Halloween Guide: How To Keep Your Dog Calm During Halloween

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Here is an honest article on dogs and Halloween. In this article, we will present the cons and pros of taking your dog with you to trick-or-treating.

For some dogs, Halloween is indeed the scariest time of the year.

With Halloween just around the corner dog owners, and pet owners in general, do their best to plan this event around their pet’s needs.

You may have a Rottweiler who just loves pranks and sees nothing unusual about all the noise and fuzz, while on the other hand, your Pomeranian might be really reluctant to let anyone get any candy.

On the other hand, you might have a Siberian Husky or Rhodesian Ridgeback who finds candy, wrapping papers, and broken eggs too stressful that they may refuse to leave the house all day, which is why they may choose to stay in the bathtub the whole day.

Although Halloween can be fun for you, your dog may dislike it, and that is OK.

Dogs are individual begins and some are more fond of noise, while others prefer to have a very quiet and peaceful environment.

Did you know that many candles are very much toxic to dogs? Or that adorable pet costumes can be very uncomfortable, or even unsafe?

Or that cute decoration may tempt pets and expose them to not only dangerous but life-threatening situations as well?

To help you and your dog have fun while being safe, we have created this Halloween guide that will help you are your dog have an amazing Halloween. Keep on reading.

First… Keep Treats Out of Reach

Full bowls of candy are tempting for both humans and dogs. For dogs, anything that people eat they see as a big deal.

In their lovely heads it is as if you are eating the best thing in the entire world, even if you are just enjoying a piece of fresh cucumber.

Dogs are massive foodies, and they would have a taste of probably anything, but that doesn’t mean that they should.

Know which human food is bad for dogs and which can bring nutritional benefits.

In other words, know that some human foods are very dangerous and heavily poisonous to dogs, such as human chocolate.

Majority of human candies contain xylitol an ingredient that is fatal for dogs.

This ingredient is mostly present in sugar-free candies that actually contain xylitol.

Know that when it comes to this ingredient you should not experiment with it, as even the slightest amount of xylitol can be fatal not only to dogs but to cats as well.

That being said, it is fair to expect that majority of Halloween candies actually do contain xylitol.

If you think that your dog might eat candies, make sure that you monitor him closely and contact your veterinarian.

Since chocolate is very dangerous to dogs, be vary of chocolate, especially dark or baked chocolates.

A tiny piece of milk chocolate should not create some major disturbances in dogs.

On the other hand, if your dog ingests a huge amount of any chocolate type, make sure that you contact your veterinarian on time.

Luckily, there are many pet-safe Halloween recipes that you can bake for your dog to enjoy safely.

Pet Costumes Can Be Dangerous

We know – dogs look adorable in their costumes, but in most cases, they are not suitable for pets in general.

Costumes are primarily made to fit humans, which is why they are primarily made for people and not pets.

As such, Halloween costumes are usually uncomfortable for dogs.

Costumes need to fit properly without limited movement, any breath-related issues, or rubbing anywhere that might create sores of similar reactions.

Dogs cannot tell us when they are uncomfortable with certain costumes, which is why you should focus on the dog’s body language.

Since canines cannot speak to humans they will use their body language to communicate their wants and their unhappiness.

If you see that your dog is really uncomfortable with his costume, make sure that you release him from his role.

When bored or anyhow upset dogs might become destructive. As such, they may act unexpectedly and might even chew off and ingest a portion of the costume.

As result, this simple move may cause intestinal obstructions or other emergency conditions.

If you insist on your dog wearing a costume, and your dog is fine (and calm!) on being handled that way make sure that costume fits him 100%.

Make sure that you supervise your dog the entire time he wears the costume.

To test it, leave it on for some time, and then remove the costume. After a while trying to place it again on your dog.

If Fido takes a step back, removes the costume once you turn your back, and shows any sign of not wanting to wear a costume, make sure that you do not force him.

Decorations Should Be Placed Safely

Halloween isn’t a Halloween when there is no proper decoration around.

