Dogs love spending time with their owners regardless of the place and activity. Halloween is a great opportunity for pet and owner to incorporate fun and quality time. Ultimately, it’s the pet owner who is in the driver seat to ensure their pet is comfortable with the activities that go along with Halloween. This Halloween, help keep your dog happy, safe, and comfortable with some practical tips for enjoying Halloween with your pet.
Dress Up Time
While some dogs enjoy masquerading as a hot dog, others fare much better with just a simple leash and collar. When dressing up your dog, make sure that the costume doesn’t impede breathing, moving, or the ability to see and hear. Avoid costumes with sequins, bells, or any small parts that can be easily chewed and choked on. Never leave Fido unattended in a costume.
Try the costume several weeks before the big day. Make sure that your dog is comfortable. If your dog is showing signs of discomfort it, take some time to desensitize him to the costume. Try having him wear it for small amounts of time while eating treats. But, if your pet acts agitated or depressed, don’t force the issue. You may be better off finding a cute Halloween themed bandanna.
Keep It Safe
When decorating your home keep Fido in mind. Make sure that what you are displaying are items that your dog will not chew. If your dog is still in the chewing stage, you may want to wait until your dog has had more training and time to mature to display those items next year. Never leave lit pumpkins or luminarias within your dog’s reach.
If your dog is social and well mannered, you can keep your dog on a leash while handing out candy. Or, for those that have learned the “Place” command while in obedience at It’s A Dog’s World K-9 Academy, Inc., it’s a great opportunity to work on that command while handing candy out. Beware that even the most social of dogs can become territorial when new people come to the door. Keep an eye on your dog and remove him immediately if he shows inappropriate behavior.
Don’t forget to keep the candy you are distributing in a secure container and out of Fido’s reach. Chocolate, xylitol-sweetened candies, and gums are toxic to animals.
Fun, Fun, Fun
Before going trick or treating, consider how comfortable your dog will be in crowded situations with a strange looking crowd. Look for signs of discomfort such as excessive lip licking and drooling, panting harder than normal, stiff body language, excessive yawning, erect and forward ears and tail, or darting away from people. These can all be signs of stress. Go home at the first signs of discomfort.
And don’t forget to share pictures of your dog dressed up with us on Facebook!