Halloween can be fun for us but stressful for dogs, especially if you get a lot of trick-or-treaters coming to the door.
You could consider putting up a sign saying, “no trick-or-treaters please” and leave sweeties in a safe place outside for children to help themselves to instead.
Otherwise, keep your dog inside and away from the door as your dog may not recognize that the ghost, vampire or witch at your door is a child or person they know. Even a fairy can be scary to a dog since they do not understand the concept of costumes and dressing up. Masks can be particularly worrying as your dog cannot see the faces.
To prevent dogs from running outside, keep them away from the door when trick-or-treaters arrive. And make sure your dog is wearing a collar and tag just in case.
Avoid taking your dog trick-or-treating or to Halloween parties as these could be confusing and overwhelming for your dog.
Some dogs may be concerned by outside decorations. If this is the case, create distance between your dog and the decorations and change your walking route if needed.
Consider whether or not to purchase electric decorations that move or produce sound. Not only could these items worry or scare your dog, but your dog could also get hurt if they chew the cables.
And keep your dog away from pumpkins that are lit – if knocked over they can be a fire hazard. Consider using an LED light to light up your pumpkin instead, but still keep your dog away so they do not have a chance to get to the light and chew on the plastic or swallow the battery.
Halloween Costumes and Candy
We may enjoy dressing up, but a lot of dogs do not like wearing costumes. So, do not force your dog to wear a Halloween costume as this can make them stressed. If your dog does not mind wearing clothing, make sure the costume enables them to see, hear, breathe and move normally.
Keep sweeties and sweetie wrappers- especially chocolate, which is toxic to dogs- out of your dog’s reach.
Enjoy the Halloween season…and keep your canine friends safe too!
About the Author
Caroline Ward is a UK based dog trainer and managing director of her own business FITdogs Club, which was born in 2016. She has gained her IABTC instructor and IABTC Clicker and target (levels 1-3). Caroline attended several workshops in puppy training, life skills and cognition, including the Dog’s Mind and Social Learning in Puppies with Claudia Fugazza (2019) and most recently Chirag Patel’s online puppy training workshop (2023).
Caroline is a committee member of the Pet Professional Guild (canine division). She loves helping puppies and dogs create a bond through play, fun and training, with a special interest in canine cognition and how dogs feel, which is something she would like to develop in the future.