6 tips for a relaxing Halloween with your dog

31 January 2020

Halloween might not be that entertaining for our furry friends, so delight yourself with these tricks and treats on how to avoid dog stress on Halloween!

best tips to prepare your pet for halloween

Crazy decorations, kids in costumes walking the streets and bowls of candy and other treats. For humans, Halloween is a day of fun and joy, but what about our four-legged companions? Is the 31st of October as fun for them as it is for us? Not really!

Good to know: It’s important for us to recognize that Halloween can be a frightening night for our dear four-legged friends.

Why is that the case? Well, there can be an overwhelming mix of elements that contribute to this fact:

  • the odd costumes
  • the large number of strangers coming to the house
  • loud noises
  • fireworks
  • all the festivities

6 tips against dog stress on Halloween

Some dogs might even feel threatened by the situation and experience panic reactions, like hiding or running away. But no need to worry! This 6-steps-guide is just what you need to prepare your dog for a relaxed Halloween!

1. What to do before the scary evening

The first step in preparing your dog for a relaxed Halloween evening is to exercise with him earlier that day.  Let your fluffy buddy make use of his energy on fun dog-friendly activities. Getting your furry friend tired will eventually make him also more relaxed. This way, later, when the trick-or-treaters start their visits, your dog will tend to be less excited in jumping around on all guests.

Don’t forget: Many people dress up in costumes already in the morning. So be aware of strangers in costumers also when you walk your dog before “the storm” . It would be good to keep a firm grip on the leash in case you meet people in costumes.

2. How to deal with strange people ringing the doorbell

Is not only that many dogs are often suspicious of new things, but they see themselves as the guardians of their homes. If strangers enter their house they can feel threatened.

Therefore, it’s not hard to understand that our furry friends get frightened when strangers in huge capes, princess hats, bells, flashing lights and over-sized shoes suddenly enter the door!

So how to deal with strangers ringing at the door? Here are a few tips on this topic:

  • The best you can do is to keep your dog away from the door.
  • Find a secure place in your home to keep your dog, if you’re giving out candy to trick-or-treaters.
  • Let your pup shelter in a crate and keep him occupied with some fun toys.
  • Above all, make sure your dog can’t escape out the front door when you open it.
  • Make sure that your dog is wearing a name tag and a Tractive GPS Tracker, should the worse case happen. A tracking device will help you have peace of mind.

3. Be aware of too much disguise

You’re wearing a costume and you dog don’t seem to recognize you? Don’t be surprised! He might even be frightened, when you suddenly change your form and figure. A helpful idea would be to allow your dog to watch you put on your costume. This way, it’s easier for him to get used to the transformation. During the evening, you should take of your mask (or parts of the costume) to show your pup that it’s still you underneath the clothes.  

And most importantly, it is not funny to scare your dog with the Halloween costume (don’t forget to tell your friends that too)!

4. Mhhhh… candy! Good for your puppy?

Yes, it looks good and no, you can’t have it! Keep your dog out of the candy bowl. Candy is pretty bad for dogs, and chocolate can be fatal, since it contains Theobromine, which can cause nerve damage and even death. Theobromine is not really dangerous for people because we would have to take an extremely high dose of chocolate before even a weak poisoning occurs. For dogs, however, it is easier to eat enough chocolate to be poisoned.

Additionally, don’t forget to throw away all candy wrappers before your four-legged friends get to them, since the wrappers can cause choking.

Explain to everyone in your home (especially children) how dangerous treats are to pets. Are you not sure whether your children or your dogs have plundered your chocolate stock? Then pay attention to the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomit
  • Irritability
  • Increased heart rate
  • Muscle tremors

Important: If your dog has any of these symptoms, you can be sure that it wasn’t your children eating the chocolate. In this case, you should call a vet as soon as possible as it could be rather dangerous for your dog!

5. Costume for my dog – better not?

how to best prepare your pet fr halloween stress

If you want to put a Halloween costume on your dog, first, think twice: Is this really a good idea? While it might look cute or funny, you want to make sure that your favourite buddy would accept it and also feel comfortable in it. Some dogs may not care about what you put on them, while others react very negatively to it.

It’s always better to choose your dog’s well-being and think twice before dressing up your dog!

Good to know: Be aware that some costumes can easily obstruct your dog’s vision, breathing or movement. Avoid all such pieces of clothes! Moreover, remove any small or dangling accessories that could be chewed and swallowed!

6. After the scary evening: Can you relax now?

The spooky night is over, what now? Here a few final tips:

  • When you walk your dog after Halloween, watch carefully for candy leftovers and wrappers on sidewalks and streets.
  • Don’t let your dog pick up any pieces that he can choke on.
  • Choose a route more in the nature, free from Halloween leftovers.

This being said, your dog will definitely appreciate not being left alone on Halloween or on any other scary occasions. Try to make Halloween as relaxing as possible for those cute paws and that wet nose!

Can I leave my dog home alone for Halloween?

Which dog types are better off at home for Halloween
Dog TypeLeave at HomeReasons
PuppiesYesWhen a family member can be at home to look after your puppy, it would be better for him to stay at home in a familiar environment. Nevertheless, puppies are not used to being left home alone by themselves, so you want to make sure that you do have a pet sitter before. Rings at the door and loud noises can be very traumatizing for your pup.
Mature, anxious dogsYesMature dogs also need a nice companion, since Halloween is not a usual situation for them either. Make sure to have a sitter at home with them, to keep them busy and entertained.
Mature dogs, who are not anxiousNoShould you be the parent of a happy, playful dog, who is never anxious, you may take your furry buddy on a few walks around the neighborhood. Even so, keep in mind that Halloween parties are still not the right place to be for your dog, since there can be too many dangerous objects lying around and threatening your dog’s well-being.

This being said, your dog will definitely appreciate not being left alone on Halloween or on any other scary occasions. Try to make Halloween as relaxing as possible for those cute paws and that wet nose!

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