Keeping Your Dog Safe on Halloween
Halloween is the spookiest night of the year but it can be spooky for your dog too. It’s important to keep dogs safe and happy with all the new sights, smells, and oddly dressed humans they are likely to encounter over Halloween.
People At The Door
You may have a high number of trick or treaters knocking at your door over Halloween night which can cause problems for some dog owners. Many dogs go crazy at the sound of the doorbell and can get over-excited at someone at the door.
A short term solution would be keeping your dog separated in a room as far away from the front door as possible during peak trick or treat hours. This might not stop the dog from barking or starching, but does prevent the dog rushing to greet at every batch of Halloweeners that arrive.
A more suitable long-term solution would be to train your dog to limit how excitable they get when the doorbell goes. Pet Central have some great tips from a professional trainer on how to stop your dog from going too crazy.
But even if your dog remains calm with strangers arriving on your doorstep, keeping them away from the front door is always a good idea. With all the high level of people and new sights and smells, even the more laidback dogs can get spooked.
During the evening of Halloween it might be a good idea to ensure your dog is wearing ID tags just in case they do make an escape.
If you are planning a fancy dress outfit for your dog for some internet points or a few extra min Mars Bars in your trick or treat bag, please always keep your dog’s happiness in mind.
You may already know if you’re dog isn’t a fan of outfits while training them to wear a harness. If the training process was long and difficult, you probably won’t want to put them under unnecessary distress by trying squeeze them in a spider costume or cowboy outfit. The ordeal may even undo some of the hard work you did trying to persuade them to wear a harness.
If they are quite calm about wearing costumes, make sure it doesn’t restrict their movement or comfort. Any costume that hampers your dog’s ability to walk, see, breath or bark is simply not a good idea and will cause distress.
With all the spooky decorations and candles and new people in their costumes, dogs are likely to get very excitable, so be sure you’re aware of general fire safety on Halloween.
An over excited dog can easily bump into a table and knock over a candle. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommend using battery-operated candles to remove this risk. They have many Halloween fire-safety tips here.
Pumpkins are considered relatively nontoxic to dogs but can cause stomach discomfort if they are chewed on.
Sweets & Chocolate
With trick or treaters ringing the bell every five minutes, or if you’re having a Halloween party, it’s tempting to have sweets and chocolate easily accessible. Just make sure you haven’t accidentally created a forbidden dog buffet.
It’s always important to remember that chocolate, in any form, is very dangerous to dogs. Artificial sweeteners and sugar free sweets containing xylitol can also be very toxic. So keep the sweet bowl and other common Halloween treats well out of harm’s way. Signs of your dog eating chocolate or sweeteners appear 6 to 12 hours after consumption and include: vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, increased urination and seizures.
If you believe your dog has eaten something toxic you should call your veterinarian immediately or call the UK Animal Poison Line - 01202 50 9000.
Your Regular Walk Routine
Easily spooked or very excitable dogs might become agitated around lots of people out trick or treating. With all the different costumes, smells and boisterous children running around, your usual walking route might be interrupted. So it’s understandable that your dog might react differently to all the unique surroundings on Halloween night.
It may be a good idea to walk your dog before dark to avoid peak time for trick or treaters.