Whether you actively participate in Halloween or not, there will still be some increased danger for you and your dog. It will be getting darker earlier, there will be more people out and about, and there are also usually more cars on the street as well among other potential dangers. Here are some Halloween safety tips for dogs to help keep your dog safe during Halloween:
1. Keep Chocolate and Other Halloween Candy Away From Your Dog
If you have candy in the house for trick-or-treaters, candy in the house for yourself, or candy that your kids will bring home from trick-or-treating, it’s important to secure it and keep it away from your dog. Chocolate is one of the biggest holiday dog hazards and seems to be present at almost every holiday. Because chocolate is dangerous to your dog, it’s important to make sure it stays out of their reach.
But, it’s not just chocolate you need to worry about. Sugary hard candies, gummies, and more can all be tempting for your dog. Between the plastic wrappers, all the sugar, and other ingredients these candies contain, there’s a lot that poses a danger to your dog. Secure containers that are stored in high cabinets can be a big help in keeping harmful Halloween candy out of your dog’s reach.
If you have to leave any out for easy access when trick-or-treaters stop by, place it on a high table or shelf if you can and don’t leave it unsupervised too long. Then, when you’re done store it securely away out of reach, so your dog can’t stumble upon it.
2. Don’t Leave Your Dog in the Yard Unsupervised
One of the biggest Halloween safety tips for dogs is to not leave them outside unsupervised. Unfortunately, not everyone approaches Halloween with a positive attitude or good intentions. There are people who steal dogs from private yards regardless of the time of the year. However, Halloween is known for pranks. But, not all pranks are funny. Some of them can be harmful and malicious. There have been cases of “pranksters” teasing, stealing, injuring, or even killing dogs and other pets on Halloween.
So, even if you have a securely fenced yard and even if you live in a safe neighborhood where things like that aren’t known to happen, don’t leave your dog outside or in the yard unsupervised. Keep your dog inside as much as possible at dusk and at night. And, when they do need to go out, make sure you’re there with them. In doing so, you can be there to intervene, protect them, and bring them back inside if anything suspicious is going on.
3. Secure Your Dog Away From the Door When Welcoming Trick-or-Treaters
If your house will be welcoming trick-or-treaters during Halloween, keep your dog secured somewhere away from the door. With the door constantly closing and opening, there is an increased risk of your dog slipping out. Plus, if they’re not fond of strangers or used to the situation, they can get scared, which could lead to them acting out or running away.
If your dog is used to Halloween and usually answers the door with you, keep them leashed and attached to you in some way. Even the most socialized and well-trained dogs can become scared and you don’t want to risk your dog running away if something or someone scares them unexpectedly.
4. Use Safety Measures While Walking in the Dark
Whether they’re out with you for their evening walk or they’re joining you for trick-or-treating, you want to make sure you’re using plenty of safety tips for walking your dog in the dark. Visibility will be low, so you want to make sure you and your dog can see and that you’re making it easy for people to see both of you. Flashlights, reflective clothing, and more can be a big help when it comes to navigating potentially busy streets in the dark.
5. Be Wary of Bringing Glow Sticks Into Your Home
Although glow sticks tend to be non-toxic, you can never be too sure. Even if the liquid inside is non-toxic, it will taste horrible. But, your dog won’t know that until they chew into it and get some in their mouth. If your dog happens to get into some glow sticks and chew one open, they may start drooling excessively, pawing at their mouth, showing signs of agitation, and even vomiting.
You don’t necessarily need to run to the vet right away, but you will want to offer plenty of water, a small meal, and/or some treats to help them clear it out of their mouth and get rid of the taste. If they don’t show improvement or their symptoms worsen, then you will want to get to the vet right away.
If this is some drama that you would rather not deal with on Halloween, be wary of bringing glow sticks into your home. Or, if you do, make sure you keep track of them and that they stay well out of reach of your dog or anyone that might accidentally leave them within your dog’s reach.
6. Be Cautious of Halloween Decorations
When you have a pet, you have to be cautious anytime you decorate your home for the holidays.
Decomposing or Moldy Pumpkins Pose a Danger
Although pumpkin is generally not harmful to a dog, it can be if it’s moldy or decomposing. When pumpkins and corn stalks are used as Halloween decorations, they’re usually not stored in the best of conditions because they’re on display and they can easily start decomposing and develop mold or other harmful bacteria.
If your dog gets to them in this state, they can cause stomach issues, intestinal blockages, and more. If they happen to be moldy when your dog gets to them, there could be other health-related concerns as well. Some strains of mold are known to cause neurological issues in both dogs and cats. So, you want to make sure your pets can’t access these “real” decorations and that you dispose of these types of decorations quickly once you no longer need them.
Take Extra Precautions With Open Flames
You also want to be extremely careful if you are using lit candles for any of your Halloween decorations. Not only do you want to make sure these are well out of reach of your dog and aren’t able to be knocked over by them, but you also want to make sure you’re practicing good fire safety for your home. In general, LED lights and LED candles tend to be better and safer options than open flames.
Artificial Decorations Can Pose a Danger Too
Even if you’re not using real pumpkins and corn stalks, you still need to be careful that your dog isn’t chewing on them or trying to eat them. Shards of glass, pieces of plastic, and other non-food items can wreak havoc on your dog’s intestinal system. Blockages, sickness, and even lacerations can all occur should these things be swallowed.
You also want to careful with electric or battery-powered decorations. Cords and wires should be secured and covered so your dog cannot chew on them or get caught in them. Battery-powered decorations should also be displayed securely well out of your dog’s reach.
7. Don’t Force Your Dog to Wear a Costume
It’s tempting to dress your dog up for the holidays. But, you don’t want to force your dog to wear a costume if they really don’t like it. Forcing your dog into a costume they dislike makes them uncomfortable and puts them on edge. Not only does this create a situation that may encourage destructive behavior, but it could also result in aggressive behavior they wouldn’t normally display that was triggered by that discomfort.
This is also why it’s a good idea to try out costumes in advance and give your dog a chance to get used to it gradually if they’re willing to wear a costume. If you’ve already tried costumes before and you know your dog is good with them, then you want to make sure you’re picking costumes that fit them correctly and will be as comfortable as possible. Costumes that restrict movement, eyesight, the ability to breathe, or hearing can all create a dangerous situation for your dog.
8. Make Sure Your Dog has Updated Identification
Even if you take all the necessary precautions and plan to keep your dog inside during Halloween, you still want to make sure their identification is updated. In case your dog runs off or gets lost, collars and tags are a good start and can help people identify your dog by sight as a pet and help get them back to you.
Microchipping your dog is also a good idea as this will allow staff to identify and contact you quickly in case your dog ends up at a shelter. If you know you’ll be out and about with your dog, a GPS tracker on their collar can help you track them down fast in case they get out of their harness or collar and run off.
Any holiday can be a stressful time for both you and your pup. Hopefully, using some of these Halloween safety tips for dogs can help make it less stressful, so you and your dog can enjoy the spooky fun however you choose to.