29th October 2021

Keeping the Spook out of your dogs Halloween!

Halloween can be a scary time for dogs. The good news is some extra planning and considerations can go a long way towards helping your dog feel safe during this spooky season!

Photo: Saundra Clow

Make it a Fear-Free Halloween!

Fireworks. Oh, the fireworks.

If you live in an area like I do (British Columbia) you know to expect fireworks to go off at random in the lead up to Halloween. Then, on the big night, most communities put on a fireworks show. While it’s fun for families and kids, it’s not fun for most dogs. This is one outing where your dog, no matter how well socialized, should stay home. People dressed in costumes, big crowds and a firework display are not a good combination of events for any dog.

In the lead-up to Halloween, it’s also important to consider when you’ll have your dog off-leash. If you are used to letting them sneak out for a quick bathroom break off-leash in the evening, please play it safe and keep your dog on a leash. All too often, an unexpected firework goes off and a dog who was just out for a quick bathroom break gets terrified and runs off. It’s heartbreaking and so preventable.

Also, if you usually take your dog’s collar (and ID) off when they’re in the house, consider leaving it on even in the house until the holiday has passed. If the door is open and your dog gets unexpectedly spooked and slips out, having ID is going to help them get reunited with you sooner.

Do I sound paranoid? Maybe, but to me, it’s really just not worth the risk and having these extra safety measures in place can make all the difference.

What should your dog be for Halloween? Comfortable!

Dressing our dogs up in costumes can be fun. What’s not fun though are the thousands and thousands of photos online of “cute” dogs who are clearly uncomfortable and stressed in their costumes.

Educate yourself on what signs of stress in dogs look like. Common signs of stress include a whale eye (google this one!), yawning, lip licking, panting, avoidance, pinned ears, low tail, cowering, and avoidance.

If your dog doesn’t like being dressed up, consider some fear-free costume ideas. A cute Halloween-themed bandana or collar can be a fun way to participate in the holiday while keeping your dog feeling safe.

All tricks, not treats please!

It’s fairly common knowledge that most Halloween candy is toxic to dogs. It can be all too easy in the excitement of the night to forget and leave the candy out where it’s easily accessible to your dog. Take extra precautions with your treats by keeping them up high and out of reach in the days that follow.

If you are worried your dog may have ingested something toxic, don’t delay and call your vet right away.

Stick to the tricks for your dogs, and teach them a spooky spin or a howling high five instead!

Door Manners? Not on Halloween!

Halloween is just not the night to have your dog free in the house interacting with your trick or treaters that come to your door. Create a safe “zen room” for your dog where they can be settled comfortably with a long-lasting chew behind a closed door. Also, consider adding a white noise machine or calming music to buffer out any external noise.

Another strategy is to set yourself up outside of your house to hand out the candy. This will help your dog be able to rest safely away from the action.

Remember! Keep your dog’s collar and ID on even when they are in the home, just to be safe in case the unexpected happens. With a little planning, Halloween can go off without a hitch for your dog.

Keep it your number one priority to ensure that your dog is feeling safe this Halloween season!

Have questions?

Saundra is always happy to chat. Reach out anytime!

Saundra Clow CTC, CSAT, SAPT, CPDT-KA, CTDI & Fear Free Certified Professional
Dog Trainer & Behaviour Consultant
BC SPCA AnimalKind Accredited
Saundra is a multi-certified dog trainer that specializes in treating separation anxiety and is available for virtual training worldwide. Does your dog struggle at home alone? Book a FREE 30-minute Discovery Call today!