Halloween can be a lot of fun, but some of the traditions can be stressful or even dangerous for dogs. As a caring dog mom or dad you may be wondering how to keep your dog safe and help them feel secure this Halloween. Keep reading to learn some easy pointers for making Halloween more enjoyable for your pup!
Keep Candy Out of Reach
Chocolate is one of several human foods that are toxic for dogs, and the sugar in other types of candy isn’t good for dogs either. Sugar-free candy often uses xylitol as a sweetener, which is very dangerous for dogs to eat. And if your dog scarfs down any foil or plastic candy wrappers they can cause a bowel obstruction—a potentially life-threatening situation.
Use these tips to keep Halloween candy safely away from your dog:
- Before Halloween, keep your candy stash on a high shelf or cabinet your dog can’t get into, or install a child safety lock on a cupboard or drawer
- If you have kids, explain to them why it’s dangerous for dogs to eat candy
- Get a trash can with a locking lid to discourage your dog from going after emptied candy bags and wrappers
- Use a food storage container with a locking lid when passing out Halloween candy so your dog can’t get into it when you set it down
- Get your dog their own special treat for Trick or Treat time, to draw their attention away from the candy
If your dog gets anxious or over excited when people come to your door, learn ways to keep your dog calm during trick or treating.
Avoid Dangerous Decorations
Indoor and outdoor Halloween decorations are a popular way to celebrate the season, but some of them can be upsetting or potentially harmful for dogs.
There are so many creative decorations that can transform your yard into a spooky or downright scary Halloween scene: full-size or larger-than-life zombies, witches, and skeletons, animatronics, flashing lights, flailing inflatables and motion-activated screams. Filling your yard with Halloween-themed décor makes a statement, but it can also frighten your dog. Consider limiting your yard display to quiet, stationary items if your dog is stressed by the animated props. You may also need to temporarily adjust your walk routine to avoid passing by yards with too much going on.
If you string up Halloween lights or fake cobwebs, make sure they’re strategically placed so your dog can’t chew or get tangled in them. Smaller decorations like rubber eyeballs, mini gourds and figurines can pose a choking hazard to dogs. Jack O’ Lanterns can also be harmful if your dog gets too close to the candle inside – try an LED votive for all the glow without the risk of a burnt nose!
And while pumpkin is safe for dogs to eat, that doesn’t mean it’s OK for your pup to nibble on your porch pumpkin – keep it out of reach or spray it with a dog-safe taste deterrent like bitter apple.
Costumes Not Required
As tempting as it can be to dress your dog up in a Halloween costume, not all dogs enjoy wearing clothing. Being in a costume (and even seeing other dogs wearing costumes) can trigger anxiety in some dogs, so definitely skip it if your dog seems uncomfortable or stressed.
If your dog does tolerate a Halloween costume, use these tips to make sure they’re safe wearing it:
- Choose a costume that doesn’t impair your dog’s ability to breathe, move, see, hear, eat, drink, bark, and go potty
- Avoid costumes with small parts your dog could chew off and swallow (or choke on)
- If your dog has sensitive skin or allergies, be aware that they may have an allergic reaction to some materials or dyes used in Halloween costumes – keep an eye out for excess scratching
- Never leave your pet alone while dressed in a Halloween costume
If you or other members of your household plan to wear a costume, be aware that it could unnerve your dog. Try letting them sniff and see the costume before you wear it, or put on the costume a little at a time while they watch. Even then, a full mask might be too distressing for some dogs, so consider scaling back or only wearing it when your dog’s not around
Party Prep for Your Pup
If you’re throwing a Halloween party, use these tips to make sure your dog stays safe and comfortable during the festivities:
- Take an extra long walk or give your dog some other form of exercise before the party to burn off excess energy and reduce anxiety.
- If your dog gets stressed by hearing the doorbell, ask your guests to text you when they arrive.
- Provide a safe place for your dog to retreat to in case they feel overwhelmed.
- Tell your guests and their children not to share any candy, food or drink with your dog.
- Supervise your dog to make sure they’re staying out of the treats and decorations.
- Mind the volume as the party goes on – dogs have much more sensitive hearing than we do, so keep the music at a reasonable level and discourage rowdiness if things get too ‘spirited’.
If your dog has a hard time with parties, consider letting them stay with their dog grandparents or a neighbor they know well.
Halloween Night Safety
Whether late in the day after Trick or Treat has ended, or on Halloween night itself, your neighborhood might have kids or teenagers spending time outside after dark—playing pranks or just burning off energy. Either way, be aware that Halloween night antics might make your dog anxious. Make sure your dog is wearing up to date tags (or has a chip) in case they get spooked and bolt when you let them outside for a relief break. Better yet, accompany them outside if there’s more noise and activity than usual.
The day after Halloween, extra treats and discarded pumpkins in the trash mean scavengers will be out and looking to score! Critters like raccoons, possums and feral dogs or cats might be around more in the days following Halloween, so take the appropriate precautions to keep your dog safe.
Happy Halloween & Happy Pups
As a dog parent, you can still enjoy everything you love about Halloween—all it takes is a little extra thoughtfulness and effort to make sure your dog feels safe and supported. To learn more about celebrating the holidays with your dog, check out our safety tips for dogs during the winter holidays.
Sign up and save $3
Get the occasional email with exclusive offers, content and adorable pet pics!
By entering your information, you are opting in to receive communication from Stella & Chewy's