Halloween is a night brimming with fun for everyone. But, amidst the eerie excitement, it’s easy for our canine companions to feel a little stressed—or get into something they shouldn’t. Using these simple Halloween dog safety tips, you can create a secure environment for your dog and prepare for any mishaps that might occur.
Part 1: Pre-Halloween
Let’s be real—Halloween prep happens well in advance of the actual holiday. Decorating, pumpkin carving, and costume shopping all need to be checked off the list before the big night rolls around. During this time, you should also use these Halloween dog tips to make your home as safe as it is spooky.
Tip 1: Choose Decorations Wisely
As dog owners, it’s important that we be mindful of the decorations we’re pulling out—and how likely our four-legged friends are to mess around with them. Any plug-in decorations should be placed with extra care, especially if your dog is a serial cord-chewer. Use the following steps to keep your dog away from those pesky power cords:
• Hide electrical cords where your dog can’t get them, like behind furniture.
• Use cable ties and hooks to run wires around doorframes or keep them flush against the wall.
• Use a taste deterrent spray to make the cords unpleasant to chew—just make sure your dog doesn’t actually enjoy the taste first!
You should also be careful about where you place lit candles. Some curious pups might try to sniff the flame and wind up with a singed snout. Or, if your dog tends to be a real bull in a china shop, they could knock the candles over and cause a fire—or a waxy mess. Put candles in places well out of reach or opt for fake tea lights instead.
Tip 2: Consider Their Costumes
Picking out a costume for yourself or your kids is entertaining. But finding the perfect get-up for your dog? That’s downright fun. At least, it’s fun for us. You shouldn’t force your dog to wear a costume that they’re clearly unhappy in, no matter how cute or silly they look. Some dog Halloween costumes may restrict their ability to move, see, or hear, which can be incredibly stressful. Others may have rubber bands or small pieces that could be choking hazards if chewed off.
Make sure you don’t spend a ton of money on a costume your dog hates by seeing how they feel about other garments first. If you’ve dressed them in a t-shirt or vest to protect them from hot or cold weather (and they don’t seem to mind it), find some gear that fits them in a similar way. If they really, really don’t like having anything on, stick with a festive collar or bandana instead.
Tip 3: Update Their Info
Your doors will be opening and closing a lot when trick-or-treaters come to visit, giving your dog plenty of chances to split. Make sure you’re ready for this situation by updating your dog’s identification tags. If your pup isn’t microchipped, you should consider this as well—there’s always a chance they could lose their collar or tags while they’re racing around in the night. Having multiple accurate forms of ID increases the chances that a friendly ghost will get your dog home safely.
Part 2: The Big Night
It’s the night we’ve all been waiting for! Time to flip on the porch light, fill the candy bucket, and suit up. But stay vigilant—Halloween dog safety is never more important than on trick-or-treat night.
Tip 4: Create a Scare-Free Zone
A bunch of weirdly dressed visitors approaching your door is bound to drive a protective or territorial dog a little bonkers. To help your dog stay sane (and avoid intimidating trick-or-treaters), keep them in a quiet area of your home away from the front door. DO NOT put your pet in the backyard, even if they have a nice doghouse to relax in. Halloween is a lot of fun, but some people use it as an excuse to be cruel to other people’s pets.
If your dog has issues with anxiety, consider these ideas for handling Halloween:
• Board your dog at a family member or friend’s house, or at a trusted pet boarding facility.
• Leave a “help yourself” candy bowl out for trick-or-treaters to minimize the amount of people approaching your door and making noise.
• Talk with your vet about ways to manage your dog’s anxiety, including medication.
• As much as it pains us to say it, you may also need to consider skipping the trick-or-treat festivities altogether. Halloween won’t be as fun if your pup is miserable the whole time!
Tip 5: Let ‘Em Sit This One Out
Taking dogs trick-or-treating sounds like a lot of fun, especially when they have a totally PAWesome costume. But unless your dog is calm on a leash and doesn’t mind bizarre-looking strangers walking all around him, it’s best if he stays home. Even if you’re driving, leaving your dog in a dark car over and over can be a stressful experience. Being safely at home and indoors may be the best option for your dog.
Tip 6: Stash Your Stash
This is the big one: keep your dog away from the candy you or your kids hauled home! As you probably know, chocolate can be toxic to dogs, and too much sugar will definitely lead to an upset stomach. And other unpleasant reactions like vomiting and diarrhea. Yuck.
Beyond the fact that chocolate and sugar are bad for dogs, the candy wrappers themselves can be dangerous. Most candies are wrapped in plastic or foil, which can cause intestinal blockage and even internal cuts. If your dog manages to gobble up some candy, make sure to call your vet or the ASPCA Poison Control Center. Until you can get the help you need, watch your dog carefully for abnormal behaviors like loss of coordination or seizures
Tip 7: Treats for Their Tricks
While your dog isn’t allowed to have the chocolate and sweets we enjoy, there are still tons of tantalizingly tasty treats for them to munch on safely. Keeping Halloween dog treats handy will help ensure that your pup keeps their nose out of the candy dish—and make trick-or-treat night extra special for them, too.
Halloween dog bones are perfect for festively treating your pet—no trip to the graveyard needed! The Milk-Bone® MaroSnacks® Halloween treat tub is brimming with dog snacks that are perfect for pups of all sizes. They’re also made with real bone marrow, so they’re as wholesome as they are delicious.
Want to get the whole neighborhood in on the fun? Pass out Halloween dog treats for all the creepy canines on the block by setting up a separate bowl just for them. Even if the local dogs aren’t out trick-or-treating, their humans can pick up a Milk-Bone® Mini’s Trick or Treat Pack to bring home. These Halloween dog treat bags let you indulge your pet with a controlled portion of biscuits that they know and love.
Looking for even more options to turn a tricky night into a real treat? Follow our tips and check out the rest of our selection—and have a Happy HOWLoween!