Keeping Halloween Safe and Fun for Your Canine Pal

In this blog, Arden goes over ways to keep your dog feeling spooktacular during Halloween! During COVID, many of our dogs adapted to us covering our noses and mouths with protective face masks. Their astute senses of smell enabled them to identify us with just one sniff.

But now as we return to pre-COVID traditions, they face a new challenge: Halloween parties, trick-or-treaters and yes, people in costumes.

I unleash these tips to ensure Halloween does not feel like “howl-i-ween” for your dogs:

  • Don’t add to your dog’s stress during this holiday by forcing her to wear a costume. Heed your dog’s body signals now to verify if she is a look-at-me clothes hound or if she regards being in costume as a cruel trick. Emma, my very social poodle-chihuahua mix, grins and displays full-body wiggles of delight when wearing a pirate hat. However, Kona, my terrier mix, froze in place, tucked her ears and tail and lip licked when I fitted her with a cowboy costume. She clearly prefers sticking with her collar and ID tags for Halloween. 
  • Select pet costumes that do not contain any small buttons or items your dog may swallow and choke on. Look for ones with Velcro closures and are fire retardant.
  • Make sure the costume fits. It should not impact your dog’s ability to walk, see, eat and yes, potty. It shouldn’t be too snug to impede your dog’s ability to breathe and it shouldn’t be too large or loose to cause your dog to trip.
  • Stage door-bell ringing rehearsals before Halloween. Social, well-trained dogs who alert bark and then sit on cue may enjoy joining you as you greet trick-or-treaters. But if door bell ringing and delivery people walking up your steps cause your dog to flee and hide, or heighten his turf-protective mindset, opt for Plan B. Usher your dog before the trick-or-treaters arrive into a bedroom or other room you can close the door. Make sure the room contains a comfy bed, a keep-busy food puzzle, maybe a favorite toy and water. Block out the holiday noise by turning on a television in the room or a sound machine.
  • Monitor the candy bowl at all times. Watch out for two ingredients in the candy: the theobromine inside chocolate and the xylitol in sugar-free treats. Dogs gobbling up chocolate may vomit, have diarrhea, experience tremors and racing heart rates. Xylitol ingestion is worse. Depending on a dog’s health and physical size, swallowing just one stick of sugar-free gum can cause death. 
  • Don’t be a litter bug. Dogs can choke from swallowing foiled candy wrappers.
  • Opt for battery-operated candles in pumpkins inside of real candles to prevent your dog from getting burned. 
  • Exercise your dog physically and mentally before night fall to allow your dog to unleash some of his energy. 

On behalf of my Furry Brady Bunch, I wish you and your cool canines a spooktacular – and safe – Halloween!

Arden Moore is the founder of Pet First Aid 4U, a best-selling author and host of the nationally syndicated radio show, Arden Moore’s Four Legged Life. Visit www.ardenmoore.com.