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! It’s important for all us to recognize that Halloween can be a frightening night for our dear pets. The strange costumes, the strangers coming to the house and all the festivities can be overwhelming for dogs, and some might even feel threatened by the situation. If you want to prepare your pet for Halloween, this is your guide to a fun and safe day for both you and your dog.
Before the storm
It is wise to make your pet tired and exhausted before the trick-or-treaters start their visits. Walk your dog before “the storm” and keep a firm grip on the leash in case you meet people in costumes.
Strange people ringing the doorbell
Many dogs are often suspicious of new things and 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! 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 a nice chew toy. Above all, make sure your dog can’t escape out the front door when you open it. Should it happen that your pet escapes when he sees the goblins at the door, make sure that he is wearing a name tag and a Tractive GPS Tracker that you know exactly where to find him again.
Is that really you?
Don’t be surprised if your dog doesn’t recognize you when you are wearing a costume, or if he’s frightened when you suddenly change your form and figure. Its a good idea to let your dog watch you put on your costume so that he gets 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! After all, aggression from a dog is not very funny, now is it? (don’t forget to tell your friends that too).
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. Chocolate 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. 2 or 3 large eggs of chocolate are actually enough to cause problems for medium and large breeds, such as Labrador Retrievers.
Additionally, Don’t forget to throw away all candy wrappers before your pet gets 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 pet have plundered your chocolate stock? Take attention to the following signs:
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle tremor
If your dog has any of these symptoms, you can be sure that your children did not lie and that your dog actually DID eat the chocolate. In this case, you should call a vet as soon as possible as it could be rather dangerous for your dog!
Look how cute you are in that costume!
If you want to put a Halloween costume on your pet, make sure that he actually wants to. Some dogs may not care about what you put on them, while others act like they are caught in a deadly trap…so think twice before dressing up your dog. Be aware that the costume doesn’t obstruct the animal’s vision, breathing or movement. Remove any small or dangling accessories that could be chewed and swallowed.
After the storm
When you walk your dog after Halloween, watch carefully for candy leftovers and wrappers on sidewalks and streets. Don’t let your pet pick up any pieces that he can choke on.
Something missing? Don’t be afraid to share your Halloween tips and wisdom.
Happy Halloween! 🙂