Keeping Dogs Safe on Halloween
Fall is here; the air is cooler and crisper, days are getting shorter.
But fall also reminds us of another thing: Halloween is here.
Don’t be scared. Many children enjoy dressing up as their favorite monster or hero or whimsical creature and going trick-or-treating, and adults enjoy opening their doors and giving treats to the throngs of smiling children.
But what do you do with your dog during trick-or-treat prime time?
Even friendly dogs can get stressed over a 2-to-3 hour period of nearly constant activity at the door. So what should you do?
Leaving your dog outside isn’t a good option. Unfortunately, far too many cases of animal cruelty occur on Halloween evening. There’s also the risk that well-meaning children might give your dog a piece of chocolate, candy or something else that’s not good for dogs.
You could put a costume on your dog and have the kids take him along. But many dogs get stressed in a costume. If you want to do that, make sure the dog is used to the costume and enjoys wearing it. It should allow him to move freely and not inhibit his ability to pant or bark. Also make sure your child is old enough to recognize when the dog is getting tired or annoyed.
If your dog is very social, you can have him go to the door with you. But remember: there will be a lot of strange looking, noisy people on the front porch, which can unnerve even the friendliest dog. Another concern is that a large dog or one that barks a lot might frighten some children.
If all else fails, put him away in a quiet, safe location.
The best answer for most dog owners is to enclose your dog in a part of the house far away from the front door. If your dog is crate-trained, putting him in his crate will be a good solution. He has learned that he is safe there and it will represent a cozy haven for him.
If your dog is unaccustomed to being shut off from the family, make sure he has a treat or a favorite toy. It’s important he realizes he isn’t being punished.
Also, with the door opening and closing so much, there’s a greater chance your dog can slip out. If you let him out for a potty break, there’s a chance the gate might be open and your dog can get out that way, so make sure your dog has a tag with name and your contact information.
Halloween can be fun for children and adults, and with a little planning on your part, it can be fun—or at least less stressful—for your dog as well.