5 Spooky Smart Safety Tips For Your Halloween Hound
Keep your dog safe, happy and calm during the spooky festivities this Halloween
Halloween will soon be here, and while we know that it’s all in good fun, our furry friends may not. To us, trick-or-treaters are expected and we are prepared with candy and jack-o’-lanterns. Our pooches aren’t expecting the doorbell to ring repeatedly for hours. Dogs only accept what we have exposed them to at a young age, so it’s natural for them to be afraid when the routine changes. Here are a few tips to keep your dog safe and happy during Halloween:
Long Walk: Before the kids in costume start patrolling the neighborhood, take your dog for a long walk. Get that extra energy out of their system before the mayhem begins. If your dog is tired, he will be less likely to react to the strangers approaching.
Related: Top 10 Dog Halloween Costumes
Ring the Bell!: A few days before Halloween, start ringing the doorbell or knocking on the door. Up until this point, they most likely associate the doorbell ringing with people coming into the house. This usually leads to the dog getting excited and worked up. If you break that association by constantly ringing when nobody is entering, they won’t be shocked on October 31. Essentially, you’re taking the Pavlov out of it (well, substituting barking for drooling)!
Costume Etiquette: If you are planning on dressing up your dog for the festivities, please prepare them. You can’t throw your pup into a fancy getup without warning and expect them to behave normally. Dogs who aren’t accustomed to costumes sometimes get anxious and nervous. Put the costume on briefly a few times a day to get hem used to it. Make a big fuss and use treats. And then, of course, post multiple pictures of your dog dressed as a taco on Facebook.
Boundary Safety: While preparing for your trick-or-treaters, prepare for your dog. Even if your dog is social and friendly, Halloween can be overwhelming. Kids in crazy costumes will make even the most well-balanced dog nervous (hey, kids in costume make ME nervous). If you have a dog door, lock it. Keep the dog in the house during witching hour. If they tend to be nervous, keep them in a different room or crate and try to designate a safe spot for them.
Candy Safety: Keep all chocolate and candy out of reach! If your kids are amongst the ghouls, be sure to put their candy somewhere the dog can’t get at it. And do the same with all the candy you intend on handing out. If by some accident your dog does get his paws on something he shouldn’t, a small amount of hydrogen peroxide will induce vomiting. But always call your vet in the case of emergency.
Halloween isn’t supposed to make our dogs howl. If you follow my ghoulishly good safety tips, everyone can enjoy the treats… and your dog will be grateful for your newly learned tricks.
Rachel Leavy lives in Rochester, New York with her dog, Maria, and her gecko, Nigel. She has loved animals all her life, and has owned her own dog training and walking company for five years. When she’s not playing with puppies, she can usually be found writing short stories, riding horses or out at a play.