In fact, decorations are usually the most appealing thing about Halloween.

They are interested even in dogs, which is why you should approach this part of the famous holiday carefully.

Dogs are curious begins and they will search for the next best meal. As you may know already, this may lead to some mild-to-serious problems.

One of the most overlooked worries related to Halloween decorations is an open flame.

In other words, if your Fido jumps up near a pumpkin with a candle (no matter how big) inside, it is certainly possible for it to start a fire.

If this happens your dog might bur his paws, feet, and fur, or just create a potential for the dangerous flame.

Make sure that any sort of open flames is stored high and away.

Dogs are curious begins and they will do their best to explore every corner of your home when they notice that something fun is happening.

Any type of decoration that may contain wires, can be chewed on.

Mouth burns are also very common, especially in puppies who in general tend to bite cords.

Many items tend to be stuck in the intestinal tract after being consumed, especially longer decorations that are based on a string, such as spider webs.

To keep your Fido safe from this type of decoration make sure that you keep all the decorations up high and far from your dog’s reach.

Can Dogs Be Scared Of Halloween Decorations?

Some dogs can really be scared of Halloween decorations. In general, some dogs may be scared of things that are new to them or novel.

Important: If your dog lives outside, make sure that you bring him indoors.

Unrecognizable costumes, possible fireworks, harsh and strange noises flashy costumes, heavy vehicle traffic… It all can easily overwhelm dogs and lead to undesirable moments.

Halloween festivities can easily cause anxiety in all animals, not only dogs, and trigger heavy fear.

Halloween Safety Tips For Dog Owners

The tips listed above should help you keep your dog safe on Halloween, or at least inspire you to think about additional precautions.

Still, to make this festivity as safe as possible for your dog, let’s make a quick run through common most common hazards that are Halloween-related:

  • Chocolate
  • Candies
  • Costumes, both for humans and dogs
  • Gum
  • Raisins
  • Candy wrappers
  • Flashlights
  • Glow sticks

Do Your Best To Keep Anxious Dogs Calm During Halloween

Halloween causes stress in many dogs. Even the calmest and chill dogs tend to get disturbed by so many events around them.

If your dog is in general prone to anxiety you can expect additional stress during the Halloween time.

In sensitive dogs, even a doorbell might be a stressful move. The constant bell rings, and trick-or-treaters continually coming and going, can only add to more stress, confusion, and negative thoughts.

This may be normal for you, but it may be frightening to your dogs.

Plus, the constant opening and closing of the door may present a perfect opportunity for a scared dog to run through the door.

This may result in different scenarios, and in many frightening consequences.

To avoid any potentially harmful scenario, and losing your dog you should provide a private safe zone.

This may sound complicated but in reality the simpler the solution the more effective outcome.

You can turn on the TV, or just play some calming music in the background.

Sound should calm dogs and provide them with a tone of calmness that might distract them from business within the house.

Play any sound that could mask the sounds of the doorbell ringing, or any harsh and unusual noises that might be linked with Halloween activities and festivities.

Know that a stressed animal will prefer being in a quiet place and left out of the festivities.

Does this mean that a boarding kennel for the night should be an option? Yes, it does, especially if you expect many visitors.

In all cases, make sure that you do your best to minimize the stress the evening might cause and minimize all the Irish related to escape.

Ensure Pet IDs and Collars Are Updated

Is your Fido microchipped? If you have missed doing this so far, make it a priority on your list. This will not only keep your dog safe, but this is what responsible dog ownership is all about.

You may be the best dog alive and your dog may still get lost, for different reasons.

When the holiday season kicks in, we have to acknowledge that during this season there is a higher-than-average risk of your dog escaping when doors are continually opening or closing.

To prevent any unsafe runaway, your Fido should have a collar with current and updated contact information so they can quickly return home.

This period is also a great time to have that microchip data updated.

Halloween is a fun season, but it still may create a lot of fear and frustration in dogs.

To keep this at its minimum it is essential to stay calm and prepare your dog well for the occasion.

