four easy tips for a safe and happy howlloween

howlloween is just a few days away and though it’s a fun and exciting holiday for us, it can be a traumatic, even dangerous, holiday for our dogs.

with a little bit of caution and smarts, you can help your pup make it through the night, unscathed.

here are a few tips:

  • careful with costumes* – we think canine costumes are cute, but they are often uncomfortable and even scary to our canine friends.  being restricted in tight clothing, and funny hats can make them feel vulnerable on a day that is already a little weird from their point of view.  if your dog gives you clear signals of discomfort** – tail tucked, head down, running away, shaking, lip licking, or panting, remove the costume immediately. if you want your dog to be festive, keep his costume simple, and opt for a halloween themed bandana or ribbon instead.
  • give your pups a safe/quiet place to hang-out all those knocks on the door can be very stressful and confusing to your dog, not to mention the scary masks and costumes.  your dog may not be aggressive, but you may see another side of him if a zombie or vampire comes knocking at your door (who could blame him).  make up a  comfortable spot in a back room for your pup.  turn on some music or the television (no horror movies), and give them a special/high-value bone or treat to gnaw on. trust me; they’ll appreciate the treat.
  • be aware of door dangers – with the constant opening of the front door, and chaos surrounding trick-or-treating, dogs can easily slip out the door unnoticed. this would be a nightmare for any dog parent. not only the terror of losing your pup,  and not being able to find him, but the thought of an accident causing physical harm. so, as mentioned above, keep your pup in a safe, quiet room, with the door closed, or if your dog is a brave soul and enjoys halloween’s trickery, keep him on leash until the tiny ghosts and goblins have gone to bed.
  • no candy – chocolate is extremely toxic to dogs. keep it up and out of sight! ask the kids not to share with their pooch and be careful where you throw the wrappers, dogs can be pretty tricky (pun intended). even sugarless candies are dangerous, so keep gum, and sugar free hard candies out of reach, too.

*they especially don’t like being dressed up as cats!

** see infographic of fear signals below

have a safe and happy howlloween!