Dog Care 101 Tip #187 – Dog Comfort & Safety on Halloween

If you live in a neighborhood in America, the night of October 31st is busy! All Hallow’s Eve is night full of great costumes, flashy yard ornaments and maybe a future cavity or two. However, knows Halloween can still be spooky and scary for some family members, particularly your dog. So whether you decide to stay in or go out, here are a few tips on keeping your pooch calm and safe.

Staying In
If you decide to stay in and hand out yummy goodies to trick-or-treaters, make sure your dog isn’t frazzled by the end of the night from frequent doorbell rings or door knocks. Here are some handy tips to work on ahead of time.

The Doorbell: Teach your dog to stay quiet when the doorbell rings by having a friend stand outside and ring the doorbell or knock. If your dog starts to bark, give them the “quiet” command and as soon as the barking stops, treat and praise your dog. Over time your dog will equate the doorbell with receiving treats and barking will become less and less.

Kid-Friendly: If your dog isn’t well socialized with children, make sure you keep your dog away from the open door. Halloween isn’t the time to learn. However, you should introduce your dog to children slowly and by giving him positive reinforcement, your dog will become kid friendly in no time. But remember, even dogs that are very kid-friendly can still be overwhelmed on a very kid-centric holiday like Halloween.

Simple Commands: It’s always good to remember the simple things like “sit”, “stay” and “leave it”. Work with these commands more than normal leading up to the 31st to reinforce your dog’s ability to take commands.

In A Costume
You’ve found the most adorable Halloween Costume for Fido, but Fido seems a bit unsure. Here are few ways to keep Fido looking awesome but saying comfortable. Halloween shouldn’t be the first time your dog tries on his costume. If you sense your dog is unsure about the weird straps, hats or velcro,  chances are Fido needs some time to warm up to the idea.

1. Proximity to the costume is a good way to get the idea of dressing up in your dog’s head. Laying the costume next to your pet, watch their reaction. If they sniff at it, they’re showing interest. This may not mean they’ll be comfortable wearing the outfit just yet, but encouragement with treats and praise will help your dog come closer.

2. If your dog shows interest and seems comfortable being around the costume, drape the costume over your dog for a few seconds. This is done with out putting anything on! Repeat laying it on and taking it off your dog. This helps your dog become comfortable with having something against their body.

3. The final step is putting the costume on. If your dog has seemed comfortable throughout the process so far, drape the costume over your dog once more. Do something to divert your dog’s attention away from the costume like a treat. Carefully strap your dog into his costume while giving plenty of encouragement. You might have to repeat this step a few times until your dog is 100% relaxed in his costume. Put the costume on your dog for increasingly longer and longer periods of time, giving praise and treats galore. Remember not to rush any of these steps and make your training sessions short. Don’t give up and stick with it!

It’s important to note, that if your dog just isn’t into the costume, don’t force your dog to wear it. Also, make sure your dog is actually comfortable. Annoying straps that constrict movement or make it hard to breathe are not good! A festive bow or bandana might be a better option. Make sure your dog can’t chew off pieces of their costume that might be chocking hazards.

minnie mouseOut & About
If you’re planning to go out with your pet this Halloween, follow these tried and true tips!

1. NO TREATS FOR FIDO! No chocolate or sugary treats are good for Fido. Both of these are toxic for your pup!

2. Decorative Halloween items like pumpkins and decorative dried corn aren’t toxic to dogs, but can cause tummy issues for your dog.

3. Electrical cords and wires from yard ornaments should be kept out of the reach of your pet.

4. Watch your pumpkins! Carved pumpkins with candles placed inside pose a potential fire hazard if knocked over.

5. When you are walking out and about on Halloween night. Make sure you dog is seen. Use a light up collar, leash, or collar light to ensure your dog’s safety. Always make sure your dog’s IDs are on and up to date! hopes you have a wonderful and safe Halloween with your whole family! Happy Howl-O-Ween!

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