Luckily, there are ways to implement just listed ways your Fido will remain safe and inside.

What About Candy Wrappers?

Toxicity with candies doesn’t stop there.

Everything candy-related should be something to be mindful of. That being said, you should know that wrappers can also be an issue.

Not only that they may be made out of toxic and hazardous materials, but dogs may chew them and swallow them.

Wrappers are easy to digest and as such, they may become lodged in a dog’s throat or even the intestinal tract, which may result in surgery.

Since dogs are individual creatures they still may end up in mischievous scenarios, which is why it helps to have pet insurance or at least some partial insurance as it may help you tremendously if an accident happens during the Holiday season.

All in all, wrappers that are foil or even cellophane always have the potential to result in gastrointestinal irritation.

Do Dogs Enjoy Halloween?

Yes, it is the Halloween season, cannot wait to dress up! – said no dog ever.

Dogs do not like being handled, just like that they do not like hugs, or being forced to wear clothes.

Yes, they will enjoy the attention, but overall Halloween experience can be stressful and even dangerous to dogs.

Dressing up your dog for Halloween might delight you, but your dog is less likely to be amused.

Extra doorbells, people wearing unusual and shiny items, dogs being forced to wear clothes… All in all, it feels like too much for them.

Again, they may enjoy the attention temporarily, but overall they will see this holiday as stressful and nothing special to enjoy.

Do dogs enjoy wearing Halloween costumes? Most likely no.

Yes, Labradors and other breeds may look super adorable, but imprisoning their bodies with uncomfortable and unfitting clothes can even be cruel.

If you really, really, really want to dress up your dog think about adding an accessory to the dog’s leash or something that your dog seems fitting.

Some dogs have to wear sweaters because they don’t have hair or undercoat, or suffer from certain medical conditions, and making the sweater look more Halloween, in that case, should be OK if your dog tolerates it. Otherwise, less is more.

Dressing Dogs in Halloween Costumes

As mentioned above, it is more likely that your Fido dislikes being dressed up, or even everything Halloween- related. However, if you insist on dressing your dog you need to be mindful of safety.

When it comes to finding the right Halloween costume for your dog you focus on finding costumes that are specially made for pets.

Are they 100% safe? Not necessarily. Different ribbons, buttons, beads, and various snaps can all be intestinal hazards.

As a general rule, you should avoid purchasing costumes for dogs that have any sort of dangling parts or even pieces that can be easily chewed off.

Plus, costumes on dogs can easily result in overheating, impaired vision, and even trouble breathing.

Avoid any costumes that cover the dog’s face, or stand fixed around the dog’s neck or chest.

Another important step is to never leave your dog alone while he is wearing clothes or any sort of decorative items.

Be mindful of glow sticks and glow jewelry as your dog might try to grab them to play with.

Any item that looks like a toy should be carefully monitored when around dogs. Plus, glowing content may be ingested, or even cause mouth pain, middle to strong irritation, or even excessive salivation.

Be extra careful when it comes to candles and flashlights.

Use candles with extra care, as wagging tails and curious noses can knock down items and lead to injuries or other possibly harmful and devastating outcomes.

General tips regarding pet costumes:

  • Always aim to find a safe outfit
  • Make a safe introduction between dog and pet costumes
  • Give your dog some time to get used to the costume
  • Never leave your dog unattended in a costume

Monitor Your Dog Carefully

No matter how calm your dog might be, you should still monitor him closely.

Even the best-behaved dogs may experience fear and react suddenly, out of fear. This is how accidents happen.

To prevent any unpleasant situation, do your best to monitor your dog closely and do your best to keep him safe.

Make sure that your dog is well-trained and under control as you open the door for trick-or-treaters.

Should You Take Your Dog Trick or Treating?

You are maybe used to taking your dog with you on jogging or hiking adventures, but what about a Halloween walk?

Do you want to include your dog in Halloween festivities as a yearly tradition, or do you want it more to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience?

For both options, you should know that it is best to keep your dog indoors to prevent them from being spooked for different reasons.

