As Halloween approaches and you prepare for the thrill of trick-or-treat, be mindful of a dog or cat’s reaction to the hubris. If your dog is used to seeing you and your kids in costumes, then it may not be a big deal when you deck out as “Darth Vader” and suddenly appear in strange disguise.
To be safe, it might help to introduce those funny masks, colorful clothes and accessories BEFORE you dress up for the evening. Let your dog approach, touch and sniff all new objects and include treats as encouragement. Your dog will then equate those spooky things to a yummy gift instead.
However, if they are frightened by your costumes, try putting it on slowly while calling them to you for love, affection, and treats. Masks, hats & plastic accessories should be placed on the ground to allow your dog to investigate them on his own terms. Speak in soothing words of praise during this process. When he seems comfortable with them, then put them on casually and slowly while also praising with “good boy”. Ideally this exercise will occur a few days in advance of “fright night”.
Other Halloween safety precautions should include:
Keep Candy Out of Nose Reach
While it’s a scream for your trick-or-treaters to fill their buckets with confections, consumption of chocolate (and potentially xylitol) is toxic to dogs and cats. Wrapped candy, if eaten, is another hazard and possible intestinal obstruction. Make sure your kids have a safe place to stash their haul at the end of the evening and in the days to follow.
Costumes for dogs and cats
If you like to dress your dog for Halloween, choose a costume that allows plenty of breathing room. Avoid costume adornments that can be chewed off, choked on or swallowed. A reflective costume is also a good idea.
Keep a watchful eye on candles burning in the pumpkins. Curious noses might get burned if they get too close, or worse, knock them over and start a fire. Best practice is to buy the LED-or battery style candles to minimize risk yet still have a glowing effect.
Keep Pets Safe and Indoors
Keep your dog(s) inside and preferably in a quiet room, away from the front door. The sound of the doorbell ringing will undoubtedly promote barking and the innate pack instinct to protect the family from strangers…especially if they are dressed in weird costumes and making strange (spooky) noises! Make sure your dog has a collar and I.D. tag with current information. Micro-chipping is a good idea and for an added safety measure, consider the WHISTLE GPS tracker; found in our Pet Store @ www.doolittlesdoghouse.com/shop
Some dogs will be sufficiently scared so will attempt to escape or may slip out the door during the commotion. Consider calming products for dogs prone to high anxiety. We recommend Dr. Becker’s BITES Stress/Calming Solutions Bites. These all-beef chews are packed with Chamomile, Rhodiola and L-Theanine; natural supplements shown to promote calmness, balance and tranquility. These special calming chews and other great treat products are featured in our PET STORE @ www.doolittlesdoghouse.com/shop
Bringing Fido along
If you take your dog with you while trick-or-treating, stay on the sidewalks or driveways to avoid what might jump out at them at the door. Many homeowners like to dress in costume and spook the kids when the door is opened. Those sincere intentions may not be as well received by your dog.
Doolittle’s Doghouse is always focused on pet safety. Make it a Happy Howl-aween!
Photo attribution: Dog Wearing Witches Hat by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com
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