Eating just a small amount of candy is enough to cause a sudden drop in your pet’s blood sugar. Other symptoms associated with xylitol poisoning include diarrhea, vomiting, rapid breathing, loss of coordination, seizures, and liver failure. All these can result in your dog losing his life if he’s not attended to immediately by the vet.
It’s your responsibility to protect your canine companion by keeping the trick-or-treat candies out of his sight and reach. It’s equally important to explain to everyone in your home (especially to the kids) how poisonous Halloween candies can be to dogs. Doing so greatly reduces the likelihood of your dog being poisoned.
6. Collect All Candy Wrappers and Discard Them Properly
The foil and cellophane wrappers used to wrap Halloween candies can also be dangerous when swallowed by dogs. For instance, they can be lodged inside your dog’s intestinal tract or throat, forcing you to pay for surgery to remove them.
But that’s not all. Swallowing candy wrappers can also cause choking and intestinal blockage to your dog. So, be sure to collect all candy wrappers in your house, lawn, and streets and throw them away before your pup gets to them.
7. Don’t Force Your Dog to Wear Halloween Costume if They Don’t Like it.
Dressing dogs in Halloween costumes is a trend that has grown over time, and this year won’t be different. However, before making your dog wear that funny and cute costume you made specifically for him, ask yourself whether he really likes it or not.
Some dogs feel really stressed, anxious, and uncomfortable in costumes, so you shouldn’t force yours to wear one unless you’re 100% sure he likes it. Consider purchasing the costume several days before Halloween, and have him wear it for a few minutes at a time for several days.
Reward him lots of treats and praise while he’s on his costumes to make the entire experience positive for him. If he looks and feels comfortable at the end of it, then you can go ahead and dress him up during Halloween. However, if he’s not, don’t force him.
While choosing the costume, you want to ensure that it doesn’t have small, dangling parts that your dog can chew off easily or beads and buttons that he can swallow. Also, make sure that the costume doesn’t block your dog’s sight, irritate his skin, restrict his movement, or causing breathing difficulties.
8. Keep Halloween Decorations Out of Your Pet’s Reach
Many Halloween decorations are dangerous to dogs. Electrical cords and wires, for instance, can cause serious burns or even an electric shock if your dog chews them by accident. So, it would be best if you had them taped firmly to the floor or covered up to protect your dog from such accidents.
Candles and lit pumpkins also present serious risks to your pet. His tongue can easily get burnt if he tries to sniff the open flame. Wagging his tail close to open candles can also cause them to fall down, igniting a fire. Therefore, it’s best to keep these decorations out of your dog’s reach.
Your pooch can also get entangled or choke on the fake cobwebs, plastic spiders, and rubber eyeballs often used for decoration during Halloween. So, you better keep them out of reach too.
9. Keep Glow Sticks Out of Your Pet’s Reach
Using glow sticks make people feel safe on Halloween night. However, many dogs view these sticks as toys to play with, sometimes chewing them open and leaking the contents out. Luckily, the glowing substance inside the sticks isn’t toxic to dogs, but it doesn’t taste very good when ingested.
If your dog gets that gets the substance into his mouth, he may become agitated as he tries to clear it out using his paws. He may also vomit or drool excessively as a result.
Instead of panicking, take him to a dark room and try to wipe off the substance from his tongue as thoroughly as you can. After that, offer him some fresh drinking water to help clear any remaining material.
10. Don’t Let Your Dog Eat Halloween Plants
You’re probably wondering whether it’s safe to give your dog Halloween plants like pumpkins and decorative corn. The answer is yes and no. Yes, because eating small amounts will not cause any harm to your pet.
However, swallowing large amounts of these plants can cause stomach upsets and even intestinal blockage. Therefore, it’s safer not to feed them to your dog at all if you can’t control how much he eats.
11. Ensure Your Dog is Wearing an ID Tag at All Times
Lastly, no dog owner wishes for their pet to escape and get lost on Halloween night, but it happens. Because of this, you should ensure that your dog has proper identification on him at all times. Having a collar with an ID tag, a GPS tracker, and a microchip makes it easier for whoever finds your pooch to return him to you.
With these simple tips, you should be able to plan ahead and work to effectively keep your furry friend safe, calm, and happy during the next Halloween season. Enjoy!