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How Dogs REALLY Feel About Halloween (and How to Prep Them)

Dog and family trick or treating costumes

As Halloween approaches, the excitement in the air is palpable.

People don costumes, decorate their homes with eerie allure, and eagerly anticipate the sweet treasures of the night.

But amid the revelry, it's important to consider our furry friends' perspective on this peculiar holiday.

As much as we think our furry friends LOVE Halloween as much as us humans, the truth may shock you…

For us humans, the spooky ambiance of Halloween is a delightful change of pace from the norm, but for our pets, it can be a bewildering and potentially dangerous experience.

Thankfully, there are precautions pet owners can take to ensure their beloved companions feel secure during this spirited season.

Dog trick or treat costume

Dressing Up Dogs for Halloween

Every year, millions of pet owners get excited to share the halloween spirit with their cats and dogs in whimsical costumes.

While this may seem like harmless fun, it's vital to remember that not all pets appreciate the attire.

Dr. Rachel Malamed, a veterinarian and veterinary behaviorist, advises against dressing up pets without their consent. Some dogs may find it stressful, especially those who are sensitive to handling.

When considering dressing your dog for Halloween, here’s a few things to remember:

  • Choose safe outfits: Ensure costumes have secure Velcro fastenings and avoid buttons, drawstrings, or elastic that could be chewed or swallowed. There should be no loose, dangling parts.

  • Familiarize your pet with the costume: Allow your pet to get comfortable with the costume by putting it on for short periods leading up to Halloween.

  • Avoid leaving your pet unattended: If the costume has parts that could be ingested or hinder your pet's movement, it's crucial not to leave them alone while dressed up.

Dog and children tricker treating

Humans in Halloween Costumes

While dressing up ourselves is a cherished Halloween tradition, it's important to consider how it might affect our furry loved ones.

Dogs rely on human facial expressions to interpret our body language, making costumes with masks particularly problematic for them.

Should You Take Your Dog Trick or Treating?

If you plan to involve your dog in Halloween festivities, you might wonder whether to take them trick-or-treating or stay at home to welcome costumed visitors. You may want to keep pets indoors during trick-or-treating hours to prevent spooking them.

If you do venture out, always keep your dog on a leash and under the control of a responsible adult.

Pets, even those typically calm, can become anxious due to the crowds and unusual attired. Do your best to create a structured environment for your dog's interactions with visitors.

This can include asking your dog to perform commands for treats, making the situation more predictable and positive.

Dog and pumpkin halloween

Read the Warning Signs

Pets can display fear in various ways, so be vigilant for signs of discomfort, such as tail tucking, ear retraction, pacing, or withdrawal. In the event of fear, ensure your dog has proper identification and is microchipped with up-to-date contact information.

Can Dogs Eat Halloween Candy and Other Treats?

While humans enjoy Halloween sweets, not all treats are safe for dogs. Chocolate poses a significant risk, and its toxicity increases with the darkness of the chocolate and the size of the dog. Other forbidden treats include candy wrappers, which may lead to ingestion issues, and xylitol, a sweetener that is highly toxic to dogs.

Holiday Decorations Are Dangerous Temptations

Halloween decorations can captivate curious pets, but they can also be dangerous. Items like corncobs and pumpkins can obstruct airways or digestive tracts if ingested, while candles pose a risk of burns to dogs. Exercise caution to prevent your pet from accessing harmful decorations.

In conclusion, while Halloween is a time of joy and enchantment for humans, it can be bewildering and potentially perilous for our dogs. By taking appropriate precautions and being mindful of their comfort and safety, you can ensure that your beloved pets have a safe and enjoyable Halloween.