If you decide to stroll down the street during Halloween, make sure that you keep your dog on a leash no matter what.

This is not only a mandatory part of responsible dog ownership, but it is also a great way to keep your dog safe.

Double-check if your dog’s microchip data is up to date, and if you notice any unusual behavior in your dog, take him home.

Search For the Warning Signs

Knowing your dog in calm situations will help you recognize when your dog is under some sort of stress. That being said, make sure that you monitor your during the Halloween season for the following signs:

  • Tail tucking
  • Pacing
  • Withdrawal
  • Shaking
  • Slow movementnt
  • Refusing treats
  • Yawning
  • Panting
  • Lip licking

It is also common for dogs to try to escape when they are scared of something.

To get your dog back in a short period, make sure that he has an ID tag on and is microchipped with data up-to-date.

How Do I Calm My Dog Down For Halloween?

Halloween can be stressful for your dog.

No matter how calm and peaceful your dog might be in general, your pooch can still experience stressful Halloween-related moments.

When Halloween starts, your dog might feel anxious, scared, and even confused.

Not all dogs can easily deal with exciting children hitting that doorbell every minute… What can you do to help your dog have a peaceful and calm Halloween night?

The most important step is to keep your dog as comfortable as possible – this means that you should primarily keep your dog away from windows and even the front door, and get his favorite blanket in a quiet area.

Not only that this ‘safe area’ should be comfortable, but it should also be fun.

gIn other words, make sure that your dog has their favorite toys on him, with a nice chewing toy on.

Next to this, here are some extra tricks that you can try to help your Fido deal with Halloween:

1. Pressure Wrap

Pressure wraps are something that dog owners of anxious dogs often use. This is something that you should have on hand, especially if your dog is scared of win, or thunder, or has any sort of anxiety.

Pressure wraps are designed to apply constant pressure to your dog’s body – resulting in a calming effect. This should help your dog feel safer and more secure.

If it helps dogs deal with thunder noise and even fireworks, it should help dogs go through Halloween easier as well.

2. CBD Oil

CBD oil is something that is really on the rise, in both the human and canine worlds.

CBD oil is a natural substance that is found in the hemp plant. This plant isn’t something new, but a rather ancient plant used for thousands of years for most medical purposes.

One of the biggest medical benefits of using this plant is anxiety relief.

Important: CBD oil comes from the same source as marijuana, but unlike marijuana, it doesn’t have the THC that actually provides that high feeling.

CBD oil works to naturally calm and even soothe anxiety in dogs. Equally, CBD oil should also soothe stress in dogs.

When it comes to offering CBD oil to your dog make sure that you are mindful of CBD oil dosage and always follow instructions on the bottle.

CBD oil is very practical as it may be given directly in the dog’s mouth or mixed with the dog’s food.

3. Classical Music

Just like humans, dogs enjoy calming sounds.

You have probably noticed how dogs run after cars, motorbikes, or even bicycles, and there is a reason for that.

Dogs have much stronger hearing than humans do, and what may be a gentle sound to you, may tremendously fall hard on your dog’s ears.

This is why calm music, especially classical, can be soothing. Test it, perfectly before Halloween (or any holiday) season begins.

Bear in mind that classical music may be great for the majority of dogs, while some may still find peace in pop or hard rock sounds.

Just like humans, dogs may have genre preferences or even song preferences, which is why finding the perfect sound for your dog is important.

Experiment with different music to see what your dog finds relaxing.

Pro tip: Even if your dog finds peace in classical music, you should not always play the same music. Mix it, but stick to the genre that your dog enjoys.

To Sum Up

All in all, know that Halloween can be extremely stressful for dogs for a different reasons.

In general, just like humans, dogs are individual creatures with needs of their own.

What may work for one dog, doesn’t have to work necessarily for another one.

In a similar manner, while some dogs may enjoy going trick or treat, others may be super scared and prefer the solitude of their home.

Be mindful of your dog’s needs and do what is in your power to keep your Fido primarily safe and calm.