Tips for a Safe Haloween

Coco as an Elf - her favorite costume

Coco as an Elf – her favorite costume

Halloween is traditionally scary and noisy and creepy but it can be very disturbing for your pets. It is often too loud, fearful, stimulating and distracting.

Here are 10 tips for a safe, happy holiday with your dogs:

  1. Bring your dog inside. Even if your dog is happy in his fenced yard, the commotion of Halloween could be very upsetting and scary.
  2. Keep a leash handy at the door if your dog should become too excited with doorbells ringing and new people arriving. The last thing you want is for your dog to lunge out the door every time a Trick or Treater arrives.
  3. Consider keeping your dog restrained in another room during this very loud, busy time
  4. Reassure your dog if he appears to be upset that this is a normal day and keep his routine as steady as possible
  5. Keep candy away from your dog, especially those containing chocolate, nuts, raisins or the artificial sweetener Xylitol. Keep the wrappers out of reach as well.
  6. If you choose to dress up your dog in a costume, experiment first. Make sure he is comfortable wearing clothes and if he shows any resistance, switch to a bandana or other less constricting touch for the holiday. Never force your dog to wear anything he finds uncomfortable. A collar ruff is a great solution if your dog does not like wearing clothes.
  7. If you are dressing up in costume, try it on beforehand in front of your dog and see his reaction. He may become frightened with you looking different so get him used to it.
  8. Keep candles, pumpkins and other decorations out of reach. Dogs can be very curious about anything new, especially puppies, so these objects should be far out of reach.
  9. Make sure your dog’s identification is up to date. Have you moved or changed your phone number? Tags should be kept accurate should your dog run out with frequent door openings or if he is scared. Better yet make sure your dog is micro chipped and that information needs to be kept updated as well.
  10. Think carefully before taking your dog out Trick or Treating with you. If you do take your dog with you, keep him on a short leash should people jump out and scare him. Make sure children or strangers ask before approaching your dog and encourage them to go down to his level before petting him.

Pet Partners therapy program actually does not permit therapy dogs to wear costumes when working. Not only may it affect their demeanor, but prevents clients from having access to the animal’s full body for easy petting.

Coco on Graduation Day

Coco on Graduation Day

But if you wish to dress up your pet in your “off hours” take care to make sure it is safe and your pet is comfortable.

The holiday should be fun and safe for everyone, not a time to introduce your dog to new experiences that may bring on fears and feelings of insecurity.