With costumes, decorations and an abundance of tempting treats, Halloween, or howl-o-ween (see what we did there?), is a time for spooky festivities. However, it can be a challenging and potentially stressful time for our furry friends.
This guide is here to help you and your loyal four-legged friend have an enjoyable, spooky Halloween with no nasty shocks or surprises.
Secure the Sweets
As we all know, we are not the only ones with a sweet tooth. Given half the chance, almost any dog will gobble up any chocolates or sweets they can reach, and it’s a similar story with dogs and ice cream, too!
Chocolate is poisonous to dogs due to the presence of theobromine and caffeine, which belong to a class of chemicals called methylxanthines. While these substances may naturally occur in cacao beans from which chocolate is often made, humans can process these chemicals.
Because dogs process the substances found in chocolate much slower than humans, these chemicals can accumulate in their bodies to toxic levels. Therefore, all sweets should be kept safely out of reach of preying paws.
Finally, consider purchasing approved Halloween dog treats and even look for a local dog friendly pumpkin patch to ensure your loyal friend does not miss out on all the fun.
During trick-or-treating hours, it’s best to keep your dog in a quieter and secure room away from the front door, as you may expect many spooky visitors.
Frequent visitors in costumes can be stressful for dogs, which could make some dogs understandably anxious.
Our very own vet Tom Rhind-Tutt added…
Chocolate isn’t the only toxin posing a danger; certain sweeteners such as xylitol and raisins, too, and all the decorations pose a hazard for a dog who loves to chew and swallow things they shouldn’t.
Dog Halloween Costumes
It’s not just us humans getting dressed up for Halloween. Some dog parents dress their pets in adorable dog Halloween costumes. However, if you want to dress your furry friend in a costume, ensure it does not restrict their movement, breathing, or vision. Also, look for small costume parts that they may chew and potentially swallow.
While carving and lighting pumpkins is a classic family pastime at Halloween, be aware that they can pose a hazard to curious dogs and, in particular, curious younger pups once a pumpkin is lit with a candle.
We highly recommend safer battery-operated candles, which can generate the same brilliant spooking glowing effect.
ID and Microchipping
With increased visitors at the front door, your dog may get spooked. This is yet another reason why your dog should ideally be kept in a secure room. Remind any friends or family staying with you to ensure your dog is kept safely inside the property.
Remember that it is also a legal requirement for dogs to be microchipped for added safety and security. For more information on microchipping, visit our guide, Pet Microchipping: What Dog & Cat Owners Need To Know.
and run off. If your dog does get spooked and makes a run for it, ensuring that they are microchipped will significantly increase the chances of a safe return.
If you plan on heading out with your dog trick-or-treating, ensure that you keep your pooch safely on the lead, especially when unfamiliar costumes and decorations may make your pooch anxious.
Remember that each dog is unique, and what may be stressful for one might not be for another. Pay attention to your dog’s body language and behaviour to gauge their comfort level and prioritise their well-being during the Halloween festivities.