How to Keep Your Dog Safe on Halloween

Photo by Betsy Laurin

The candy is stocked, the lights are lit, that gauzy spiderweb stuff is strewn about – you’re all set for Halloween. But what about your dog? With more than $350 million spent by Americans on pet costumes every year, having fun with our pets is certainly at the top of our list. However, pet safety should be right up there, as Halloween brings a number of new or unusual challenges for our dogs. By following these simple tips, you can help insure your dog has a fun and safe Halloween.

As a dog owner, you’re surely well aware that dogs are naturally inquisitive, so changes to your home décor will pique your dog’s interest. And by now you’ve weathered a few holidays and maybe learned the hard way to keep decorations out of reach of your best friend. For new dog owners, this may be your first holiday with your dog, and you may have to start making changes to your holiday traditions. Most Halloween decorations contain plastic pieces that are dangerous to dogs if swallowed.

At Home
If you live in a popular trick-or-treating area, you’ll likely see an influx of visitors to your front door on Halloween. Some of them may love dogs, and some of them may be scared of dogs. And even if you’re certain your dog will be friendly to every visitor, it’s a good idea to keep your dog in his crate through the most popular trick-or-treating hours. This will help prevent any complications and insure a fun night for all.

Around the Neighborhood
If you’re planning to participate in trick-or-treating around the neighborhood with your dog, you should understand that not everyone will be receptive of your dog on their property. It’s a good rule of thumb to stay with your dog on the sidewalk while your kids knock on doors – unless, of course, you know the homeowners very well. And since you’ll be encountering countless other kids as you make the rounds, make sure your dog is leash trained and socialized before attempting a night full of candy-fueled kids in strange (to the dog) costumes.

You most likely have heard that chocolate can be deadly if consumed by your dog. But chocolate isn’t the only culprit. Other sweeteners can have the same, or worse, toxic effects on your dog if eaten. Our latest infographic, Dogs and Candy, explains that while small amounts of chocolate or sweeteners may have little to no effect on your dog, moderate amounts of darker chocolate and sweets containing Xylitol can be deadly. So be vigilant about keeping all sweets out of reach of your dog. Maybe keep a small candy bucket full of dog treats handy, just so your dog doesn’t feel left out on Halloween, and so you can distribute a treat to any neighbors who bring their dogs to your door.

With a little preparation Halloween can be a fun and safe holiday for you and your dog. Do you trick-or-treat with your dog? Do trick-or-treaters visit your house just to say hello to your dog? We’d love to hear your Halloween stories in the comments. Have a happy Halloween – howl at the moon!

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