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Halloween Survival Guide: How to Keep Your Dog Safe!

Halloween is one of my favorite times of year! The fall colors, the spooky decorations, the ghost stories, and the candy all combine to make the perfect celebration to send off summer. Lurking behind those ghouls and goblins are some real dangers for your dog. Keeping your dog safe throughout Halloween can be a bit tricky, but if done right, the season can be a real treat for your dog too! Here are a few little tips and tricks to help you survive the Halloween battlefield.

We have always lived in small-town USA. It’s not quite a blink-and-you-miss-it town but close. No one trick-or-treats in the town, so we need to travel to the village to find houses close enough together. When our kids were little, both two and four legged varieties. We would dress them all up, pile into the minivan, and hit the village streets HARD. We would walk door to door for hours amongst other screaming children, dogs, and sometimes very rude teenagers; all on the hunt for free candy. People forget themselves too, no one remembers to ask to pet your dog, and candy is dropped and left on the side of the road. Everyone had a ball…except me! Between worrying about losing my kids and keeping my dogs in line I HATED it! It got to the point where I just bought my kids a few bags of candy and said here! No more worries! Halloween is AMAZING! Trick-or-treating is a war zone!

Prevent Door Dashing

keeping your dogs safely contained is important on Halloween.

Handing out candy is a well-respected Halloween tradition and I give kudos to those who spend hundreds of dollars on candy for no other reason than to give it away. But Fifi doesn’t understand. At best she gets excited over the deluge of visitors and wants to great everyone. The fact is you don’t know how she is going to react to all the excitement. Running off or even biting a child are all potential outcomes with dire consequences. Keeping a gate on the outside of your door will still allow her to see everyone but will keep her safely confined.

Make Costumes Reflect

Reflective elements on costumes help make your dog visible on the darkest Halloween nights.

So many things can go wrong when you have your dogs out trick-or-treating. Halloween is actually the 2nd common holiday for your pup to get lost. You always want to make sure your dog is visible to traffic, especially if he gets away from you. Having reflective elements incorporated onto his costume will hopefully prevent him from surprising an oncoming driver.

Leash UP

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Roads and sidewalks get jam packed on Halloween and is not a place for a free-range dog. The dangers of Halloween are almost limitless. Candy is just dropped on the ground waiting for Fido to indulge. I like to pretend that the human race has some integrity, but honestly, they don’t. there are a lot of sick people out there and unfortunately Halloween can bring out the worst in them, especially teenagers. Stealing and torturing dogs does happen so keep your furbaby close and on a leash for his protection and the protection of those around you.

Keep Halloween Treats Out of Reach

Halloween treats can be very toxic to a dog.
Woman at the front door offering funny Halloween candies on a spiderweb shaped bowl. Unrecognizable person

Whether you are handing out candy or bring home a candy haul keep your candy up and away. Many popular treats given out are poisonous to dogs. Chocolate, raisins, and sugar free candies need to be kept clear of devious puppy paws. Those little noses can be sneaky and will nab what they can when they can, even candy dropped on the side of the road is fair game. If your dog has gotten himself into toxic treat call your vet immediately or the Animal Poison Control Center.

Supply a Quite Place

I know we want to keep our dogs with us as much as possible but there are some times it’s better for them to just be left in a quiet place away from the hustle and bustle. Costumes and endless visitors can drive a poor pooch crazy. Anxiety levels can be driven sky high which isn’t fair for our four-legged babies. Giving them a safe place to escape from the frights of the night is just what some babies need.

Puppy Proof Those Power Cords

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Halloween garland inside a white bucket on a wooden table. Jack-O-Lantern. Electric lights.

We LOVE our decorations! Inside and out it doesn’t matter!  I swear some people couldn’t fit another in their lawn. The more lights, sounds, and special effects the better right? Of course! Except for those pesky power cords! For some reason dogs, especially puppies, love to chew on them which can result in burns and even death, not making for a fun Halloween. There are many chew proofing power cord covers available to prevent these terrible accidents.

Pumpkins, Corn Cobs, and Gourds, OH MY!

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Cute Welsh Corgi dog dressed in a festive halloween black and yellow witch hat, sitting next pile of different sized orange pumpkins on green grass on a background of trees

Cooked pumpkin is amazing for dogs, raw not so much. Raw pumpkins, corn cobs, and gourd pose not only a severe choking hazard but and impaction hazard as well. Dogs love the taste of pumpkins

Halloween Candles

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Funny west highland white terrier dog in scary Halloween costume and red hat with devil horns sitting outdoor with pumpkins lanterns with fear spooky faces. Halloween night decorations concept.

It’s the season for candles; whether they add to the spooky atmosphere, heighten the creep factor, or just make your house smell good. There is nothing more Halloweenie than a glowing jack-o-lantern smile. They line our porches, our driveways, those hollowed pumpkins with flickering orange lights. Unfortunately, those beautifully spooky candles can cause a real nightmare if your pooch gets too close. Open flames and animals never mix! Candles can be tipped over leading to horrific results. The faux candles have really come a long way and actually don’t look ridiculous. It really hurt my soul to make the switch I thought some of the ambiance would be lost, but it wasn’t that bad. So, to prevent fires and burns replace real candles with fake ones.

Supervised Your Dog At All Times

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Dog with owner playing trick or treat for Halloween

Don’t leave Fido outdoors unattended. While most days he’d be fine there by himself Halloween is a little different. People are everywhere and a cute puppy dog can be enticing. Having strange people invade his territory can be pretty scary and lead to someone getting hurt. The best place for your furbaby is by your side or tucked safely away in his house.

Try, Try, Try Again! Halloween Costumes On That Is!

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Dogs don’t wear clothes naturally so it’s something they have to get used to. Purchasing their costume early will leave you enough time to get them used wearing it. Dogs especially have an issue with props that go on their head or around their necks. Make sure to introduce them slowly. First just set the costume on the ground next to her for a little bit. Move on to draping over her back and if she responds well in a few days try it on. If you wait until Halloween to throw FiFi in her costume you may end up with the Cone-of-Shame effect.

Dogs are getting to celebrate Halloween more and more. With the popularity of mixing Halloween and dogs growing by leaps and bounds each year we need to be ever more mindful of our furbabies and their enjoyment. Some dogs love going out and being part of the crowd while others would rather be left alone while you celebrate with out them. Keeping them safe is our job not just physically safe but mentally as well. Stay safe and enjoy!

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