How to Make Halloween a Safe and Spooktacular Dog-Friendly Occasion

Nothing is more fun than involving your loved ones—even your furry ones—in the seasonal festivities. Halloween is the perfect excuse to dress up your dog in a cute outfit or simply enjoy a party with you. Here are some fun ideas for you and Fido to celebrate Halloween safely.

Safety at Home

Halloween and fun are nearly synonymous, yet there can be some real risks for your dog during this haunted holiday. If you have little ones who will be trick-or-treating at home, or you have a stash of candy ready for trick-or-treaters coming to your door, you need to be on the lookout for stray candy. Many candies are toxic and deadly to dogs. Anything with a wrapper is a choking hazard, and xylitol can kill. You also want to ensure that Fido doesn’t make a break for it when trick-or-treaters come knocking at the door. This could require crating, or simply keeping them in another room. If they are particularly nervous pups, you could turn your doorbell off, and have someone simply waiting to hand out candy at the door itself.

Have Fun Dressing Up

Before you buy a costume for your pet, make sure they can tolerate dressing up before you waste your money. Put them in some other clothes to see how they react. You can train them to, well, endure it, but if your dog really hates it, skip the costume. You could go as Dorothy and Toto, which doesn’t require a costume at all for your pooch.

If Fido is clothes-friendly, there are as many costumes to pick from as there are dogs. You could go as Batman and Wonder Woman, or any other superhero combo. Dress your pup up in police uniform and go as a criminal. If you want something unique and personal, you can always get crafty and make a costume. You could transform them into a unicorn, or even a sandwich. Get cute and dress up your pup as the Big Bad Wolf from Red Riding Hood by slapping on a wig, some glasses and even a nightie.

Prepare for Nighttime Walks

Nighttime walks can be dangerous for dogs, and going trick-or-treating, or heading to a party, is no exception. You can make it safer by getting the right walking gear for Fido. A reflective dog leash, harness or collar all help increase visibility, especially from cars. You can clip some blinking lights, or even bike lights, to your little monster’s collar or harness, or perhaps incorporate them into the costume. Identification tags will be a necessity on Halloween, so make sure your info is updated.

If you are walking a long distance or anywhere that won’t be well-lit, choose a costume for yourself that is light, not dark. Avoid retractable leashes at night, as these can be a danger in the dark and are not reflective. Before you even consider taking your pup out at night, make sure that they are a good daytime walker. They need to listen to you and be responsive to everything you say. If they pull, ignore commands or suddenly run and tug you along, maybe reconsider taking your dog with you until they master good behavior.

Socialize, Socialize, Socialize

Halloween is a night of absolute chaos. Wonderfully fun chaos, but chaos nonetheless. To ensure your dog is ready for this added stress, socialize them well in advance. If possible, introduce them to people and children in costumes before Halloween, so it is not a big shock that night. In a perfect world, Fido wouldn’t be out past sunset during this somewhat scary time. However, if Fido is particularly calm, he may just be OK later at night, especially if you’re simply heading to a specific destination. This is not the best time to practice greeting strangers, so tell any enthusiastic children that any other day would be good for pets, but tonight. Your dog needs a little space.

Make this season fun for everyone including your fur friend. Dress up and prepare well for any time spent out on the town in the dark. You and the whole crew can have a blast this Halloween.

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