Knowing your Dog’s likes and dislikes
If they are ok with costumes, go ahead and dress up. If they run and hide - give them a Halloween toy instead or switch out their collar to a decorative one to get them in the spirit of the season!
Hide the Candy!
Halloween candy comes in bulk - either from the candy gathered by your children or the massive bags that you purchase to give out on Halloween night. Not only can much of it contain chocolate which can be deadly to dogs, some of it can also contain Xylitol, a sweetener, which is also harmful, or raisins another potentially deadly ingredient.
Place all candy high and in a cabinet that can not be pulled open by your pup. Ensure that kids in your home know the deadly aspect of leaving candy around. Teach them that candy is ok for them in moderation - but never ok for your dog. Teach them where dog treats are kept and have them engage with you in training and treating your dog - placing treats in the palm of their hand and teaching your dog to gently take those treats. If your dog is a treat hog - teach your kids that only adults can give treats!
Carving a jack-o-lantern is a blast for you and your kids. But make certain that your pup is kept away from the insides - including the seeds. While the meat of the pumpkin is ok in moderation, the seeds and the stringy insides are not. And while pumpkin can help with stomach distress in dogs, too much of it will do the opposite and result in some sleepless nights for you and your dog!
In addition, if you keep your pumpkins inside instead of outside, make certain that you use a battery-operated candle instead of the real thing. Dogs may be interested in checking out that jack o lantern and if tipped over with a real candle - the results could be drastic. Even electric candles can pose a threat if it falls and the batteries fall out so keep that pumpkin out of reach of your pup (or your cat!).
If your dog is particularly prone to stress and anxiety, there’s a good chance that Halloween will heighten those feelings. Taking preventative measures will be easier on your dog and easier to manage. This is the main reason why knowing your dog's likes and dislikes will protect them. For instance, if you know your dog gets really stressed out when strangers knock on the door or ring the bell, perhaps put a bowl of candy on the porch for trick or treaters to take as they please, or even opt-out altogether and leave a sign on the front door explaining why. Dogs have become more used to people wearing face masks and a comforting voice if you plan on dressing up is essential. But be aware that your pup may still be caught off guard if you are wearing a costume that completely alters your appearance so if you are going out - you might think about putting your costume on outside while your pup rests comfortably!
Fun Ways to Celebrate
After reading this list, you may be wondering what you can do to have fun on Halloween - and don’t worry, there’s plenty! Instead of giving your dog candy (which you never should!), get them some delicious Halloween or autumnal treats to enjoy while you and your kids enjoy the candy. Instead of a full Halloween costume, get your pup a festive collar or a fun little Halloween toy!
Lastly, if you know your dog won’t like Halloween, but you are a big fan yourself - there’s no reason why you should have to stop celebrating altogether. Consider taking your dog to board in a familiar place or finding a dog-sitter while you are able to go and enjoy the holiday yourself! But remember - plan ahead -- boarding facilities often need to evaluate your dogs prior to accepting them for a night and dog sitters must also be evaluated - you need to make certain that you are not placing your pup in the hands of someone that is inexperienced or is dealing with trick or treaters themselves!