Halloween can be a scary time of year not just for those participating in trick or treating, but for dogs, who may find unexpected knocks at the door and people dressed in costumes unsettling. There are lots of simple steps you can take to help keep your dog safe and happy this Halloween.
Dog’s Trust have provided some “Howl-oween” top tips to help look after your animals. You can read about them here:
- Adapt your routine in order to miss the costumes and fireworks – it’s a good idea to head out before any festivities may begin and take extra tasty treats with you. If you spot any trick or treaters whilst you’re out, head away from them and reward your dog with a treat whilst you turn around to avoid any ghoulish encounters that might scare your dog.
- Keep human treats and sweets safely out of your dog’s reach – many human treats, especially chocolate, are toxic to dogs. It’s safest to keep these treats well out of your dog’s reach, and in case they accidently sneak a human treat, you can teach your dog to leave it before the trick or treaters start knocking.
- Be careful when opening doors so your dog doesn’t accidentally escape – before Halloween arrives, think about your dog’s access to the door. Popping your dog on a lead before you open the door or ensuring they don’t have access to the door when trick or treaters pop by will help to keep them safe. If you can’t close off access to your door, you can teach your dog to wait at doorways, decreasing the chance of your dog running out the door or jumping up at trick or treaters.
- Keep the costumes and dressing up for humans only – adding a new and unfamiliar item for your dog to wear can cause them to be uncomfortable. You should also be aware of anything that could cause abrasions or irritations, resulting in your dog overheating, or stopping them from expressing normal behaviour.
- Feed your dog their main meals before the trick or treating begins so they can eat at a relaxed time – you could save a small portion of their food to prepare some food-based enrichment activities for later in the evening, to help keep them calm and relaxed.
- Think twice about taking your dog out trick or treating – even dogs who aren’t fazed by people dressed up and all the excitement involved with Halloween may not enjoy it for as long as you do. They might prefer to be at home in their safe and comfy space with their favourite enrichment activity and toys.