I have to admit, I have dogs that like to get dressed up. It’s fun and they are down right adorable.. but I do it mainly in a comfortable atmosphere and do not really get them involved in the entire spirit of Halloween. I have learned throughout the years that Halloween can represent a very stressful time for dogs.
Some dogs, especially rescues, are often nervous. Even though they may feel very comfortable in their home..around strangers, especially masked ones, may not go over that well.
There are a number of things we have to consider, and precautions we have to take, in regards to Halloween for the well-being of our pets (ok..in some cases..little monsters:)
I leave Halloween to the kids because I just do not think Halloween is safe for dogs. In fact, if you ask any any Veterinarian or animal rescue, and they will tell you all the reasons why, you should skip getting your animals involved. Dressing up at home is one thing, but bringing the dog along, while the kids tear the streets looking for treats, or having them greet kids as they approach for treats, should probably be avoided.
In order to keep pets safe at Halloween, here are a few tips:
- Do not let dogs near the front door while a constant and diverse group of trick or treaters come knocking at the door. It is usually loud and noisy. Plus, for the dogs, they will all be strangers. Even normally quiet and good natured dogs, could change their temperaments very quickly. An agitated dog could easily nip or bite a child under distress. Keep your dog in a quiet place..maybe with a favorite toy or treat that will divert their attention and keep them busy for awhile. Since the focus will be on distributing candy for you, and collecting candy for the kids, the preoccupation could even lead to the dog getting out accidentally. If you are really eager to have a true Halloween Greeter, you dress up and have fun with it!
- If you do decide to take the dog along for a walk on Halloween, make sure to choose an earlier time with less traffic and keep the dog on a very short leash for control. Do not tie the dog up or leave the dog anywhere….this is often a time for TRICKS and it’s not new ( yet unfortunate) that animals have been the brunt of some very nasty Halloween pranks. Keep your black cats inside that night and even go as far as to keep them in your sight and safe at least a week before!
- Make sure all candy ( especially chocolate) is kept out of the reach for the dogs. Chocolate can be fatal for dogs and candy could easily cause cause anything from really bad stomach upset and vomiting to death. If you are preparing the kids for a safe Halloween, take a few moments to explain to them about the dog and safety at Halloween.
- Avoid burning candles. Based on experience, I know what’s it likes to have a cat who attempted to jump over a candle and its tail went up in flames. Kitty was fine but enough said! Again, candles require attention and on Halloween, it is really hard to do too many things at once.. and not recommended!
- When it comes to costumes, be careful what you choose. It is important that a costume is not constricting or tight. It is also important that certain parts are not covered and that the costume is comfortable. Avoid elastics and anything that may caution vision problems. If you have a Pug like me, dressing up for a short period of time is fine. However, if the dog is resisting or in distress, reconsider!
Hallowen has been around for awhile. We can all look forward to this night of fun, imagination, creativity and the one night candy seems to be OK! However, let’s remember that it really is not a night made for pets-they do not like strangers, they can not eat candy, and often do not adjust to strange and unfamiliar circumstances. Take precautions, prepare for it and keep all the pets in the house safe and away from harm’s path.