Halloween is coming up! Time for ghosts, witches, candy, and, of course, finding the perfect costume for our dogs. While Halloween can be a lot of fun, for dogs, it can be scary. Here are 5 ways to ensure that you and your four-legged monster have a safe and happy Halloween.
Begin to show your dog your costume a few weeks before Halloween. If you are wearing a mask, wig, or something else that covers or changes your face, practice putting it on and taking it off in front of your dog while you toss them treats. This way, when you wear it on Halloween, your pup will be used to it and not wonder what ghost is haunting their home!
Have lots of treats with you when you walk your dog outside past Halloween decorations. A flickering jack o’lantern or mummy that wasn’t there yesterday can be startling. Give your dog some treats when they see the decoration, and then (without totally trespassing) move a little closer as you give treats. If your dog is taking treats and feeling more at ease, take them all the way to the Halloween decoration, let them check it out for a few seconds and then walk away. Just don’t force them if they aren’t comfortable. It may take a few tries to get close or you may have to stay a few feet away. That’s okay! The goal isn’t to get your dog to love the decorations. We just want to make them a little less scary.
Costumes on dogs are adorable, but they can also cover up their ears, tails, and other parts of their body that dogs use to communicate, which can make dogs uncomfortable and unsure about what other pups are thinking. When going to dog costume contests, keep dogs on leash and refrain from leash greetings and/or keep them short. My favorite dog costumes are the ones that don’t cover the head or tails, but make dogs feel more secure by wrapping snuggly around their body like a hot dog costume or a sports jersey. Capes can also be fun!
On Halloween, make sure your dog has a ton of exercise before it’s time for trick or treaters. If your dog is on the anxious side, avoid walking them when everyone will be out trick or treating. If your dog is going to be home with you while trick or treaters come, make sure your dog is not right at the door when they arrive. You can teach them to stay on their bed while getting the door or just keep them tethered or behind a gate with some good long chews. If your dog is going to be home, but you are not, put a sign on your door asking trick or treaters not to ring the bell and leave a basket of candy in front of your door instead.
Maybe the best part of Halloween is the excuse it gives you to eat as much candy as you want! However, before you have a sugar crash, make sure you keep candy far out of reach for even the most determined labs and hounds!
Halloween is fun for us and our dogs, but it can be equally as scary. These easy steps to prep for the big night will make all the difference. You will both have a monster mashing good time! Happy Howleen!