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  • Writer's pictureJackie Maffucci, Ph.D.

Keeping Your Dog Safe on Halloween

Halloween can be a fun night for the family, but for your dog, it can be pretty scary. Here are a few tips to consider as you get ready to don your costumes and head out into the neighborhood.

Even the best dogs can get overly excited or scared when the doorbell rings, especially if you open the door and multiple strangers in weird costumes greet you on the other side. Rather than have your dog at the door with you, crate or otherwise enclose him/her in another room with some classical music playing and a nice long lasting treat (like a kong or bone) to keep him/her engaged. Alternatively, you might decide to sit outside and wait for trick or treaters so you don’t have to worry about opening and closing the door at all.

Just like we recommend not exposing your dog to the onslaught of trick or treaters at your door, we also recommend you very carefully consider whether your dog goes trick or treating in the neighborhood with you. The amount of people out and about and the fact that they’re all dressed in crazy costumes might be overwhelming to your dog. Leaving him/her at home can help to ensure that both you and your dog have an enjoyable night!

If you do bring your dog along, keep on eye out for stress signals like lip licking, panting, pulling away or crouching, and yawning. And be sure your dog has some form of identification on just in case he/she happens to escape.

If you plan on dressing your dog up, today is not the day to take the costume out of the package and put it on. You want to build a positive association with wearing clothes by pairing the costume with treats. Building this association doesn’t happen overnight! Instead, try a cute bandana or festive collar.

If your dog is well versed at the art of wearing clothing, make sure the costume is not restrictive to your dog’s movement and doesn’t have any loose pieces that might be choking hazards

Finally, remember that candy (especially chocolate) and candy wrappers can be dangerous for your dogs. Be sure to keep all candy out of reach of your dogs.

Happy Halloween!

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